For It Is in Giving that We Receive Participating in medical missions enriches you as a person and makes you better at your job BY CATHLEEN MCCABE, MD

When we incorporate the act of giving into the busi- ness of our surgery cen- ters and affiliated prac- tices, the positive impacts

magnify. Far outweighing the cost of lost chair time for paying patients, involvement in humanitarian activi- ties enhances emotional intelligence, inspires effective teamwork and drives innovation and resourcefulness in your surgical team and the business of ophthalmology. Personally, I have seen the profound

impact my involvement with Mobile Medical Mission Hospital and One World Global Health/Vision Quest has had on myself, my family, my prac- tice and my patients both at home and abroad. I was born and raised in a home where my parents hosted people from more than 40 countries sometimes for a weekend, other times a month, or even a year. My parents instilled in me the

importance of giving. Inspired by them, I became an ophthalmologist and have participated in numerous charitable sur- gical programs around the globe for more than 16 years now.

Medical missions transform the lives

of everyone involved. I have grown with each of my mission trips, gaining more knowledge and new skills that expand my mindset and help me be more inno- vative and efficient in my practice. All the experiences with the patients, their families, the doctors at the local site, my children who accompany me, my colleagues who join me, add up. I am inspired to do more and leave each mis- sion with a renewed sense of purpose and energy. In our profession, burnout is real and turnover is expensive. The intensity of our line of work can impact our well-being, but these opportunities to give to others in a life-changing way keep giving back to me and my team long after we return home.

When you are in a developing coun- try that does not have the comforts of your ASC with its advanced tech- nology, resources and specialists


address complications, it can be daunt- ing. You learn quickly to think out- side the box, to be resourceful with the tools available and learn from the doctors who serve these patients reg- ularly. Although the conditions and cases can be stressful, the experience teaches you to try new things and think differently. You must be flexible and find ways to effectively use the avail- able tools. You learn to perform under great pressure and to deliver quality care to patients in the most difficult of environments. It pushes you outside of your comfort zone and, ultimately, you grow as a surgeon and a team. It per- petuates a growth mindset. Under such trying circumstances, my team bonds at an even deeper level.

Left: Members of a medical mission trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, May 24–June 3, 2019, in front of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. Front row, left to right: Eric Purdy, MD, John Fallon, MD, Meghan Cochran, MD, Cathleen McCabe, MD, and Rebecca Stidham, surgical tech; second row, left to right: John Dagianis, MD, Melissa Kleman, Laurie Tuttle, Jeff Tuttle and Michelle McClellan.

Right: Eric Purdy, MD, (right) and Cathleen McCabe, MD, operate in Milton Cato Memorial Hospital in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, during their medical mission trip, May 24–June 3, 2019.

The advice and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not represent official Ambulatory Surgery Center Association policy or opinion. 10 ASC FOCUS AUGUST 2019|

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