Nine kids receive new leases on life as…
Historic cardiac surgeries conducted locally

Kaieteur News
April 21, 2007

Related Links: Articles on health
Letters Menu Archival Menu

Nine Guyanese children received new leases on life over the last week when they received cardiac catherization at the Caribbean Heart Institute located at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC)

The medical feat was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Guyana Government, two benevolent paediatric cardiologists from the University of Mississippi Medical Centre, the Caribbean Heart Institute (CHI) and the GPHC.

At the media conference yesterday, the two specialists, Drs Charles Gaymes and Makram Ebeid,

described the procedures conducted on the children to correct their heart defects.

Dr. Gaymes explained that catherization is “a smart way to medicine” where a needle is injected into the vein or artery in the leg or groin area, through which a catheter is passed.

This is used to place a device to plug the defect, instead of having to do open-heart surgery on the patient.

Dr. Gaymes did the screening and evaluation process, which started last Sunday and concluded yesterday, while Professor Ebeid, the Paediatric Cardiac Interventionist at the University's Medical Centre did the actual procedures, aided by two nurses, Keisha Prystupa and Olivia Poag, and other local nursing staff.

While some 120 children with congenial heart conditions were screened, many could not have their surgery done here since open-heart surgery was required and Guyana does not have the capacity to do such. Additionally, the specialist explained, many of the patients' defects could not be corrected. According to Professor Ebeid, nine surgeries were done during this six-day mission, at no cost to the children, who suffered mainly from Patent Ductus Arteriosus.

This is said to be a leakage in the main blood vessel, which causes blood to flow in the wrong direction.

The nine that were chosen were deemed to be the most urgently in need of the medical interventions.

If all goes according to plan, many more children will be the beneficiaries of such life-saving interventions in the near future.

The initiative, as explained by Minister within the Ministry of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran, would now be continuous and the CHI would try to solicit other specialists to offer their services here.

Additionally, the two Cardiologists, Gaymes and Ebeid have committed to returning in the near future to conduct more surgeries.

The CHI is a private institution that offers Cardiac services through a joint venture with Government.

The Government of Guyana contributed US$20,000 to the process and other intangible costs, while the CHI facilitated the medical procedures.

The teams also conducted the visit and procedures free of cost, while Am Platzer, a foreign company, donated the devices used during the procedures, through the efforts of the Revealed World Ministry. Additionally, Dr. Ebeid was able to source other requirements from Braun, another foreign company. Had these surgeries been performed overseas and charged for, they would have cost between US$10,000 and US$15,000 each, since each device used in the procedure costs between US$5,000 – US$6,000.

Cardiac services were introduced in Guyana last October.

Commenting on the venture, Dr Gaymes, who is married to a Guyanese, said his wife has been behind him for some time to contribute his services here.

He explained that he attempted a similar mission six years ago but had to abandon plans since the conditions to conduct such surgeries did not exist.