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September 1970

Aboard the SS Hope in Cartagena, Colombia

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1970;84(3):376-380. doi:10.1001/archopht.1970.00990040378019

IN February 1967, the SS Hope anchored off Cartagena, Colombia, providing free medical care for the community. I served as the ship's sole ophthalmologist on the March-April rotation. I was ending my second year as a research ophthalmologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

The Hope was the old USS Consolation,1 presently on loan from the Navy. The Hope displaces 15,400 tons, with a capacity of 130 beds. It has all the departments and clinics found in a small but complete general hospital. Aside from two physician administrators, the medical staff is composed of about 30 physicians and dentists who rotate every two months. On my rotation the average age of a rotator was 52. Some are retired and want to remain useful and alert, while others come from busy private practices. About one quarter are full-time academic people. Within my rotation was a professor of medicine, a

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