Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Avallone Works Side by Side with Vietnamese to Perform Cataract Surgery

Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Avallone Works Side by Side with Vietnamese to Perform Cataract Surgery

– May 17, 2019; TUY HOA, Vietnam

– Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Tyrell Morris

The Pacific Partnership 2019 mission, as recently covered by DVIDS, marks a significant stride in international medical collaboration, with a focus on enhancing optometric capabilities in Vietnam.

In an inspiring article, DVIDS highlights the collaborative efforts of the Pacific Partnership team, including U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Avallone, in improving eye care at the Phu Yen Eye Hospital in Tuy Hoa, Vietnam. This mission is a testament to the power of international cooperation in healthcare.

The Phu Yen Eye Hospital, established in 2011, has become a focal point for this mission. It features 50 in-patient beds, two operating rooms with five operating stations, and an eye emergency center. The hospital’s infrastructure and facilities have been crucial in facilitating the team’s efforts.

Lt. Cmdr. Avallone, a glaucoma specialist from West Monroe, Louisiana, currently stationed at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, played a pivotal role in the mission. His expertise in ophthalmology was instrumental in performing cataract surgeries, a key component of the project.

“It has been a great experience working side-by-side with our Vietnamese counterparts exchanging knowledge and enhancing strategic partnerships,” Avallone shared with DVIDS. His observations on the efficiency of surgical processes in Vietnam reflect the mutual learning and respect fostered during this mission.

The team, including Avallone, impressively performed over 200 cataract surgeries, sometimes up to 75 in a single day. This high volume of surgeries was made possible by a collaborative environment where doctors shared resources, nurses, translators, and information. Avallone praised the smooth and efficient process enabled by this teamwork.

One of the significant challenges faced by the team was the language barrier. However, the effective use of translators and the assistance of English-speaking Vietnamese doctors facilitated patient cooperation and understanding, ensuring the success of the surgeries.

Avallone also noted the advantage of having familiar equipment at the Phu Yen Eye Hospital, which mirrored the technology used in the United States, aiding in increasing productivity.

The Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. This mission not only enhances regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities but also strengthens stability, security, and friendships in the Indo-Pacific region.

For a detailed account of this impactful mission and the experiences of those involved, read the full article on DVIDS.