Blind doctor can see again

Retired Kaplan Medical Center pediatrician who became blind last year plans to "pay back" hospital by volunteering there.

Dr. Markovich examines Dr. Vladimir Promovich (photo credit: Courtesy/Kaplan Medical Center)
Dr. Markovich examines Dr. Vladimir Promovich
(photo credit: Courtesy/Kaplan Medical Center)
A retired Kaplan Medical Center pediatrician who became blind last year can see again thanks to a donated cornea transplanted into his right eye by his colleagues in the Rehovot hospital.
Dr. Vladimir Promovich, who made aliya from Ukraine in 1998, said that in gratitude for his restored eyesight, he will volunteer at Kaplan and examine patients.
The 69-year-old Promovich, a long-time specialist and Ashdod resident, underwent several attempts in 2011 to restore his sight but none of them succeeded.
Last week, after a patient died, the family agreed to donate the cornea, and the operation was conducted by Dr. Arye Markovich and his ophthalmology department team.
A relatively new technology enables doctors to split one cornea in half for transplantation into two recipients while removing only part of a cornea from the recipient.
“In Ukraine, I specialized in lung diseases including tuberculosis in children. When I came to Israel, I wanted to continue working as a doctor,” said Promovich.
He received a license in internal medicine and started working in the internal medicine departments at Kaplan and at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, he said.
“Then my vision problems began. My left eye failed, and in my right eye I could see less because of a decline in the cornea. Because of that, I stopped working completely and had difficult doing even simple tasks.
“I am totally independent now. It’s amazing,” said the pensioner. “When my vision improves even more, I will offer my services in pediatrics and internal medicine at Kaplan. After all, I worked here, and now they have given me my sight back.”
Prof. Ayala Pollack, head of the ophthalmology department, said there has in recent months been a dramatic increase in the number of transplanted corneas, as families are more aware of the need to give and the growing use in the split-cornea technique.


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