NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — She goes by so many names. Just to name a few, she goes by mom, wife, friend, advocate, and around certain parts of town, doctor.
“I can’t tell you how many times people have cried when they have come to me because they couldn’t see and they were able to give them vision back,” shared Dr. Rebecca Metzinger.
When you hear about her tremendous work in the community and abroad, (which we will get to in a second) it will make you wonder where did Dr. Rebecca Metzinger get this drive or inspiration from.
“I knew I always wanted to be a doctor. I had a grandmother. My grandfather met her when she was a flight lieutenant in the Royal Air Force,” Said. Dr. Metzinger. “They ended up getting married and coming to the states. So, I wanted to be like her. She was an incredible woman and I think to have been a flight surgeon in the war, wow!”
Now you can understand that Dr. Metzinger’s passion and inspiration to help others, runs deep in her veins.
Early on in her life, she set her sights on med school. Her focus, was 20/20 when it came down to picking what she would specialize in. The Study of Ophthalmology.
“I absolutely fell in love with the delicate surgeries, the people,” she described. “You know, everything about ophthalmology. It’s a calling.”
In one part, Dr. Metzinger told us, her grandfather is the reason she is devoted to the veterans at the New Orleans VA. While she works with some of the highest-ranking and decorated military men and women, around these halls, she’s the chief. The Chief of Ophthalmology.
“It’s personal. My grandfather was in the invasion of D Day. He was in one of the invasions on the beaches in Normandy,” Dr. Metzinger recalled. “He was one of the few to survive and come back. He went blind and when he went blind he lost his will to live.”
After seeing that, she felt compelled to help, saying, “I never want any veteran to have that happen.”
Later down the road, Dr. Metzinger joined the Department of Ophthalmology at Tulane School of Medicine in July of 2008.
“Love the people. I love this town and I feel like I have seen some amazing things like when everyone came together after Katrina.”
She splits her time three ways, at the VA, Tulane University, and the rest abroad helping third world countries.
“It can be daunting you know. After several mission trips, you realize that people walk for days just to be able to come and see us.”
The Island of Grenada is a small island in the Caribbean. A large chunk of the population living there lives below the poverty line.
“I was the first person to do transplants there,” shared Dr. Metzinger. “…and I hope that we can use the connections I’ve made to help bring eye care to a lot of the islands in the Caribbean. “
During Dr. Metzingers travels to Grenada, she worked grueling hours and was in unbelievable working conditions but she was successful in restoring vision to so many in that community.
“It makes you realize how much more work needs to be done.”
This remarkable woman with unbelievable talents, several name tags, and a clear vision for change says, her purpose is to give back at all times.