Fri | Feb 23, 2018

Medical milestone achieved in MoBay

Published:Thursday | December 1, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Hospiten in Rose Hall, St James
Three of the four surgeons who performed the groundbreaking thorax operation at the Hospiten hospital in Rose Hall, St James, recently. From left: Dr Omar Savon, Dr Dwayne Hall and Dr Leighton Perrins.

Surgeons at the private hospital Hospiten in Montego Bay, St James, are hailing as a success the first thoracic surgery in Jamaica, describing it as a medical milestone in the nation's history. The operation, which was done on October 30, 2016, on a foreign national, lasted for a little more than seven hours, involving four doctors led by consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Roger Irvine.

A relieved Dr Irvine said the patient was in a very bad shape when he first came in to the facility. "I must really commend the facility here at Hospiten and also the other members of the team for both their competence and professionalism," he said. "People are not really familiar with this kind of operation because, usually, someone with an injury of this nature would be hastily sent to the United States for treatment."

Dr Irvine said the situation was one in which there was fracturing of the ribs in several places and also severe damage to the lungs, which affected the patient's ability to breathe. He added that the patient was also in danger of going into respiratory failure. The outcome might have been different had there not been a ventilator machine at the facility.

"This was certainly one of the most challenging operations I have been involved with in my over 20 years in the profession," he further explained. "Because it has never been done before, there was a lot of planning in addition to a few contingency plans in the event something went wrong. Fortunately, everything worked out and the patient is now recovering successfully."

Thoracic surgery is a surgical specialty which is focused on procedures involving the chest.

Dr Dwayne Hall, a consultant general surgeon who was also a part of the historic operation, said the other winner, aside from the patient, was the Jamaican health-care system.

"There is this misplaced belief that our health system and our doctors are not capable of performing high-risk operations," he noted. "I am certainly now more hopeful that what we have done here will go a long way in dispelling that notion."

Dr Leighton Perrins, an anaesthesiologist who was also a part of the team, agreed. According to him, while health care in general can be quite costly, Hospiten provides a more attractive option than having to go overseas for treatment.

"Our patients get exceptional care from a team of specialists who are part of the community here at Hospiten," he said. "We look forward to utilising this knowledge to help our future patients that are suffering from traumatic life-threatening injuries."

Dr Omar Savon, consultant orthopedic specialist who was the fourth member of the team, said he was very proud to have been a part of such a groundbreaking accomplishment, adding that Jamaica can brace itself for even more historical medical milestones in the future.

"It is also important for our visitors to the island to be aware that in the event of an unexpected traumatic event they can be assured that they will be taken care of here as if they were back at home," he explained.

Hospiten is a $2.3-billion state-of-the-art private hospital which was officially opened in Rose Hall, St James, on October 8, 2015.