Latest update March 31st, 2023 12:59 AM
Jan 15, 2020 News
With two thoracic surgeons within its employ, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation [GPHC] is currently able to cater to the treatment of illnesses or injuries in the oesophagus, lungs, heart and other structures inside the chest.
Dr. Cheetanand Mahadeo and Dr. Zoilo Placeres Leon are the two Thoracic Surgeons who are currently on a mission to develop this field of medicine as a speciality in the country.
This is a tactical move aimed at ensuring that Guyana will not be void of such expertise, as obtained in the past.
While Dr. Mahadeo is a Guyanese trained in Canada to become a Thoracic Surgeon, Dr. Leon is a Cuban national who, four years ago, adopted Guyana as his home. Together they have been combining their expertise to ensure that patients have ready access to thoracic surgery.
On Kaieteur Radio’s [99.1 FM, 99.5FM] Monday Edition of Your Health Matter, Dr. Leon revealed the daunting state of affairs that once was.
“If [patients] couldn’t go overseas to get surgery done, most of them died…or the treatment that they received from the general surgeons in the country was not the optimal treatment for them,” Dr. Leon related.
It was in recognition of this, he added, “For the last four years, what we have been trying to do is introduce this speciality in the country.”
Moreover, the plan is to have the thoracic surgeons periodically work along with the health centres and the regional hospitals. The intent, Dr. Leon said, is “so that they can learn how to refer patients to us. Some doctors don’t know that they could refer the patients and generally the patients don’t know about the service [we offer]…
“Most of the time they have a referral for thoracic surgery, they are scared because they don’t know about it.”
Once patients are able to access treatment in a timely manner, their recovery is imminent. In fact, according to Dr. Leon, there has been quite a laudable success rate when it comes to thoracic surgery at the GPHC.
The success rate, he explained, “depends on the pathologies; for example injuries to the heart. “We presented a paper last year in the Caribbean Conference of Surgeon (conference), and we have a successful survival rate of 75 percent.
“This means that for every four patients we see at the Georgetown Public Hospital with a stab wound to the heart or shot to the heart and they arrive alive, three will survive…”
A thoracic surgeon, either Dr. Mahadeo or Dr. Leon, is always on call at the GPHC.
Speaking to the need for thoracic surgery here in Guyana, Dr. Leon said, “After a few months of running our clinic we realised that a number of patients are coming every month to us…and we are doing five, six, seven complex surgeries per month.
“In total, we are treating 20 to 25 patients per month in Thoracic Surgery.”
In fact, according to Dr. Leon, “We usually have four, five new cases, plus 14 follow-ups every week…Usually we book two, three [elective] surgeries every Thursday.”
Also the two doctors are expected to be prepared for just about any thoracic emergencies from across the country.
According to Dr. Leon, while in the first world 80 percent of thoracic surgery cases are linked to cancer, this has not been the case here in Guyana. The majority of thoracic cases, he quipped, are related to infectious diseases.
A few patients with tumours within their thoracic region are also seen at the GPHC. “In general, we are treating infectious problems of the lungs a lot, some amount of tumours…We perform the classical thoracic surgery and lung resection for lung cancer,” Dr. Leon informed.
Lung resection is a surgical procedure in which a section of a lung or the entire lung is removed in patients with a damaged or diseases lung.
The thoracic surgeons are also able to treat patients with emphysema. Emphysema is a condition in which the air sacs of the lungs are damaged and enlarged, causing breathlessness.
The thoracic team at the GPHC is certainly poised to fully meet the thoracic needs of the nation. “We are opening the range of patients and now…we [are] treating, for example, patients with congenital lung disease…
“We did a surgery on a one month old, that wasn’t done before in Guyana, and [surgeries on] old patients who come in with infectious diseases,” Dr. Leon shared.
Thoracic procedures at the GPHC are done by using new techniques and technologies at the GPHC and at no cost to patients, he added.
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