Florida Eye Specialists and Baptist Health along with Florida Anesthesia Associates worked together to save a local man’s sight by providing him with pro-bono cataract surgeries.
Donald Erkfitz was working as a bus driver for special needs children when he found out his rapidly growing cataracts impaired his vision severely enough to keep him from safely transporting his students. He lost his job, which led to losing his health insurance as well. Erkfitz said he had been struggling financially and unable to treat his cataracts as a result, creating a vicious cycle that has dramatically affected his quality of life and overall physical and mental health.
He was admitted to Baptist Health for malnourishment and dehydration stemming from his inability to care for himself due to his vision impairment. For safety reasons, the facility could not allow him to return home until his cataracts were removed and vision restored.
The Baptist Health team turned to Dr. Amit Chokshi, an ophthalmologist with Florida Eye Specialists, for help.
“Mr. Erkfitz has very dense cataracts on both of his eyes, which means that surgery is his only treatment option,” Dr. Chokshi said. “At Florida Eye Specialists, we help people retain or restore their vision every day, but being able to help someone who is facing this level of hardship is a true pleasure. These surgeries have the potential to radically transform Mr. Erkfitz’s quality of life for the better.”
Mr. Erkfitz said the kindness and generosity that has been shown to him throughout this process by all the physicians and facilities involved has been overwhelming. “I just want to get back to my old life, driving my bus and greeting students every morning,” he said. “I was the first and last person from the school system they saw every day. I took pride in that and always wanted the kids to know I cared. That’s what I’m looking forward to getting back to most.”