Labour Day project to help children’s hospital reduce surgeries backlog
Consultant in Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, Dr Brian James. (Photo contributed)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Twenty children, aged four to 12, will benefit from free surgical procedures at the Bustamante Hospital for Children on Labour Day.

Under the theme “Re-igniting a Nation for Greatness – Protect our Heritage and Environment”, Consultant in Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the medical facility Dr Brian James, is confident that this Labour Day project will be impactful.

According to Dr James, the initiative is in response to the growing number of backlog surgeries at the hospital.

“We estimate that we have a backlog of about 3,000 patients that need operations that did not happen because of the pandemic. As a result, we have become very strident in our efforts to eliminate this. So, we've developed all kinds of plans in order to achieve this. And this Labour Day project is one of them,” he said.

Dr James noted on average 3,100 operations are conducted per year at the Bustamante Hospital for Children. However, due to COVID-19, this figure was reduced to 1,800 in 2020 and lowered even more to 1,500 surgeries in 2021.

“Since Labour Day is a single day, we want to benefit as many patients as possible. What we did was to try to choose [operations] that would be fairly simple to do and would not take a very long time,” he said.

Health practitioners will focus on orthopaedic and general surgical operations for the day, prioritising the repair of different hernias and removal of metal works implanted during previous surgeries.

“The most important thing that we would like to achieve is a restoration of all [four] of our operating theatres to full function. If we're able to do that, then within about 24 months, we should be able to operate on all 3,000 patients. We want to get back to a situation where we can do more than 3,100 patients per year. And what we need to do, is eliminate the backlog that we have, and this project is a small step in that direction,” Dr James added.

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