“Do unto your patients as you would do unto your family,” advises Dr. Kevin Dorsett; it is a guiding principle in his career as an ophthalmologist. It’s no surprise Dr. Dorsett’s doctrine is based on The Golden Rule, a tenet that transcends cultures and history, because it is the love of the Word of God and of helping others through missionary work that led Dr. Dorsett to practice medicine.
“I grew up right here in Temple Terrace. In fact, my Grandmother was from Lakeland and went to Florida Southern. My family’s been in Florida for several generations.” Dr. Dorsett shares, explaining his background. “Later on, the thing that inspired me to go to medical school was when I started dating my wife; she got me involved in the Presbyterian Church and I decided that I wanted to do Medical Missions work.” This is, no doubt, when he took Matthew 7:12 to heart; it’s where Jesus of Nazarene summarized the Old Testament with, “Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.”
His path in life set, Dr. Dorsett earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of South Florida, and subsequently went to Columbia Theological Seminary, earning a Master’s Degree in Divinity and becoming an Ordained Presbyterian Minister. Following that, he led Live Oak Presbyterian Church in Live Oak, Florida for a few years. Eventually, he returned to USF for medical school and completed his residency training as the Chief Resident at USF’s Department of Ophthalmology. In 2001, he and his family came to Lakeland so he could form the Lakeland Eye Clinic with fellow doctors.
In choosing Ophthalmology, Dr. Dorsett had his goal of Medical Missions in sight. “Ophthalmology has such an impact in terms of communities,” he explains, “with a single surgery, you can take an individual . . . and take them from being a burden on the community to being able to help care for others.” While International Missions are still on the horizon, Dr. Dorsett and Lakeland Eye Clinic are practicing ‘doing unto others’ right here in Polk County. Alongside the day-to-day dealings of the clinic, and being an active board member of the Polk County Medical Association, Dr. Dorsett is involved in helping many local charitable missions, such as Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine. Furthermore, as a founding supporter of the Annual Casino Night Fundraiser, Dr Dorsett is an avid ally of the Polk County Medical Foundation and We Care of Polk County.
In addition to his community efforts and his daily work focusing on cataract surgery, Dr. Dorsett also served as Chief of Ophthalmology at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. However, he is the most proud of attaining the level of Eagle Scout, no doubt owing to the promise of the Scout Oath to “help other people at all times.” It’s Dr. Dorsett’s Golden Rule again, of helping others as if they were your own family. His goal of getting involved in international medical missionary work is getting closer every day, and his Golden Rule doctrine is one that is understood across all borders, races, languages, and religions. No doubt it will serve him well in seeing his mission through.
story by ERIKA ALDRICH
photo by PEZZIMENTI