Reports which suggest that no doctor was available at the Caribbean Heart Institute (CHI) to attend to television personality and Leader of the Justice For All Party, Chandra Narine Sharma, could not be further from the truth, the institute stated. A doctor is always on call, a spokesperson added.
An official at the institution said that on learning that Sharma had reportedly suffered a heart attack recently, officials at CHI had advised, Sharma’s wife, Ms Savitri Singh, that she merely needed to make an appointment to see the resident doctor, Dr Pratik Soni.
Dr Soni, an Interventional Cardiologist, has been operating at CHI on a fulltime basis since last year.
He has completed more than 35 angiograms and angioplasties successfully. In fact CHI’s ability to offer an immediate response to cardiac emergencies around the clock became possible even in the absence of Dr Gary Stephens, CHI’s Chief Executive Office and Cardiac Surgeon.
According to reports reaching this newspaper, Sharma had visited the facility claiming to have symptoms of heavy breathing back in February. Though initially reluctant to accept further attention from the local facility, Sharma, who is a diabetic, was eventually persuaded to undergo the operation.
A stent that was implanted in his heart some four years ago in the United States had become critically blocked causing the constant palpitation, thus the need for the operation. In addition to completing the angioplasty with a balloon cutting, the expert doctor was also required to implant a stent within the stent already existing in Sharma’s heart.
On this occasion, he was said to have visited the institute with his wife. He reportedly remained in the vehicle while his wife visited the institute seeking a letter that would have cleared Mr Sharma to travel overseas.
However, Mr Sharma never presented himself and the letter was never issued, a source said.
Sharma who is currently embroiled in a sexual offence court case has had his United States visa revoked by the United States Embassy.
He was scheduled to appear in court yesterday, however, due to his reported illness, in conjunction with the fact that Special Prosecutor, Sanjeev Datadin, is currently out of the country, the matter has been postponed to October 22.
Dr Soni, the interventional cardiologist and an Indian national, is qualified in this field and has been practising cardiology over the past 10 years. He has undertaken more than 8,000 Coronary Angiographies and more than 2,500 Coronary Angioplasties, many of them with stent implantations.
He is versed in other interventional procedures the likes of Carotid, Renal and Peripheral Angioplasties, Pacemaker implantations, biventricular pacing for heart failure, ICD implantations for the prevention of sudden cardiac death, balloon valve dilatations, endovascular repair of aortic abnormalities and various other specialised cardiac procedures.
Apart from these, he is an expert in the field of echocardiography, colour Doppler, Tee Ambulatory ECG monitoring (Holter), Ambulatory BP monitoring and nuclear cardiology.
Dr Soni has to his credit the implantation of one of the first biventricular pacemaker and has been accorded the rare honour of performing and demonstrating the use of stents in calcified arteries in Brussels and Belgium.
In addition to his many accomplishments, Dr Soni has designed and patented many products for interventional cardiology out of which some are in production and are being used the world over.
The Interventional Cardiologist has dealt with several clients since being posted at CHI, among them Sharma himself a few months ago, who underwent an angioplasty operation. Angioplasty is a procedure used to open blocked or narrowed coronary (heart) arteries. The procedure improves blood flow to the heart muscle.
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