Our very own Dr. Dahlhauser is at it again! He’s changing the lives of many Hondurans who, without him, would likely never see again. South Sound Magazine featured Dr. Dahlhauser in a story last year that tells about the humanitarian work that he’s chosen to provide.
Doctors Making a Difference
Posted @ Jan. 21 2011 10:35AM by Lisa – in-print
by Ethan Chung | Photo courtesy of Keith Dahlhauser
Doctors are charged with doing incredible work. It takes years of study and practical application of that knowledge to be able to diagnose, manage and treat illnesses. We should expect nothing more from them than to carry out the difficult task of curing our ills, but some doctors go above and beyond the call of duty. This yearâ€™s Doctors Making a Difference feature highlights the work of six extraordinary physicians whose work is creating positive change in our local and global communities. Congratulations, and thank you for making a difference.
Seeing is Believing
Dr. Keith Dahlhauser, ophthalmologist at Cascade Eye and Skin, is charged with helping people see. Ophthalmologists specialize in medical and surgical procedures of the eye. The Lakewood resident is able to interact with patients like an internal medicine doctor would, but also likes the challenging surgical part of his practice. â€śI think I enjoy problem solving and helping people in need. As a physician I get to do both. I get to help, but Iâ€™m also challenged with making decisions constantly, so I have to continue to make good choices throughout my day,â€ť Dahlhauser said.
Dahlhauser is an admitted workaholic. When heâ€™s not working at his clinics, he heads to third-world countries to do surgeries for people who couldnâ€™t normally afford them. Twice a year for two weeks, Dahlhauser, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force and former chief of cataract surgery at Madigan (where he was a six-time teacher of the year), joins a group of military doctors to do humanitarian missions in third-world countries. They provide the equipment and logistics and Dahlhauser volunteers his time and services. His trips have included missions to Honduras eight times, Peru, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Trinidad and the Dominican Republic. He speaks some Spanish, so it makes Central America an ideal location for him to volunteer.
â€śI really enjoy doing the surgeries, but Iâ€™m just being introduced to the patient that same day. The day after and the week following that Iâ€™m there though, we get to interact with the patients. Thatâ€™s the best part of it for me. Before the surgery, I remember walking down hallways with patients when they needed my arm because they couldnâ€™t see, but the day afterward, these patients can see better than they had in 40 or 50 years,â€ť he said. The surgeries also help the patientsâ€™ loved ones. People with bad vision in these third-world countries often have to be led around by a young child or other member of the family who has better vision. By performing his surgeries, Dahlhauser essentially frees up two people.
Dahlhauser hopes to make a trip to Africa next year, plus another visit to Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Each mission brings more and more patients, and Dahlhauser is excited to continue helping those in need. â€śOne of the great things about going to do these overseas missions is that in the United States, if I donâ€™t do a cataract surgery, thereâ€™s going to be someone down the street that will do it in my place. But in these third-world countries, if I donâ€™t do it, itâ€™s not going to get done, and these people will stay blind,â€ť Dahlhauser said.