Mar 10, 2013 News
By Sharmain Grainger
Although Gregory McIntosh left these shores more than three decades ago, there was always a burning desire to return. And it was certainly not merely about seeing relatives and old familiar locations, but rather to give back something to his homeland.
However, it was only through an ambitious movement, that he was able to return recently, complete with a doctorate, and an avenue to render medical expertise to ailing patients here.
“I always wanted to give back to the country of my birth; I think everybody wants to give back in some way, but perhaps they just don’t know how. I’m glad that I have been given this opportunity to give back in this way,” said Dr McIntosh as he prepared for a week-long medical mission here in Guyana last week.
The venture came as part of a collaborative effort between the International Sisters of Mercy Catholic movement and the St Joseph Mercy Hospital.
Dr McIntosh, who specialises in Urology, was part of a group of eight medical experts who last week rendered usually high-cost medical attention to a number of patients at the Parade Street, Georgetown private hospital, the very hospital where he said he was born.
In recounting his life’s journey up until his recent return, Dr McIntosh said that at the age of 14, he, along with his family, migrated to the United States. He attended college and medical school there and has been practicing in the field of urology for almost 13 years now, in the state of Michigan.
Dr McIntosh is in fact part of a group called Michigan Institute of Urology, which is a private urology group of about 40 experts.
“We practice our surgical stuff at several of the hospitals locally and currently I am the programme Chair for the US Residency Programme,” he related during an interview. His visit warranted him taking one week leave in order to offer his undivided but voluntary attention here.
Even as he alluded to his limited knowledge of the state of urology in Guyana, Dr McIntosh speculated that there may not be nearly enough experts in this field currently. He recounted speaking with a recently trained official in this regard adding that “we are learning about what the state of urology is in Guyana. I do have some basic information, but I have been told there are some limited services….I understand that there is not a full scope of urology such as endoscopic and laparoscopic that we normally do in the US…those services I am told are limited here for the moment.”
But according to Dr McIntosh, urology is an important and needful medical service here since according to him “based on what I have been told there is a fair amount of people with kidney stones.”
Urology is the medical and surgical specialty that focuses on the urinary tracts of males and females, and on the reproductive system of males. Medical professionals specializing in the field of urology are called urologists and are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with urological disorders.
The organs covered by urology include the kidneys, adrenal glands, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra, and the male reproductive organs (testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate and penis). The urinary and reproductive tracts are closely linked, and disorders of one often affect the other, so a major part of the conditions managed in urology fall in the area of genitourinary disorders.
Urology combines management of medical (i.e., non-surgical) problems such as urinary tract infections and benign prostatic hyperplasia, as well as surgical problems such as the surgical management of cancers, the correction of congenital abnormalities, and correcting stress incontinence. It is also closely related to, and in some cases overlaps with, the medical fields of oncology, nephrology, gynaecology, andrology, paediatric surgery, gastroenterology, and endocrinology. In fact, Urology is said to be one of the most competitive specialties to enter for physicians.
Making reference to the state of Urology in the United States, Dr McIntosh related that about 99 per cent of the cases are treated via endoscopy in order to avoid major complication. Endoscopy is a way of looking inside the body using a flexible tube that has a small camera on the end of it. This instrument is called an endoscope.
Statistics available here, according to Dr McIntosh, suggest that more than 70 per cent of the kidney stones patients who require an operation in Guyana would instead have an incision for it, since there isn’t the endoscopic ability. However, he is convinced that experts can be easily trained, although the required equipment is rather expensive.
Dr McIntosh said that during the course of the medical outreach, he saw a combination of kidney stones, prostate cancer concerns and urinary symptoms among other complaints. However, he noted that “it is a little different than the type of practice I have, because in the US, I have easy access to laboratories and x-rays at the drop of a hat. Here you have to learn to be more of a diagnostician based on the patient’s history without the clinical support …”
His visit is also expected to channel much needed support, since according to Dr McIntosh he is a part of an organisation called the International Voluntary Urology, out of Utah in the United States.
“That particular organisation has a number of urologists who periodically do medical mission trips around the world…they have actually concentrated on Africa, Indo-China and South East Asia, but I am hoping they will come here too.”
The group has never ventured to South America. Moreover, Dr McIntosh said that his visit is strategic, whereby he will seek to ascertain the facilities that are available here. The acquired information, according to him, will be detailed on a Registry form which will be sent to the Voluntary Group “…and when they meet they will let me know if Guyana can be added to the registry,” Dr McIntosh stated.
He is hopeful that his homeland would be in a better position to gain needful urology service on a sustained basis.
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