Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 22nd 2014 Contents A12
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt June 22, 2014
Out of every 100 people in
T&T, 37 die from heart disease
The figures are alarming. How-
ever, interventional cardiologist
and consultant with the North
Central Regional Health Authority
(NCRHA) Dr Colin Nath said the
NCRHA and the Ministry of
Health have been trying to get
patients who suffer with non-
communicable diseases to change
their unhealthy diet and exercise
on a regular basis in order to live
longer, happier and healthier lives.
Though the task has been
daunting, Nath feels if patients
heed the advice, the country s heart
disease rate could be significantly
"We have to put measures in
place to deal with the country s
number one killer disease. We can t
continue with this growing trend,"
Nath was at the Eric Williams
Medical Sciences Complex
(EWMSC) where he spoke about
the work of the team of Sathya Sai
Baba surgeons who had partnered
with local interventional cardiol-
ogists to perform 100 charitable
heart procedures at the hospital
in the last few months.
Director of Health at the
NCRHA Dr Rodney Ramroop paid
tribute to both local and foreign
doctors who performed the pro-
Last year, Ramroop said 68 adult
patients were recipients of coronary
angioplasty performed by doctors,
nurses and vascular technicians
from the Sathya Sai International
Nath, a consultant cardiologist,
along with doctors Tricia Cum-
mings, Camille Greene, Sheldon
Olton and Ronan Ali were part of
the local team.
Patients from EWMSC, San Fer-
nando General Hospital and Port-
of-Spain General Hospital were
selected for the procedure.
Each angioplasty procedure cost
In April, seven US-based Sai
Baba doctors, inclusive of doctors
Sanjay Shah, Vijay Krishnamoorthy
and John Donnelly joined forces
with the local team to perform 42
surgeries on children suffering with
The surgeries were done
between April 2 to 9 at EWMSC.
Ramroop said of the 42 children,
24 with congenital heart disorders
received life saving procedures.
"I can proudly say that all the
procedures were a success and
done free of charge. This has been
one of the hospital s crowning
achievements," Ramroop boasted.
Ramroop said the procedures
have given the patients a new lease
"I must tip my hat to both
teams. You must give credit where
credit is due," Ramroop said.
He also thanked Dalvie Paladee
and Satnarine Paladee of the
Sathya Sai International Medical
Committee for helping to make
the venture possible.
Ramroop said while some doc-
Ramroop said one of the biggest problems they
faced was not having a fully functional cath lab to
perform assessment of total heart function,
including the evaluation of coronary artery disease.
"The problem was that the local engineers were
not trained to service this equipment even though
they were paid to supply and service it. We got an
engineer from North Carolina and within the week,
he found the problem and fixed it."
Ramroop said the NCRHA board recently
approved a service contract for the cath lab, which
has to be signed by the Ministry of Health.
The contract would ensure that the diagnostic
imaging equipment in the cath lab is serviced by a
foreign technician when something goes wrong.
"This would ensure that patients receive round-
the-clock care and attention."
tors in the NCRHA were not giving 100
per cent in service at the institution,
others often went beyond the call of
duty in an attempt to help patients
improve their health and lives.
Ramroop said the international Sai
Baba committee absorbed the cost of
transport, meals and accommodation
for their doctors when they first visited
T&T last year.
"When they came in April, the
NCRHA paid for the doctors expens-
es."Nath said the link between the
NCRHA and the Sai Baba doctors was
made through correspondence last year.
"We notified the Sai Baba committee
of the projects and they sourced the
necessary doctors and nurses for the
Ramroop said while T&T has inter-
ventional cardiologists who can do these
procedures "most of them work in the
private hospitals" because of what they
"Doctors are not paid well enough,"
Ramroop said, admitting that incentives
offered to consultants at private hos-
pitals were far more attractive.
CATH LAB NOT
Plans to make EWMSC a
regional heart care institution
Currently, Ramroop said, the
EWMSC was operating without a
The NCRHA has been
negotiating to bring on board a
paediatric cardiologist from
Ramroop said they have also
retained three cardiac surgeons,
one of whom is a Venezuelan who
can do adult and paediatric
Ramroop said his biggest
stumbling block was depending
on other departments for
He said while Caribbean Heart
Care performs heart surgeries
and procedures on adults and
children at the EWMSC at
subsidised prices for the NCRHA,
they do not want to be totally
dependent on them.
"This is the reason why we
have been increasing the number
of surgeries done at the EWMSC.
We want to make this hospital a
regional heart care institution.
The care that patients get here is
second to none. Also, our success
rate has been excellent," Ramroop
Ramroop said since the
EWMSC turned from private to
public several years ago, more
patients have been flocking the
institution for medical attention.
#1 killer in T&T Dr Colin Nath, right, speaks
with Dr Rodney Ramroop at
Ramroop's office at the Eric
Williams Medical Science
Complex last month.
PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA
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