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    Famous artist, ophthalmologist team up so children can see ‘brighter’

    Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, England, has about 180-200 children come through its ophthalmology department for eye-related visits every week. Sarah Maling, MD, a consultant ophthalmologist there, soon realized the waiting area and corridor was somewhat of a grim, dull place for children, and decided something needed to be done so that children wouldn’t dread coming in to see her.

    “Can you imagine them sitting in the waiting room with all these people with macular disease who are in their 80s?” Dr. Maling said. “It’s a bit hard to have children who want to run around and make noise sitting in an eye hospital with lots of [older] people.”(Photos courtesy of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust)

    Recently, the hospital was looking to make the waiting area for the ophthalmology unit more child-friendly, and Dr. Maling had an idea of what to could be done about it.


    Stars align

    Having three children of her own, Dr. Maling recalled reading “Danny, the Champion of the World,” by Roald Dahl and admiring the colorful characters by his principal illustrator, Quentin Blake. She thought to reach out to the The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, which was located just down the road from the hospital, for some pictures they may be able to hang on the walls in the department. The timing could not have been better: 2016 marks the centennial year of Dahl’s birth, making him a local hero with plenty of his characters advertised around the city in celebration of what would have been his 100th birthday.

    To Dr. Maling’s surprise, she heard back from Liz Williams, Blake’s archivist, with news that Blake wanted to donate eight one-of-a-kind pieces of work for the hospital’s waiting room.

    Ironically, Williams’ daughter had been a patient at the ophthalmology unit previously, so she had previously seen the grim sort of waiting area.

    “We were hoping for a few posters,” Dr. Maling said. “Quentin Blake felt that was not enough and gave us these eight absolutely phenomenal pictures. This was just amazing.”

    Starting conversations

    Jolie Higazi
    Jolie is the Content Specialist for Ophthalmology Times. She can be reached at [email protected]

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