VIDEO: Sewell Pediatrician to Travel to Chile for Christmas Charity Work

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SEWELL - A local pediatrician is traveling to South America to lend his professional skills and help children in the nation of Chile with their medical needs.
Dr. Marc Backal, pediatrician at Advocare Laurel Pediatrics in Sewell, will be leaving his practice behind to travel to Chile with the Jewish pride athletic organization, Maccabi Team USA. Dr. Backal will be serving as a physician for his third year with the athletes, and will also screen Chilean children for vision tests.
“About a year or so ago, I thought, how can I impact the most amount of people, and I’m obviously interested in children, and actually [doing] something, something I could fix or do,” said Dr. Backal.
And that’s exactly what the roller-skating pediatrician plans to do.
“It’s not just screening them, I’m going to bring eye glasses to treat them," said Dr. Backal. "People don’t even have houses, or running water, or anything like that, and certainly no medical care. I have almost everything equipment-wise that I would need in this office to treat patients — so everything from nebulizers for asthma, to urinary infections, to strep throat, you name it, all of the things you wouldn’t think of, we got it, we’re ready for it.”
Dr. Backal leaves tomorrow for Chile and he’s bringing his medical kits and his vision tests. By Christmas Day, he’ll be helping hundreds of Chilean children be able to see a little clearer.
“They’re going to come [and] get screened," said Backal. "Anything that’s out of the ordinary, they’re the ones that I’ll be seeing, and then I’ll be matching them up to glasses that can hopefully allow them to see."
Dr. Backal will be screening more than 1,000 children in a clinic he will be setting up in two days. For one week, the athletes will help him screen the kids, using spot autorefractors. From there, they will hand out donated eye glasses to those who need them.
“If you can give a -1 and give them glasses, they can see clearer. If you can take someone who has a +5, make them into a +4 or +3 or even better, they’ll see for the first time, which will be fantastic. So, that’s exciting,” said Backal.

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