Dietmar Weselin, who hails from near Stuttgart, Germany, traveled the world during his career and then retired to a small town in Virginia. It was there that he first experienced complications from his glaucoma. His local ophthalmologist recommended surgery, and Weselin assented. Sadly, the surgery did not go well, and Weselin’s vision in one eye quickly deteriorated.
“He convinced me he had the skill for this complicated surgery. Then, after it failed, he said there was nothing else he could do,” Weselin recalls. He was told he might go blind in the eye if it was not corrected right away.
“My doctor called the Wilmer Eye Institute himself to schedule an appointment,” Weselin remembers.
At Wilmer, Weselin first saw renowned glaucoma expert Harry Quigley, M.D., the A. Edward Maumenee Professor of Ophthalmology, and then Pradeep Ramulu, M.D., Ph.D., the Sheila K. West Professor of Ophthalmology and chief of the Glaucoma Division, who took Weselin under his care.
“Complications happen, and at Wilmer, we see a lot of difficult cases, which give us the experience needed to help deal with these complications. Unfortunately, one of his eyes had diminished vision from the complications from his prior surgery. I assured him we could help,” Ramulu says.
The surgery was a success, and Ramulu saved Weselin’s sight in the bad eye. But then, a few years later, Weselin was back in Ramulu’s office. Not only had his repaired eye regressed, but his other eye now needed surgery.
“We did surgery on both eyes, and he’s done very well ever since,” Ramulu says.
Weselin and his wife, Mary Lou, were so grateful for the quality of care they received and with Ramulu’s surgical skill that they were inspired to support his work with a bequest from their estate.
The big lesson Weselin takes away from his experience is to choose a surgeon very carefully. To that end, Weselin says his hope is that the bequest will fund Ramulu’s ongoing work to teach the next generation of glaucoma surgeons the skills he’s learned so that others never go through an experience similar to Weselin’s.
“The doctors who do these kinds of complicated surgeries need to be well-trained and able to deal with problems if things go wrong,” Weselin says. “That’s why we made this gift.”