History! - Hargreaves Hospital conducts first-time surgery in Jamaica
Since operating under new management, the Hargreaves Hospital has not wavered in its effort to offer state-of-the-art health care services to those who pass through its doors.
Just recently, the hospital added another noteworthy accomplishment to its list, performing the first Biplanar Fluoroscopic Radiofrequency Thermocoagulation of the Trigeminal Nerve surgery, in the island.
Consultant Neurosurgeon, Spinal Surgeon and Pain Specialist, at the facility, Dr Roger Hunter explained that the procedure is done for severe tractable Trigeminal neuralgia, not responsive to medication or where people are no longer able to tolerate the medication. Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve, which carries sensation from the face to the brain.
Nadine Roberts, consultant nurse anaesthetist at a nearby hospital, was the patient.
Roberts, having been diagnosed with Trigeminal neuralgia, felt excruciating pain for approximately three years.
Being unable to eat or drink freely, she lost approximately 30 pounds and had to be admitted as a result of dehydration a few days before the procedure.
"The pain was severe on the right side of my face. I couldn't really eat, but I could get down a little fluid. When I was diagnosed with Trigeminal neuralgia, I was referred to UWI hospital, and I was then referred to go to Florida to do a procedure, but the cost was too expensive. I continued taking the medication, but after a while they stopped working," Roberts told Rural Xpress.
According to Dr Hunter, the pain from the ailment is distributed along the upper and lower jaw and is normally thought to be a dental-related matter.
He revealed that the pain is said to be greater than that which comes with child's birth and can only be compared to a kidney stone or a tear in the anus.
Having found Hunter through the guidance of a pharmacist, Roberts did her consultations and began preparation for surgery.
"It is not an open surgery, but one done through the cheek of the patient with a needle. The procedure was done with an intravenous general anaesthetic, with intraoperative wake up, (waking the patient during surgery, stimulating and then putting them back to sleep). It had to be done with a highly intricate anaesthetic because the patient is not intubated, they are allowed to breathe," said Hunter.
The under three hour surgery which can see a patient leaving the hospital the same day or a day or two later, augurs well for patients whose only option would be to travel overseas for the procedure.
"It means patients who have been suffering agonisingly, total incapacitation, now have hope, that will allow them to have two to three years pain free without any need to give up on life and I say that very seriously because patients have committed suicide, the other name for this is, suicide disease," said Hunter.
Roberts informed: "Since I have done the surgery, I have not felt any excruciating pains, I'm able to eat and I think I'll be fine," said Roberts, who was discharged with her coronary reflex intact.
Dr Hunter said he was deeply humbled for the privilege to serve his patients. "Humbled for the talent God has blessed me with for Jamaica and certainly for Hargreaves, this does advance the offering of the range of treatment available. This puts us on the map as it regards, first world treatment," Hunter told Rural Xpress.
He noted that dentists who would have come across cases of Trigeminal neuralgia would be thrilled to learn that this surgery is now being done locally.