The death this week of Dr. Frank Green has left a massive void on the Thai Burma border, but Dr. Frank’s work in providing eye care to people from Burma lives on. Dr. Frank and his ophthalmologist colleague, Dr. Phillip Ambler, first came to the border region in 1990 to offer free eye care to refugees and displaced people from Karen State. The two ophthalmologist visited the border four times a year until 2011 when Dr. Frank retired.
Following his retirement, Dr. Frank increased his time looking after people from Burma with eye problems. Based at Dr. Cynthia Maung’s Mae Tao Clinic, Dr. Frank now spent 36 weeks out of each year offering free eye care to as many as 1,800 patients a year – cataract, closed angle glaucoma and trauma operations.
Around Mae Tao Clinic Frank’s commitment good humour and selfless work endeared him to staff, volunteers and patients. The Clinic’s Eye department estimate that as many as “10,000 people regained their eyesight thanks to Dr Frank’s continuous and tireless contribution.”
In recent years Dr. Frank was a good friend and support to Burma Children Medical Fund. He travelled with our team to remote parts of Karen State to treat the increasing number of people we were seeing with eye problems.
“Frank’s dedication and work on the border was priceless – we at BCMF intend to keep his legacy going so people who can’t afford it still have access to eye care. Dr. Frank was not only a great surgeon, he was also a humble and decent man.”
A Karen News video interview with an elderly Karen man, who came to Dr. Frank for medical help shows the importance of his work. The man had been without sight for decades, or as Dr Frank said in the interview. “He is virtually blind, maybe he can tell when it’s light or dark, but that’s all.”
A few days after his operation the man’s simple response put the importance of Dr. Frank’s work in perspective when he said. “I can see!”
Dr. Frank was a popular figure with Mae Tao Clinic patients and staff. Local people also had a lot of time for Dr. Frank. An enthusiastic bicycle rider, Dr. Frank became a daily sight, his body, sweat soaked, bent double as he battled the severe hills around Mae Sot in the more than 35c heat. Our prayers and condolences are with his family in their time of sadness.
Dr. Frank will be sadly missed.
R.I.P. DR FRANK GREEN 1950 – 2018
A Video Show Dr. Frank’s work (Seeing is Believing)
*Kanchana Thornton is the director of Burma Children Medical Fund