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About Dr. Ming Wang
Harvard & MIT
(MD, magna cum laude);
PhD (laser physics)
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Mission of mercy changes girl's life
10-year-old's trip to Nashville, surgery save her eyesight

By Cheryl Tatum

Wang Vision 3D Cataract and LASIK Center, Nashville, Tennessee

Margarette's life in Haiti was such a constant struggle that as a 7-year-old she was facing severe malnutrition and had the appearance of a girl years younger. She also was losing her hair and temporarily losing her eyesight. For this girl, the path to health and restored eyesight eventually lead to Nashville with the help of missionary Karris Hudson and two doctors, Stan Snodgrass, a Franklin dentist, and Ming Wang, a Nashville ophthalmic surgeon.

Margarette before surgery

Before the surgery

"This is just a great ending to her story,"said Hudson, a graduate of Nashville's Christ Presbyterian Academy, Margarette's road to health began in Ouanaminthe, Haiti, when her mother took her to an orphanage called Danita's Children, where Hudson has worked for the last seven years. When she arrived at the orphanage, Margarette was immediately taken to the hospital where she received enough care to keep her alive and somewhat recovered from the malnutrition that eventually took the sight from her left eye. In June 2008 Snodgrass and his wife, Melody, went to Haiti on a medical mission and met Margarette. The couple became aware of Danita's Children when Hudson, on a visit to her hometown, spoke at Grace Point Church in Franklin, where the Snodgrass family attends church. Hudson's story touched their hearts. So Stan and Melody Snodgrass went to Haiti on the medical mission that led them to Margarette. "It is just incredible what the missionaries have done there," Snodgrass said.

A follow up trip in October brought the Snodgrasses back to the orphanage, where they could see that Margarette's eyesight was rapidly deteriorating. Already blind in her left eye, she was in danger of losing the sight in her right eye. That's when the search to restore the now 10-year-old girl's sight began and where the Ming Wang and his foundation, the Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration, entered the picture.

Snodgrass, who was familiar with Wang's work, contacted the surgeon as soon as he returned home from Haiti. Through pictures of Margarette's eyes sent to Wang by Snodgrass, the ophthalmic surgeon knew the best way to provide any kind of sight restoration to the Haitian girl was for her to come to Nashville.

Four months later with the help of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Margarette received a medical visa and arrived in Nashville on Feb. 7. Two days later she was in Wang's medical chair.

Margarette during the surgery

During the surgery


While doctors were first considering a corneal transplant of her right eye, Wang discovered that the damage was too extensive and that type surgery could cause Margarette to lose her sight. It seemed to Wang that in every direction he turned for a treatment option, there was a roadblock.

"It was like you were on a mountaintop and when you looked left there were cliffs and when you looked right there were cliffs. Then God showed us a path to the other side,"Wang said.

That path was advanced laser surgery that allowed Wang to remove scar tissue from Margarette's eye without invasive surgery.

But, according to Wang, even with the laser surgery there was one remaining roadblock. Margarette had to remain perfectly still for the 48 seconds needed for the laser to do its job. It took three attempts on Feb. 10 for Wang and his team to get Margarette still enough to complete the operation. "We needed 48 seconds, and that is what we got."Wang said, adding that now Margarette's right eye vision is between 60 and 70 percent.

Happy Margarette seeing

Happy Margarette now sees


Now living with the Snodgrass family in Franklin, Margarette will be in Nashville for at least five months, Hudson said, adding that the Nashville connection to the girl's story is one she believes was designed by God. "It is like God led us to Nashville," she said.

Margarette has been blessed, first by the missionaries in her home country and now by caring medical professionals in Nashville. But Snodgrass said the blessing he and his wife received from this experience is one never to be forgotten. "You are a doctor and you think you are going to go and bless everyone with your presence, but that's not right. We were the ones that were blessed," Snodgrass said.

The Tennessean - Faith & Values Saturday, February 21, 2009

About Dr. Ming Wang: Ming Wang, MD, PhD is the founding president of our state's first Chinese chamber of commerce, the Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce, a Harvard and MIT graduate (MD, magna cum laude), and an internationally renowned LASIK eye surgeon. Tennessee is currently ranked #1 in the US in the growth rate of export to China. The mission of the Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce is to help our state continue its growth in export to China. Dr. Wang is a co-owner and medical director of the largest private eye hospital group in China today (which holds 10% of China's eye care market), with most of its medical instruments imported from the US. As an eye surgeon, Dr. Wang has performed over 55,000 LASIK procedures (including on over 4,000 doctors) and is one of the designated LASIK surgeons for ABC's national hit reality TV show "Extreme Makeover". During the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1970s, a teenage Ming played a Chinese musical instrument called the er-hu in an effort to escape being deported to a remote part of the country where he would be condemned to a life of poverty and hard labor, a devastating fate that fell upon 20 million youth in China. Dr. Wang has come a long way from the penniless young man he was when he arrived in the US in 1982, and is now one of the few LASIK surgeons in the world who holds a doctorate degree in laser physics. He published a paper in the world renowned journal Nature, holds several US patents for his inventions of new biotechnologies to restore sight, and performed the world's first laser-assisted artificial cornea implantation. Dr. Wang established the Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration, a 501c(3) charity foundation which has helped blind patients from over 40 states in the US and over 55 countries worldwide, with all sight restoration surgeries performed free of charge.


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