Improved surgical care at Bustamante Hospital for Children
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Patients accessing surgeries at the Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC) are receiving state-of-the-art care, following the institution’s acquisition of a C-Arm and Laparoscopy machines, funded by the CHASE Fund.
Along with the improved surgical care for its clients, the hospital will be seeing major savings per patient.
“If we average four patients per month with appendicitis, and this is not including the other procedures, we will be saving at least $240,000 per month or $2.88 million a year,” said Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at the institution, Dr Sarah Marshall Niles.
Addressing the recent handover of the equipment, Dr Marshall Niles pointed out that these will allow the hospital to conduct minimally invasive surgeries for the first time, which are operations performed through very small incisions using surgical telescopes, a tube that is connected to a camera and specially designed instruments.
“This is the opposite of open surgery, which we currently do; that’s making large incisions and operating with our hands and seeing with our eyes,” she added.
“The equipment will help us avoid the limitations of open procedures. It may be used on many parts of the body. The light source which illuminates these images, the camera which captures the images to be projected onto a screen or monitor, and the monitor which will be used to display the images,” she noted.
Dr Marshall Niles said there are several advantages to the patients that the new equipment will offer.
“The procedures will be less painful, and the incisions are smaller, so there is the cosmetic advantage. Because of the size, there will be decreased complications, so no incisional hernias, and infections are less likely to happen,” she added.
Other advantages to patients are reduced pain, so there will be less need to buy pain killers; shorter hospital stay, so the patient will be able to go home the next day; faster return to routine activities, like school and sporting activities; faster return to work for family members, and there will also be decreased complications, which means the patient is less likely to return for readmission.
“The less nights of admission and the less use of pain medication and IV fluids means that the hospital saves money,” Dr Marshall Niles said.
The hospital is also equipped to offer surgical training to paediatric professionals in the region, the only such medical institution in the English-speaking Caribbean to offer the training.
Located on Arthur Wint Drive in St Andrew, the BHC is the only children’s hospital in the English-speaking Caribbean. It was a former British Military Hospital but was transformed into a children’s hospital after the British left in 1962, following Jamaica’s Independence. It was named after the then Prime Minister, Sir Alexander Bustamante.
Services available include anaesthesiology, cardiology, neurology, child mental health, cardiothoracic surgery, dermatology, paediatric surgery, paediatric urology, orthopaedics, physiotherapy, ear, nose and throat, dental, pulmonology, radiology, ophthalmology, haematology and oncology. The hospital also has a burn unit.
The hospital has a bed capacity of 279, including a five-bed intensive care unit that provides critical-care services to critically ill patients. The Accident and Emergency Department operates on a 24-hour basis and sees approximately 50,000 patients per year. In addition, specialist clinics are held five days per week in the outpatient department.