Dr Philip Hayes has had a long career and operated all over the world, but last week he put down his surgical tools for the last time, right here at Central Coast Day Hospital.
Dr Phil Hayes on his last day
Last Wednesday, the 15th of March, Dr Hayes finished the final procedure of his 20-year long career in ophthalmology. Performing his first cataract surgery in 1987 in Africa, Dr Hayes originally thought he would pursue general practice. However, after spending a few years in Zambia with the African Evangelical Fellowship, Dr Hayes had the opportunity to take over the cataract operations and found the experience would change his life.
“It is an amazing experience to take blind people and make them see,” says Dr Hayes. With a newfound love for ophthalmic surgery, Dr Hayes trained at the Sydney Eye Hospital and went on to open his ophthalmology practice in 1997.
Since then, Dr Hayes has enjoyed a varied career in the ophthalmological world. He has been the Head of Department of Ophthalmology Central Coast Local Health District and been a member of the State Ophthalmic Services Committee of the NSW agency for Clinical Innovation and the CCLHD board. And in between that and his practice, he has done charity work all over the world including Zambia, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, China and Samoa.
But even with all his achievements, Dr Hayes says that it’s the people he will miss. His staff who he considers like family, and all the patients whose stories and lives have touched him personally. “It really was a life changing experience in many different dimensions,” says Dr Hayes in regards to one particular patient with agoraphobia that he went above and beyond to help.
Dr Hayes and his team
You would think that after such a long and eventful career, Dr Hayes would be ready to take it easy, but it seems the opposite is true. Between taking a course from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, working on his church’s board, training in pastoral ministry, completing a philosophy degree at the university of Edinburgh, hoping to continue involvement with the Fred Hollows Foundation in the Pacific and spending time with his father, it seems that Dr Hayes is only getting started.
As for his practice, Dr Daniel Brettell who trained in both the Sydney Eye Hospital and in the UK, is looking to expand his workload to take on Dr Hayes’ patients with Dr Hayes’ full confidence. For now though, we all wish Dr Hayes the best of luck in the future and a heartfelt appreciation for all the amazing work he has done.