Portage Road staff celebrates with North Buffalo patient
Story and photos By Terry Duffy
Fichte, Endl & Elmer Eyecare celebrated its 10,000th successful patient procedure on Tuesday.
The milestone event at the group’s ambulatory surgery center on Portage Road in Niagara Falls signified a major achievement and celebrated the practice’s decades of service to the Western New York community.
“Our mission is your vision and we strive to provide top-notch eye care care in a comfortable, professional atmosphere,” the Fichte, Endl & Elmer Eyecare website proclaims.
The group, founded by Dr. Claus Fichte in 1985, includes partners Michael J. Endl, M.D., and Thomas L. Elmer Jr., M.D. Each doctor maintains this approach while working alongside a staff of 74 eye care professionals trained in the latest techniques and procedures to serve patient needs in both Erie and Niagara counties.
“Human dedication and talent are the most valuable resources we have,” Fichte said of the group’s services.
For North Buffalo resident Brian McDonough, an avid skydiver, the successful surgery now means a whole new chapter in his life – and the ability to continue doing what he loves.
Patient Brian McDonough with Dr. Michael Endl, who presented a plaque celebrating the achievement.
Cataract issues are a common affliction as one grows older. McDonough, 62, underwent a dual-eye cataract procedure at Fichte’s Niagara Falls location to address vision problems. He said it has already changed his life.
“I’m struck, absolutely struck. Their dedication and it’s miraculous work – it’s changed my life; and I’m just glad I’m here,” McDonough said.
Endl performed the procedure, which he said “involves putting a new lens in your eye to allow you to see clearly and drive at night.”
He said the surgery would enable McDonough to continue pursuing his passion – and much more – as he returns to an active lifestyle.
Endl said McDonough underwent a similar procedure on his second eye “to get it evened up. And he just happens to be our 10,000th procedure.
“I’m really excited to be doing this.”
When informed McDonough would now be able to continue skydiving, Endl laughed and quipped, “Well, he’s going to see a lot better.”
Sara Lucas assisted Endl in the procedure. “We’re so glad it worked well for him,” she said.
Kathleen Otto, who serves as director of marketing, said this procedure was reason to celebrate. The Tuesday occasion featured banners, noisemakers, balloons, champagne and prizes. Despite a rather busy afternoon of patient visits, evaluations and treatments, more than a dozen staff participated in the event.
“We are just so delighted to be able to celebrate our 10,000th patient today,” Otto said. “We opened about five years ago, with a lot of struggles, and we’ve made it through COVID. And not only are we excited to celebrate this milestone, we’re looking forward to opening and enlarging our business, adding multi-specialties, more operating rooms and between surgeries that are not only involving our clients. We are looking to add specialties in the very near future as we grow.”
Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino, who attended this event with Town of Niagara Supervisor Lee Wallace and Councilman Marc Carpenter, offered praise to Fichte, Endl & Elmer Eyecare for what it has done in Niagara County and for its achievements – particularly over the past 18 months.
“In business, it’s often hard to achieve milestones like this because everyone is struggling to really find their place, even more specifically during this pandemic thing,” Restaino said. “So, these professionals here, it doesn’t surprise me that they’ve been able to maintain their type of consistency with the patients, the clients. I’m really proud of the fact that everyone was able to celebrate this. From my perspective, just to be included in this is an honor.”