101-Year-Old Patient Receives Surgery Aboard USNS Comfort
By Dialogo June 09, 2011
Command & U.S. 4th Fleet Public Affairs Personnel embarked aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) performed a cataract removal surgery on a 101-year-old woman while anchored off the coast of Tumaco, Colombia, June 6.
Irene Becerra, a native of Araño, Colombia, arrived at the Escuela Max Seídel medical site, June 4, complaining of a headache and loss of sight in her left eye, which the Continuing Promise 2011 (CP11) medical team later determined was caused by a cataract.
Lt. Cmdr. Francine Worthington, the patient administration department head aboard Comfort, performed Becerra’s initial screening.
“When I first met Irene, she immediately greeted me with her radiant smile and comforting hands,” said Worthington. “Initially, I didn’t even know she was 101. When asked what the secret to her longevity was, she told me, ‘God’s blessing’.”
Shortly after her surgical screening with Worthington, Becerra was approved for cataract removal surgery.
“I was nervous at first,” said Luz Becerra, the daughter of Becerra, of the trip out to Comfort. “We left it all up to God, but with the wonderful flight crew and medical staff, the flight was calm,” she added.
Becerra received her surgery aboard Comfort the morning of June 6. After a two-hour surgery and a recovery period, Becerra, the oldest surgical patient for the CP11 team to date, will soon gain vision from her left eye.
“I want to thank God, the medical staff aboard Comfort, and everyone else involved in making this procedure possible,” said Becerra.
Worthington said that she was honored to help Becerra throughout the screening process, which led to her undergoing the life-changing surgery. She added that this surgery is representative of the United States’ commitment to the people of Colombia.
“A smile is the beginning of love, and works of love are works of peace,” said Worthington. “The partnership begins one person at a time. Ms. Becerra represents the beauty of the Colombian people.”
I am happy that age is not an impediment for this form of surgery. Unfortunately, I know medical personnel that create barriers for performing these procedures. I congratulate this team for such work. thanks once more from JAMAICA