Dr. David Sabiston Obituary, Death – Debbie Cordiner, Radiology Manager and Nurse Leader, writes about Ophthalmologist David Sabiston, who died last week. David helped many Tairāwhiti residents see. “For those of you who remember Dr. David Sabiston (“Sabo” to many of us) who worked here at Tairawhiti District Health between about 2005 and 2008, I ask you to remember the amazing guy and the exceptional care he offered to many patients in our community.
After his 91st birthday, Sabo died. Dr. Sabiston was a respected ophthalmologist who helped many Coast, Gisborne, and Hawkes Bay patients sight again. He helped poor communities see in remote places around the world.
As a tiny child, I learned about Dr. Sabiston. Our family loved his name. He gave my mother a corneal graft and sight when she had two young girls. Dr. Sabiston was attentive to my mother while she was in the Hawkes Bay hospital for 7 weeks until the graft took. That graft’s survival isn’t surprising.
I was always attracted by “eyes,” thus I became the Eye Nurse here for 14 years. Sabo was a guest speaker at an ophthalmology conference. He discussed being the 2000 Olympic Games Ophthalmologist/Doctor. Like Sabo, his lecture was informative and amusing. I introduced myself to Dr. Sabiston after everyone went for morning tea. He knew my mom when I introduced myself. He asked about Gisborne and his career.
I said we couldn’t find an ophthalmologist. He suggested a locum to “help out”. I was pleased and couldn’t wait to return to Gisborne to start. Sabo visited Gisborne for three years. He helped 2-3 days a week. He served Tairawhiti well during a difficult recruiting phase despite his age. His coworkers liked Sabo. Morning tea break stories were hilarious for the outpatient girls. He took a 15-minute siesta in the eye clinic after lunch to recharge for the afternoon clinic.
This wonderful ophthalmologist has helped Tairawhiti patients greatly. Many patients will remember his care. I was grateful for his help and friendship. His wife and beloved family survive Sabo. RIP Sabo.