Jul 23, 2016 News
– Medical Council being urged to examine non-referral stance of some institutions
“Make arrangements to travel to the (United) States or prepare to die,” that was the advice that was reportedly given to Fazil Ghany, after he was found to have a rare heart condition.
But little did Ghany, who is said to be in his mid-20s, know that it was possible for his condition to be addressed at the privately operated Dr. Balwant Singh Hospital situated at East Street, Georgetown.
Although at a cost of about US$12,000, the cardiac team of the hospital was able to put measures in place to conduct a peridiectomy, the procedure Ghany needed, for the first time in this part of the world. There are reports that the procedure has never before been conducted even in the Caribbean.
The condition from which Ghany suffered is called constrictive pericarditis. This is a long-term chronic inflammation of the sac-like covering of the heart (called the pericardium) with thickening, scarring and muscle tightening called contracture.
Constrictive pericarditis is most commonly caused by conditions or events that cause inflammation to develop around the heart including heart surgery, radiation therapy to the chest and tuberculosis.
The foregoing was shared by Medical Director of the Dr. Balwant Singh Hospital, Dr. Madhu Singh, who at a press conference yesterday said, “We were able to make the impossible possible.”
“This is the first time that this has been done in Guyana…” boasted Dr. Singh who disclosed that “the patient’s condition was (first) identified at another hospital, but he was told that surgery was not possible in Guyana neither in the Caribbean.”
According to Dr. Singh, the decision to conduct the procedure was premised on the fact, that even one life is important enough to be saved.
Dr. Singh told the gathering of media operatives at the press conference that before venturing at the East Street facility, Ghany was placed on many heart medications at another institution which essentially caused his condition to become complicated.
“We were determined to try our best to save his life,” said Dr. Singh. Moreover, the course of management was to stop the medication he was subjected to, treat his infection until he was stable and then perform the pericardiectomy.
Having learnt that his condition could have all along been addressed here, Ghany reportedly became aggrieved that all efforts were not made to save him ahead of venturing to the Dr. Balwant Singh Hospital.
“Actually, he was particularly resentful of being told these things when it was available… because he wasn’t given proper guidance and was told to prepare to spend all of his money, and that he had to be medivac to the United States whereas he could have very easily be sent here,” said Dr. Singh.
Reports are that Ghany was kept for about one month at the other facility. “He could not have afforded to go to the United States; that’s for sure,” Dr. Singh related yesterday.
The fact that the patient was not referred to the private hospital is of concern to Dr. Singh. “You will be surprised that there are very few people here who will actually say to patients, ‘I can’t help you, I’ll send you to somebody else’…That doesn’t happen a lot in Guyana and it all boils down to medical ethics,” said Dr. Singh.
She has suggested that the Guyana Medical Council gives close attention to this prevailing state of affairs. “If you know that you can’t help this patient and you know that there is another local facility that can and don’t tell the patient about it, I am sure that has a lot to do with ethics,” asserted Dr. Singh.
Ghany, according to Dr. Singh, arrived at the hospital in a very incapacitated state and therefore had to be stabilised before he was operated on. The surgery was performed June 3, 2016. He remained in hospital for a total of nine days after the surgery.
Surgery as well as his follow-up care was managed by the hospital’s cardiac team including: Dr. Jose Machin Rodrigues, the Cardiac Surgeon; Dr. Javier Gomes, the Interventional Cardiologist and Dr. Grabriel Avalos, the Cardiac Assistant.
Ghany is currently recovering well and only has high praises for the private hospital.
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