After a 54-year surgical career, Dr. Howard Gimbel is set to change his focus to teaching and mentoring as he prepares to undergo a procedure to remove a cancerous tumour.
Gimbel, 84, said a mild symptom brought him to a doctor and the discovery of a tumour beside his left eye. Since radiation or chemotherapy are not possible in this case, removing the tumour will also require removal of the eye. Without binocular vision, he will no longer be able to perform surgeries.
“That’s why I will be transitioning away from surgery to primarily teaching, coaching, mentoring and continuing to help the community in that way,” he said.
Teaching is something Gimbel already enjoys doing, he noted, including his efforts to share his surgical techniques with colleagues around the world in the form of a video library on YouTube. Following his transition away from surgical practice, he expects to have more time to devote to things like leading training sessions and writing articles for medical journals.
Since 1964, more than 200,000 patients have undergone surgery at Gimbel Eye Centre. The facility offered the first Canadian outpatient small incision cataract surgery, laser vision correction surgery, the first refractive lens exchange and the first implantable corrective lens procedures.
“The implants in the eye and the small incision cataract surgery that didn’t require hospitalization was a dramatic change and we were blessed to be able to be involved in that transition, and participate in innovating improvements and techniques and to prevent complications,” he said.
Son Glenn Gimbel, president of Gimbel Eye Centre, said there has been an outpouring of support from the doctor’s colleagues in response to the news of his upcoming procedure.
“It’s been really wonderful to see that support, so we’re excited about the opportunity this is creating for younger doctors to join and to participate in an organization that’s really owned more by the community, in some ways, than by Dr. Gimbel and his wife,” he said.
Dr. Gimbel was born in Calgary and grew up on a farm near Beiseker. He studied medicine at Loma Linda University in California and completed an ophthalmology residency at White Memorial Medical Centre in Los Angeles before returning to Calgary in 1964.
He was named a Member of the Order of Canada earlier this year for his pioneering work in cataract and refractive surgery.
Glenn said the organization’s next chapter will include Dr. Gimbel in an active role, just a different one from …read more