Mariella Coluccio from Specsavers Bankstown was awarded the inaugural 2021 Dame Mary Perkins Medal at the SCC Lives Series in Brisbane on Wednesday, 15 September, for outstanding patient care and the positive impact she has made in her community.
Being an optometrist for 25 years, Mariella says the most satisfying part of her job is helping a wide variety of people from all different walks of life.
“It’s the most rewarding experience to know that you have the knowledge, skill and latest technology to be able to save someone’s life or sight,” says Mariella.
Mariella was recognised for her persistence in following through with a three-year-old child with severe swollen optic nerves.
“This was the first swollen optic nerves I had seen in a young child and the worst case I had seen in my career. She had already been discharged twice from the hospital.
“Due to the language barrier and age of the child this could have easily gone into the ‘too hard basket’ and automatically referred to an eye specialist.
“By the time the youngster would be seen by a specialist, and during the NSW COVID outbreak, her tiny body may not have coped,” adds Mariella.
Mariella became the voice for the family by speaking directly with the hospital emergency triage nurse.
“We see a myriad of ocular disease due to our multicultural demographic, but this was rare and extraordinary.
“As we are a multicultural team at Specsavers Bankstown, we usually see if one of our employees is able to translate for us. If not, we request to call a family member or friend who can translate via speaker over the phone,” adds Mariella.
As a result of Mariella’s persistence, the young child had emergency surgery and has thankfully made a full recovery.
Stories like Mariella’s and caring for our community is why our family of optometrists do what they do. If you know of someone in your team that has made a difference to an individual or a community, please nominate them when nominations open for 2022.