Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

“Eyes-Passing of a Healer.”

The name Dr. Patricia Bath is perhaps unfamiliar with you as it was to me just a few days ago, but a colleague shared obituaries from several newspapers, and I could only be moved by the extraordinary life and achievements of Dr. Bath.

She earned her medical degree from Howard University Medical School and began her internship in their neighborhood of her birth, Harlem.

For most of her professional career, she worked as an ophthalmologist, or eye doctor, and as a scientist, she developed techniques and equipment designed to treat and relieve glaucoma in cataract patients.

In 1988, Dr. Beth invented the laser phaco probe, a device that removed cataracts and which she patented. Her work returned vision to people who were blind for decades.

Why write about the life of Dr. Patricia Bath? Because she was a medical pioneer, a black doctor who brought relief and sight to people across black America and beyond. But there is another reason.

Several months ago, I was told by an ophthalmologist that I had glaucoma and cataracts. I was stunned by the news. A month ago, my eyesight deteriorated so badly that I couldn’t read a book or a newspaper.

Thus, the news about the life and passing of Dr. Patricia Bath naturally caught my attention. Dr. Beth reached 76 years of life before her transition. Today, I await treatment.

From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.