Life On The Job


Fred Hollows - Australian Ophthalmologist - Doctor

Portrait

Frederick Cossom "Fred" Hollows, AC was a New Zealand and Australian ophthalmologist who became known for his work in restoring eyesight for countless thousands of people in Australia and many other countries.

Hollows was married twice: in 1958 to Mary Skiller, who died in 1975, and in 1980 to Gabi O'Sullivan.   (Source Wikipedia)

Fred and Gabi married in 1980 and they had five children – Cam, Emma, Anna-Louise and twins Rosa and Ruth. Fred had two older children – Tanya and Ben – from his previous relationships.
(Source: The Fred Hollows Foundation)

Hollows was originally a New Zealand citizen. He declined the award of honorary Officer of the Order of Australia in 1985. He adopted Australian citizenship in 1989 and was named Australian of the Year in 1990.  He accepted the substantive award of Companion of the Order of Australia in 1991.

It has been estimated that more than one million people in the world can see today because of initiatives instigated by Hollows, the most notable example being The Fred Hollows Foundation. (Source Wikipedia)

Introduction:

Quick Facts

Name: Frederick Cossom "Fred" Hollows

Born: 9 April 1929, Dunedin, New Zealand

Died: 10 February 1993, Sydney Australia

Dunedin

YouTube: Meet Fred Hollows...(URL: https://youtu.be/rmSdt8uZ5qI)

 

Fred Hollows was one of the four children in his family, the others being Colin, John and Maurice. All were born in Dunedin, New Zealand, to Joseph and Clarice (Marshall) Hollows. The family lived in Dunedin for the first seven years of his life.

Fred as a child
(Source: The Fred Hollows Foundation)

Education & Training:

He had one year of informal primary schooling at North East Valley Primary School and began attending Palmerston North Boys' High School when he was 13. Hollows received his BA degree from Victoria University of Wellington.  

He briefly studied at a seminary, but decided against a life in the clergy. After observing the doctors at a mental hospital during some charity work, he instead enrolled at Otago Medical School.  

While living in Dunedin he was an active member of the New Zealand Alpine Club and made several first ascents of mountains in the Mount Aspiring/Tititea region of Central Otago.

In 1961 he went to Moorfields Eye Hospital in England to study Ophthalmology. He then did post-graduate work in Wales before moving to Australia in 1965 where he became Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

From 1965–1992 he chaired the Ophthalmology division overseeing the teaching departments at the University of New South Wales, and the Prince of Wales and Prince Henry hospitals. (Source: Wikipedia)

Portrait In the early 1990s, Fred and Dr Ruit began working together towards building a world-class Introcular lenses [IOL]  manufacturing facility in Nepal.

The high cost of the intraocular lenses (IOLs) used in modern cataract surgery, put IOL implant surgery out of reach of most people in developing countries.

Fred changed that...

In 1994, one year after Fred’s death, the Fred Hollows IOL Laboratory at the Tilganga Eye Centre in Kathmandu began making high quality low-cost IOLs.

Today the laboratory has produced well over 2 million IOLs and is one of six divisions within what is now the Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology (TIO) – an international standard, tertiary-level eye care hospital and one of The Fred Hollows Foundation’s most valued partners.

 

Employment:

  • Fred had done an eye term at medical school and, as a result, he assisted eye surgeons at Auckland Public Hospital in his first job after graduating.
  • In his second job, at Tauranga Public Hospital, he made a deal with the eye surgeon to see all his eye cases and take notes and assist in the operations. In exchange, Fred took some of the surgeon’s ear, nose and throat cases. By the end of that year, Fred was doing cataracts himself and finding eye medicine more and more interesting. Ophthalmology was a trade he described as not especially prestigious, but “good work”.

    He took an ophthalmology job at Wellington, the biggest hospital in the country [NZ]
  • Fred decided he needed a diploma from the Moorfields Eye Hospital Institute of Ophthalmology in the UK, and it looked like it might be necessary to qualify as a fellow in the specialty after that, so lots of time and money was needed.

    He worked as a general practitioner for a year to fund the move, “incredibly hard work – one weekend off in five – but very interesting,” and also worked as the ship’s doctor on the way over, six weeks via the Panama Canal, “one of the sweetest times of my life”. Once in London and studying he worked at night as a “radio doctor” on call, zipping about London in the snow in a Mini Minor.
  • Studying for the Fellowship Primary at the Royal College of Surgeons in the early 1960s was the most intellectually expanding period of Fred’s life.
  • He passed the notoriously tough Primary exam first go and got a job in Cardiff in Wales as an ophthalmology registrar in the Royal Infirmary.
  • In 1965 Fred moved to Australia to become Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney.
  • From 1965 to 1992, he was the head of the Ophthalmology department, overseeing the teaching at UNSW and the Prince of Wales and Prince Henry hospitals. In his first year, he set up a small eye unit at the Prince of Wales Hospital and performed the hospital’s first cataract extraction. (Source: The Fred Hollows Foundation)
  • In 1985, as a consultant to the World Health Organization, Fred visited Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh on short-term assignments. Two years later he visited war-torn Eritrea and saw doctors operating in hospitals dug into mountains as the war raged above.

    These experiences had a huge effect on Fred and, in line with his basic belief in “equity between people”, he started to work towards reducing the cost of eye health care and treatment in developing countries.
    (Source: The Fred Hollows Foundation)


Treating trachoma

Fred Hollows was a passionate campaigner for the need to improve the health of Indigenous Australians. He was particularly concerned about the number of people who suffered from trachoma. Trachoma is a form of conjunctivitis caused by infection with the bacterial microbe Chlamydia trachomatis.

It causes scarring and can lead to blindness if left untreated. Poverty, crowded living conditions and lack of water contribute to the spread of trachoma.

Trachoma
(Source: Health Foxx)

Scarring
(Source: WebEye)


Fred Hollows was a passionate campaigner for the need to improve the health of Indigenous Australians. He was particularly concerned about the number of people who suffered from trachoma. Trachoma is a form of conjunctivitis caused by infection with the bacterial microbe Chlamydia trachomatis. It causes scarring and can lead to blindness if left untreated. Poverty, crowded living conditions and lack of water contribute to the spread of trachoma.

The National Trachoma and Eye Health Program sent teams of ophthalmologists and support staff to communities in regional and outback Australia. The program was supported by the Commonwealth Government and the Royal Australasian College of Ophthalmologists and was headed by Hollows from 1976 to 1978.

The program tested and treated people for eye diseases, especially trachoma and cataracts. More than 100,000 people, of whom 62,000 were Indigenous, were screened.

Nearly half of Australia's Indigenous population was found to have trachoma and in some regions of the Northern Territory and Western Australia the rate was 80 per cent. (Source: NMA)

Experiences & Opportunities:

Why was Fred an Australian Legend?

Fred was famous for helping people in need, particularly people who were sick and poor. He believed that everyone in the world should have the same access to health services, no matter if they were a King or a Queen or just an ordinary person in the street.

Legend
(Source: DET)


He worked really hard to improve health care for Indigenous Australians living in remote outback communities and he drastically reduced the cost of cataract surgery, one of the simplest ways to treat avoidable blindness.

Fred is proof that one person can help make the world a better place.
(Source: DET)

Accomplish
(Source: DET)

YouTube: Fred Hollows and Dr Ruit challenged the ophthalmic world
(URL: https://youtu.be/vNoK_CdpmrU)

 

 

YouTube: 'Shine On' TV Ad - Fred showed us the way, now it's up to us
(URL: https://youtu.be/k2opo45uPzk)

 

YouTube: Fred Hollows on 60 Minutes: Archive
(URL: https://youtu.be/DnrM58c466Y)

 

His Death

Hollows died in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1993 at the age of 63. The cause of his death was metastatic renal cancer primarily affecting his lungs and brain. He had been diagnosed with the disease six years earlier, in 1987.

Hollows was given a state funeral service at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, though he was an atheist, and, in accordance with his wishes, was interred in Bourke, where he had worked in the early 1970s.

Burial Bourke
Place of Burial
Did You Know?

Honours

• 1981: Advance Australia Award for Aboriginal eye care
• 1985: was a consultant to the World Health Organisation (WHO)
• 1985: offered appointment as an honorary Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia but he refused to accept the award because he was appalled at what he regarded as blatant lack of interest by the government in eye care for Aboriginal people. However, he went on to become an Australian citizen on 26 April 1989
• 1990: received Human Rights Medal
• 1990: named Australian of the Year
• 1991: received Honorary Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Science, University of New South Wales
• 1991: appointed Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)
• 1993: received Albert Schweitzer Award of Distinction, Chapman University, USA
• 1993: received Rotary International's highest honour, the Rotary Award for World Understanding.
• 2004: entered into the 'Hall of Fame' at the inaugural NSW Aboriginal Health Awards, in recognition of his "outstanding contribution and achievement to Indigenous health in Australia".
• 2005: an operating theatre was named after him at Canberra Eye Hospital, ACT, Australia.
• 2005: named one of "New Zealand's Top 100 History Makers" by Prime Television New Zealand.
• 2006: named one of the "100 most influential Australians" by The Bulletin magazine.
• 2010: featured on $1 Coin from the Royal Australian Mint as part of the Inspirational Australians Series.
(Source Wikipedia)

Coin

Links:

Young Fred Hollows - The Fred Hollows Foundation

Fred as a child
The Australian Government: Fred Hollows

australian government
ABC: Talking Heads

ABC Talking Heads
Racism No Way: Fred Hollows

Racism No Way

Activities

Indigenous Eye Health

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary


ICT
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Information and Communication Technology Capability
Critical
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability
Literacy
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy
Indigenous
Australian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Nationally, eye and vision health issues: are responsible for 11% of years of life lost to disability (YLD) for Indigenous people; constitute the fourth leading cause of the gap in health between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people; and increase mortality at least two-fold.

Around 94% of vision loss among Indigenous people nationally is preventable or treatable, with the leading eye conditions being cataract, refractive error, optic atrophy, diabetic retinopathy, and trachoma. (Source: Australian Indigenous Health Info Net)

1. In pairs, you are to set up a Social Media story about the work of Fred Hollows with Indigenous Australians using Storify.

You might also want to use the Fred Hollows Foundation!

The Fred Hollows Foundation - Who We Are (URL: https://youtu.be/Vj4_Z9eoPIE)

 

2. Go to the Storify website

Storify

3. Become an advocate to the Federal Government for more help for Indigenous Australians and close the gap in health care. What will be your angle?

 

Material sourced from 

The Fred Hollows Foundation - About Fred

Health Foxx

NMA

Wikipedia

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