Texas Retina Associates’ Gary Edd Fish, MD, Receives 2015 Outstanding Humanitarian Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology presented Texas Retina Associates’ Gary Edd Fish, MD, with its 2015 Outstanding Humanitarian Award at its Annual Meeting on November 15, 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Over the past 30 years, Dr. Fish has donated his time, materials, and money to travel to the Siloe Eye Clinic in Petit Goave, Haiti, which has served as the main source of eye care for the town, with many doctors, nurses, and other personnel contributing to its success. Established in 1976 by the Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, the clinic has seen more than 35,000 patients, and over 750 surgeries have been performed to date. Since the early 1980’s, Dr. Fish has participated in approximately 28 trips to the clinic. He has continuously committed to serving the underprivileged, the indigent, and those most in need of care. In so doing, he has placed himself, his family and his colleagues in situations that have been dangerous and in fact, life threatening.

In 2010, Dr. Fish, his son, and three Texas Retina Associates staff members, including his office study coordinator Jean Arnwine, embarked on a medical mission to the clinic. Toward the end of a long and arduous day, their work was interrupted by a massive earthquake which leveled the buildings around them, destroying homes and causing extensive loss of life. The eye clinic itself collapsed, trapping the volunteers inside. Many were injured, some seriously.

Dr. Fish sustained a fractured sternum among other injuries. His study coordinator Jean was trapped beneath massive slabs of concrete and debris. Sadly, she suffered severe internal injuries and died in transit to the hospital. Despite this tragedy, Dr. Fish has remained committed to the indigent and has since returned to Haiti for three additional missions.

More recently, one day when the clinic was especially busy, after extending its operating hours to see about 200 patients, a boatload of 30 people arrived from a nearby island, hoping to receive the eye care they had heard about. Even when other members of the team wanted to quit for the day, Dr. Fish accepted these patients and continued to work through the evening.

Dr. Fish has also participated in numerous other missions, including eye clinics in Uspantan and San Cristobal in Guatemala for the past eight years, the Bonita Oriental Clinic in Honduras, and San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, where he performed laser eye treatments for diabetic patients.

In addition to his many medical missions, Dr. Fish has also been a financial supporter of the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, the North Texas Food Bank, World Vision, the Retina Foundation of the Southwest, and the Parkland Foundation, which helps support medical care for the needy of Dallas.

Dr. Fish has continued to put his life’s work into giving back, driven by a personal mission to provide sight and hope to those who are less fortunate and otherwise would not have access to such care. He truly puts his heart, mind, body, soul, and finances into each mission, helping people in these underserved areas as well as in his own community.