Grand Rapids Ophthalmology’s very own Yosef Gindzin, MD went out of his way to help his 95-year old patient, Lillian Havenga, by coming in to work on his day off and carrying her to and from his office in the snow. Lillian had been hospitalized for emergency treatment for a separate medical condition and missed one of her crucial, every four-week eye injection appointments with Dr. Gindzin.


Why are Lillian’s standing eye appointments so important? Because Lillian has an eye condition called wet macular degeneration. She is nearly blind in her left eye and although she can still see reasonably well in her right eye, she needs shots every four weeks to maintain her vision. If Lillian goes longer than four weeks for eye injections, her eyes can bleed, and she can permanently lose her vision. This is what happened with her left eye a couple of years ago.


“She’s kind of an unusual patient. If we’re late at all with her injection, she starts to bleed,” said Dr. Gindzin. “So in the last 15 years we’ve tried not to be late by one day.”


When Lillian was discharged from the hospital, she was already two days past her eye-injection appointment with Dr. Gindzin. That’s when Lillian’s daughter, Marie, contacted Dr. Gindzin. Although his office is closed on Saturdays, Dr. Gindzin readily agreed to give Lillian her eye injections in hopes of saving her right eye. Dr. Gindzin chose opening his office in lieu of providing Lillian treatment at her home because this procedure must be completed under sterile conditions, in a medical setting.


When Lillian and her daughter arrived at Grand Rapids Ophthalmology-Walker, the parking lot was covered in snow. Since the parking lot isn’t plowed on weekends, Marie couldn’t drive her car through the deep accumulation, let alone push her mother’s wheelchair through it. So Dr. Gindzin carried Lillian in his arms across the parking lot and into his office where he was able to successfully treat her. After the procedure, Dr. Gindzin carried her again in his arms back to the car.


Lillian says she is ever grateful for Dr. Gindzin.


“He carried me into the office, treated me, and carried me out again,” she said. “Now what doctor would do that?”

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Fox 17-West Michigan interviewed Dr. Gindzin, to watch the news clip, click here.