The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital landed at the Museum of Flight today. I received an email about 1100 inviting volunteers to join staff for tours while the crew set up for their visit. I hurried right over.
From their website:
“The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital is unlike any plane you’ve seen before. A state-of-the-art teaching facility complete with operating room, classroom and recovery room – this amazing aircraft has been an example of the marriage between medicine and aviation since 1982.
Equal parts teacher, advocate and envoy in the global effort to end avoidable blindness our state-of-the-art flying teaching hospital allows our world leading volunteers to travel the world sharing knowledge and developing skills with the communities that need it most.”
They will be visiting us for the next two weekends to provide tours of its mobile eye care units!
Information on the public tours: http://www.museumofflight.org/Plan-Your-Visit/Calendar-of-Events/4718/orbis-flying-eye-hospital-public-tours
Panel discussion by Orbis leaders on Saturday: http://www.museumofflight.org/Plan-Your-Visit/Calendar-of-Events/4730/how-a-flying-eye-hospital-is-changing-the-way-the-world-sees
I was on a tour led by Mark, one of the volunteer pilots. I learned from one of the MD’s that they do restorative surgeries but not corrective ones (such as Lasix). While a cataract surgery takes 30 min or less in an ordinary US facility, they take over an hour as they are teaching MD’s, RN’s, Tech’s, etc. They have an onboard classroom with a large TV that can broadcast close ups from the surgical suite. There are a few full-time MD’s and RN’s. The rest of the team are volunteers who rotate in and out.
They are JCAHO accredited. (That would be Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, or “The Joint” as we used to call it). I don’t envy them having to arrange to fly in for inspection!
As the tour started, we each got a photo on the flight deck. The windows are shielded to protect the interior and, perhaps, also to keep out the heat. It was 90 degrees!
Then I sat in the shade with a nice breeze to sketch this dramatic view.