Dr. Gindzin carries patient through snow to save her vision


WALKER, Mich. — A Spring Lake woman says her ophthalmologist saved her vision this past weekend. Lillian Havenga says Dr. Yosef Gindzin went out of his way to help her by coming in to work on his day off, and by carrying her to and from his office in the snow.

Lillian has wet macular degeneration, and is nearly blind in her left eye. She can still see reasonably well in her right eye, but needs shots every four weeks to keep her vision.

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

Lillian’s appointment was originally scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 14. But she couldn’t make it because she was in the hospital getting emergency treatment for a separate health issue.

Lillian was finally cleared to leave the hospital on Saturday, but she and her daughter — Marie Havenga — didn’t want to wait any longer to get her eye injections, since it could mean further loss of vision.

That’s when Marie reached out to Dr. Gindzin to see if he could help them.

“He gave me his cell phone number and said he would be willing to meet her at the office on Saturday and open up just so he could give her her eye injections in hopes of saving her right eye,” she said.

When they arrived at Dr. Gindzin’s office there was too much snow in the parking lot to drive through, let alone navigate through in Lillian’s wheel chair. “We didn’t plow our driveway because it was the weekend, and her car couldn’t make it up to the door,” said Dr. Gindzin. “So I just carried her into the building.”

And after the successful procedure, he carried her back to her car. Now, Lillian is back at her home in Spring Lake. She’s enjoying the beautiful view outside her living room window, and looking forward to seeing her 6-year-old granddaughter in the near future.

And she’s ever grateful for Dr. Gindzin.

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

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