WASHINGTON - A mobile hospital touched down at Reagan National Airport on Wednesday. The world's only Flying Eye Hospital is set up on a cargo plane and it is helping people all over the world.
A lot of people haven’t heard about it, but this is the third generation Flying Eye Hospital created by a company called Orbis International. It is a non-profit group that flies an international medical team to developing countries to teach sight saving skills, so this massive plane is a classroom and an operating room wrapped up into one.
The MD-10 aircraft was in Washington before it heads to Shenyang, China in September.
The plane has a 48-seat classroom and audio-visual equipment to watch live surgical procedures being performed in the plane's operating room. Students can interact with doctors and ask questions during the procedures.
Millions of people, including children, go blind every day and millions more have vision problems that go untreated. The hospital is meant to treat patients who normally don't have access or the money for quality care.
“We have a business model that develops a sustainable, continual, progressive eye care program within a country, tailored to that country, to bring those countries from a remedial level up to U.S. standards,” said Jack McHale, director of Orbis’ MD-10 Project.
The cargo plane was donated by FedEx. Over the course of the program, Orbis has flown to 92 countries. It also has hospital-based programs in remote areas where the plane cannot fly in.
The plane's next stop is Texas before it heads to China on its next mission.