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Oct 12, 2011

U.S. Doctors Medical Mission at the KHMH

A team of medical specialists from the United States have been working around the clock at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. They are offering specialized treatment, including surgeries for conditions that hundreds of Belizeans are afflicted with. And for the first time, cardiac catheterizations are being offered. News Five’s Delahnie Bain was at the K.H.M.H. today and has this report.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Three medical missions are in town and residents from all over the country have been flocking to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital over the past week for podiatric, pediatric, and cardiac care. Anthony Castillo, the president of the Belize Diabetes Association coordinated with their New York based counterparts to offer the services of two podiatrists.

Anthony Castillo, President, Belize Diabetes Association

Anthony Castillo

“While there is an absence of statistics to say how many amputations are being done, we think there are much too many amputations being done, which at times we think are unnecessary because of the lack of information, lack of education and how you care for yourself living with diabetes. So the group from out of New York looked at bringing in two podiatrists and we’ve been working at it since early this year. Yesterday was day one; they came in and worked right here at Karl Heusner. They saw over twenty-five persons yesterday with basic foot problems. Today they are in Orange Walk and tomorrow they work in Dangriga.”

While the foot specialists tour the country, Dr. David Lanning and his team from the World Pediatric Hospital, are spending their days in the operating theatre.

David Lanning

Dr. David Lanning, Chief Pediatric Surgeon, World Pediatric Project

“We have had a busy week. We’ve seen forty-five patients in the clinic or so and plan to do eighteen surgeries. More specifically we will operate on all the way from babies to eighteen years of age and not only some straight forward problems such as hernias but also more complex things such as babies born with congenital malformations that require specialized training to know how to repair. We, last year, did several of these operations and we have allowed them to heal and most of them came back this year to have their colostomies taken down or to have their bowel reconnected and have normal GI function and not have to rely on a colostomy to survive. Some of the other operations—we’ve had a child born with the intestines on the outside. We’ve assisted in the care of that child and another child with a urology problem; we’ve been working with Dr. Eck and his team.”

John Cedarholm

The KHMH is especially excited about the first round of cardiac catheterizations that were done in the recently donated lab. Dr. John Cedarholm is among the cardiologists, who collaborated to bring the state of the art lab to Belize.

Dr. John Cedarholm, Cardiologist, Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute

“It’s a very sophisticated x-ray equipment where we can go up and work through the leg up into the heart where we can detect cardiac problems in a very, very sophisticated manner and then go on and provide treatment based upon what we find either in the cath lab actually fixing people that have problems in the cath lab or sometimes making the diagnosis where we would recommend that they have certain other surgical care based upon this.  The goal is not for us just to come back and forth and do this locally with American expertise, the goal is actually to bring this to Belize and train people in Belize to be able to use this so that it will be self sustaining and they will be able to take over and completely run this thing as we have done in other countries in Latin America and Central America.”

Bernard Bulwer

Dr. Bernard Bulwer, Director of Medical Services, KHMH

“This lab is not just gonna be for adults with heart disease, it is going to be used to diagnose and treat children with congenital heart disease for children who have like a hole in the heart. Those can be closed in this lab. Dr. Adrian Coye brought in a team that we didn’t mention but for the first time in this country’s history there was a device, some epicardial leads for a child who had congenital heart block, meaning that the heart was pumping very slow and Dr. Coye did a landmark procedure in the KHMH for the first time in this entire country.”

Dr. Cedarholm and his team completed twelve procedures before leaving Belize today. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

Clinics in podiatry and pediatrics will continue for the rest of the week.

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