Dr. Susie LUU- Ophthalmologist
By: Geoff Phan & David Hankin
About 30 years ago, there were no Chinese or Vietnamese Australians in South Australia who could offer tutoring in Physics ,Mathematics and personal courses. I was the first person to lead the way and became a teacher who opened up this area which led to the teaching of Physics and Mathematics. For this reason, I have seen many students over the years who have achieved success in all walks of life. Many of them are excellent professionals, doctors, accountants, physical therapists, dentists, financiers and bankers etc.
Their development has led to positions in various aspects of the South Australian community and has even played a very important role in the Australian society.
The first person that I will introduce to you , is Dr. Susie Luu who is an ophthalmologist.
9 years ago, I had cataracts and deep myopia. This meant that I had to have eye surgery. Twice on the right eye and three times on the left eye, the five operations were successful. When the anaesthetic effect had worn off, I woke up and heard a familiar female voice saying my name. Few people knew my name, only the people who studied in my Physics class ( I was the Physics teacher in Taiwan) – knew my name .Then she said that the operation was very successful and told me to take care .
I wanted to meet her again because I knew that she is also the daughter of my friend Mr. Luu Vinh Hung.
Dr. Saha, the doctor who presided over the operation, said that Dr. Susie Luu said that you used to be her Physics teacher. I nodded. He said that you know about a lot about Optics . Again I nodded. He said: In this operation, I used a substance which has a density that is heavier than water . It was successful, and you will now have clear vision for the rest of your life. I felt very good and was extremely happy. I stepped down from the operating bed and walked outside. My eldest daughter Joyce , were waiting outside and looked very happy. She helped me to get into the car and we went home.
Nine years later unfortunately, a little curtain formed across the front of both eyes. Thus my vision had become more blurred .I saw my family doctor, who referred me to a specialist. He told me not to drive, especially at night. I decided to see another ophthalmologist and remembered that my old friend Luu Vinh Hung’s daughter is Dr. Susie Luu. I called my old friend who arranged for me to see her .
Recently, I have seen Dr. Susie Luu three times. She used laser treatment to solve my eye problems which took less than ten minutes. She told me that the treatment was very successful and that you should not have to see me again but you should go for an eye test every year. I nodded . She said keep writing your articles and running your newspaper. Again I nodded. Going out, I thanked God that I was able to see Dr. Susie Luu and because of her I am able to see clearly again .
Dr. Susie Luu graduated from the University of Adelaide School of Medicine in 2004 and achieved a Master’s degree at the University of Sydney in the Public Health program. She also went to Toronto ,in Canada to study Paediatric Ophthalmology & Strabismus for sick children which is related to children’s ophthalmology. In South Australia, only she has this major. In 2017, she returned to Adelaide to start her professional career. Currently she is working at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the Flinders Medical Centre. She also works in some private clinics. She specialises in cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration.
I am very fortunate that after nearly ten years we have been able to meet again .
When Dr. Susie Luu was in junior high school, she attended St. Mary’s College and also attended Adelaide High. Some people say that only if you attend the more prestigious schools, can you go to medical school. But as you can see from her example ,this is not the case .In her college entrance exam, she took six subjects even though she only had to pass in five of them. She was admitted to the Adelaide University School of Medicine. Her excellent results were reported on -by the Advertiser and of course by my South Australia Chinese Weekly. I used to go to her dad’s shop where her grades could be seen on the glass doors and windows but her parents always stayed “low-key” .
Dr. Susie Luu’s father and family were refugees that came to Australia from Vietnam, in 1980 . After his family was accepted by Australians, they took root and settled here. Many friends and other family members moved to Sydney or interstate, but he stayed in South Australia because of the state’s good educational facilities. Adelaide is beautiful and quiet. It is not like the other big cities that have so much noise and traffic. It gives people a sense of comfort, happiness and its reasonably safe. Most places like the beaches, the magnificent -Adelaide Hills or some of the suburbs are within about 20 minutes drive.
Luu Vinh Hung chose this place which provided his children with a good place to be educated. It also provided him with opportunity to set up a gold and Jewellery shop in Chinatown. He has recently retired.
Luu Vinh Hung chose to escape from the post Vietnam war In June 1980 .It was the best decision that he had ever made for both himself and his family. He escaped from the tyrannical regime. He not only saved his life and survived, but he also gave his family a place to live.
To conclude, I wish to thank on behalf of Luu Vinh Hung and his family, all of the Australians and in particular the South Australians who made him and other refugees feel very welcomed.