Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Heart Institute gets ambulances for cardiac emergencies

Published:Thursday | March 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (right) exits the ambulance while Japanese Ambassador Hiromasa Yamazaki (background) and Professor Ernest Madu, chairman of the Heart Institute of the Caribbean Foundation, look on after the handover of the two cardiac ambulances from the Japanese Government, through its embassy’s Grassroots Human Security Project, at the regional offices of the HIC in St Andrew on Tuesday.

The Embassy of Japan in St Andrew on Tuesday enabled the Heart Institute of the Caribbean (HIC) to become the first local health entity to offer cardiac ambulance services through a donation of two specialised ambulances.

Costing approximately J$10 million, the ambulances now give the institution the capability to respond promptly to heart attack emergencies in the Corporate Area.

Ernest Madu, chairman of the HIC Foundation, who collected the keys from Japanese Ambassador Hiromasa Yamazaki at the foundation's offices in St Andrew, told a gathering of stakeholders that the 2017 Land Cruisers come at a time when the Government is facing seemingly insurmountable challenge in providing complex medical services for its people.

"These come fully equipped to respond to all cardiac emergencies. Each ambulance has a portable electrocardiogram machine that allows an electrocardiogram to be done en route and transmitted via our telemedicine platform to the cardiac emergency room prior to the arrival of a patient," Madu said.

"That allows our specialist cardiologist to review the electrocardiogram and be able to provide advice to the emergency medical team transporting the patient. Each ambulance has a defibrillator and a ventilator. There are no ambulances like this in Jamaica."

Madu took the opportunity to kill a few birds with one stone by also announcing that heart patients in need of an angiogram or pacemaker will have access to significantly reduced costs at public hospitals through the foundation.

"Patients from any public hospital in Jamaica in need of an angiogram will only need to pay $75,000 for the procedure and $50,000 to the doctor plus nominal fees for consumables. HIC will pay for the use of the operating room and any other technical charges. Patients in need of a pacemaker will only need to pay for the cost of the pacemaker. Costs we have control over will be absorbed through the HIC Foundation's generous support," he said.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com