Dr. Patricia Bath, doctor who revolutionized eye surgery, could receive posthumous national honor

Dr. Patricia Bath's family is leading the charge to help her achieve one final first: induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame 2021.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Dr. Patricia Bath holds many "first" titles, shattering the glass ceiling through decades of hard work and perseverance.

She was the first female ophthalmologist at UCLA's esteemed Jules Stein Eye Institute, the first Black female surgeon on faculty at UCLA Medical Center, and the first Black woman to receive a medical patent -- for her invention that revolutionized cataract surgery.

Bath invented a technique called laser phaco, removing cataracts by laser and restoring eye sight in a much less invasive procedure.

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Dr. Bath passed away in 2019. Her daughter is now leading the charge to help her achieve one final first: induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame 2021.

"Given the impact my mother's invention had on cataract surgery, we really feel like its worthy of induction," Dr. Eraka Bath explained.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame recognizes scientific achievements and centuries of inventors. Dr. Bath could become the first Black woman to receive this honor. It was always a dream of hers.

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Dr. Bath has been nominated 11 times, receiving a posthumous nomination this year. Inductees will be announced in late spring, early summer.

Dr. Eraka Bath, who also became a physician, says her mother's character was just as admirable as her accomplishments.

A fierce advocate for blind, Dr. Bath was always reaching back to help lift others up.

"Balancing poise and perseverance, persistence and passion, she really was steadfast on her goals," Dr. Eraka Bath said.

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