Thank You for 23 Years: Dr. Jack Gabay Retires From The Center for Excellence In Eye Care
You may find him walking around our office in sunglasses, and in the last few weeks, a tie. Originally from New York, Dr. Jack Gabay graduated with his medical degree from the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York. As many of us appreciated, Dr. Gabay completed residencies in internal Medicine at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore AND in Ophthalmology at Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Gabay held a board certification status in BOTH ophthalmology and internal medicine. This is really important because everyone in our office came to Dr. Gabay with “issues” outside of eyes. More about that later…
Since today, December 13th is a happy day for him, the day he retires from his 33 years of medical practice, we wanted to share a little more about him with our patients and followers. So, we polled his technicians, his partners, and the rest of us who have worked alongside Dr. Gabay for all these years, and what we found are several golden nuggets of information we wanted to share upon this very important day.
Although he is a native New Yorker, with no Spanish background, if you were a patient of his, you probably know Dr. Gabay speaks exceptional Spanish. What you may not know is that he also knows enough French to carry on a casual conversation. Dr. Gabay loves picadillo and fricassee de pollo. He loves to cycle and garden; he actually planted all the trees at his home himself. Dr. Gabay is a lover of skiing and wine. He skied annually with one of our other partners, Dr. Richard Simon. His intense love of wine made us affectionally name him our “wine connoisseur” and was highly evident in the cases of different wines Dr. Gabay would order to our office. We also welcomed the request to ALWAYS be the one to choose the wines at our office dinner events and get togethers. If he didn’t choose, we would hear about it!
Dr. Gabay gave some of us special names – most notably his beloved technician “Normisita” who has worked with him for 21 years. Normisita made his American coffee 4 times a day – black with cream. Normisita also lovingly made Dr. Gabay his hair appointments! Dr. Morvarid Fallahzadeh shared that Dr. Gabay nicknamed her “Dr. Yabbadabba” because he could not get the pronunciation of her last name right. It’s things like this that really showcased Dr. Gabay’s amazing sense of humor.
Although Dr. Gabay had an interest in neuro-ophthalmology and complex medical conditions that affected his patient’s eyes, his internal medicine board certification and interest provided knowledge which helped countless patients who ‘Normisita’ remembers receiving hundreds of emotional, tear-filled ‘thank you’s’ and thank you notes from. In our office, he was known as the “all-around doctor”, so any of us who worked close to him and had something going on outside of our eyes, would go to him for advice. I remember burning my arm baking cookies one night and asking him for help early the next morning – the cream he gave me solved that burn and got me pain-free immediately.
Along these lines, although Dr. Gabay specialized in surgeries like cataract extractions and pterygium removal, what we and his patients will distinctly remember is that Dr. Gabay cared about his patients equally and followed up on their care. He called his patients – when he determined that they needed an MRI or to go to the ER, he would call until they would find out the outcome. He did not stop and worried about them. Per his technicians, he never failed on his diagnoses, even outside of eyes. Dr. Gabay has actually had a lot of cases of patients diagnosed with tumors; he once had a patients with an ear ache – something that had nothing to do with eyes – but he directed this patient to go see an ENT as he determined some nerve issues; he persisted that this patient get it checked. It ended up being a tumor which the patient had surgery to remove and was saved. He has endlessly thanked Dr Gabay.
Dr. Gabay not only gave of his time to his patients and to some of us as co-workers/patients, he was part of a sponsored mission trip to Peru in 2016. There, Dr. Gabay and his colleagues performed 90 surgeries on an underserved population in northern Peru.
Although we know he won’t exactly be sad once he retires since he had a countdown to retirement set on his phone (for his and for Dr. Eisner’s retirement), we do know we will miss him. He baked cakes for some of us on our birthdays every year. We all stood alongside him when he went through back surgery. As his retirement neared, his colleague and friend, Dr. Simon challenged him to “look professional and set an example every day”, so Dr. Gabay wore a different tie to the office every day in November of this year.
When he retires Dr. Gabay shared that he “wants to learn how to fish”, wants to travel more and wants to go to the Superbowl.
According to one of his partners, Dr. Carlos Buznego (his neighbor in our office for many years), Dr. Gabay has always been a leader of men and in addition to his clinical skills as an excellent Ophthalmologist, he served in many unsung roles in the administration of Ophthalmology and ambulatory surgery. Dr. Gabay was a founding partner at The Center for Excellence in Eye Care since our inception in 1996. During this length of time, he served as a corporate officer for many years including serving as our President from 2010 to 2017. Dr. Gabay also served on the board at Surgical Park Center Ltd. (Ambulatory Surgery Center) as a Medical Director for almost two decades and served as Chairman of the Board from 2006 to 2015. Dr. Gabay served as Chairman of the Ophthalmology section at Baptist Hospital Department of Surgery in Miami, a position he held since 2005. Dr. Gabay was a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Dade County Medical Association, and the Miami Ophthalmological Society.
These roles allowed him to improve the quality and efficiency of medical care to tens of thousands of patients in the Miami area. This selfless dedication to patient care has been the cornerstone of Dr. Gabay’s enormous contribution to the betterment of quality patient care to innumerable people in South Florida. His dedication to quality care, inquisitive nature, friendliness, sense of humor and love of wine will be missed by his partners, medical colleagues, patients and all of us here at The Center for Excellence in Eye Care. Thank you for all you have done for our patients Dr. Gabay, we hope you visit us to tell us about the Superbowl and your new fishing career!
From left to right: Normisita, Dr. Jack Gabay, Dr. Carolina Pedroletti and Dr. Frank Spektor
Dr. Gabay and Dr. Pedroletti
Dr. Gabay’s first bio picture!