|Scans benefit patients, save money|
|Thursday, 15 July 2010 09:47|
The Cheshire Hall Medical Centre on Providenciales is saving thousands of dollars by carrying out children’s heart scans in-house.
Until recently, youngsters and their parents were forced to travel to the United States for the specialist treatment, but thanks to new high-tech equipment and the skills of pediatrician Dr. Helen Leonard, scans can now be done on Providenciales.
“Previously any child requiring a heart scan would have had to go off-island to America,” Leonard said. “Obviously there were huge costs involved, what with consultant fees and travel expenses.”
“We estimate that each scan would have cost in the region of $3,000, and being able to now carry out the procedure here represents huge savings for (the National Health Insurance Plan),” she said.
Leonard says what is equally important is the convenience involved both for the child, family members and medical staff. “Travelling abroad can be very stressful and we have been able to remove that extra, unnecessary, pressure at what is an already worrying time.
“For us as doctors, it means that diagnoses can be gained instantly, and therefore any further treatment can be administered quickly and effectively,” she said.
Leonard has already scanned a number of local children using the new equipment provided by Interhealth Canada. “Several children have undergone heart scans here at Cheshire Hall, and there are already a large number of others booked in for the procedure.
“The feedback from parents has been very positive and this is an excellent example of what we are trying to achieve at the new TCI hospitals.”
“Carrying out these sort of tests on island is essential,” she said. “It is a massive progression in terms of health care for the TCI.”
One of those to benefit from the new service is Shenilca Arthur, whose three-year-old daughter, Jazmine Whyley, has undergone a series of major operations off island after being born with just two functioning heart chambers instead of four.
These procedures were carried out in Miami and London, but six monthly check ups can now be done on island, instead of having to travel overseas.
“Jazmine has been through so much in her young life, and so it’s great that she is now able to take a break from all that travelling she has had to do,” Shenilca said.
“It is stressful for her and all her family, and it is also very expensive and inconvenient for all involved.
“Having the equipment at the new hospital here in Provo, along with highly experienced staff such as Dr. Leonard, is making a hugely positive difference to Jazmine’s and many other people’s lives.”
“Jazmine is making a great recovery and this will only help her further,” she said.
Interhealth Canada TCI CEO Roger Cheesman praised the work of Leonard and her colleagues.
“We are very lucky to have Dr. Leonard here in the TCI,” he said. “She is a highly-qualified expert in her field, and the work she is doing is amazing.
“To be able to offer heart scans for children here in the islands is a wonderful service, and it will ultimately lead to early diagnosis and lives being saved.
“It is what this new health care programme is all about, and I congratulate Dr. Leonard on what is pioneering work in terms of the TCI.”
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