The Health Services Authority has made a commitment to improved heart care, and a new doctor on the scene is making it his mission to see that it happens.
Dr. Kevin Coy, an international specialist in cardiac catheterization, pacemaker implantation and other heart and coronary artery diseases who has a private practice in Biscayne, Florida, will be operating bi-weekly clinics at the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town.
A graduate of the University Florida Medical School, Dr. Coy worked for many years in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere in the Caribbean. In Nassau, Bahamas he performed the nation’s first cardiac catherization.
He also developed highly successful cardiac angioplasty programs at the University Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, as well as in Barbados and Curacao.
The decision to partner with the HSA was an easy one, he says.
‘I had a clinic in the Cayman Islands for seven years that was unfortunately destroyed in Ivan,’ he says.
‘I really enjoyed my time in Cayman but was unable to practice after that, which was a shame. When I heard about the HSA’s need for a new cardiologist, I approached them and we were able to work out this great arrangement.’
He was especially motivated by the knowledge that the HSA had a lot of idling top-notch equipment not being used when there were a lot of people in need of on-Island cardiac care.
He says the partnership will be more or less based on the model the HSA has with its orthopaedic services.
Dr. Coy supports the Minister’s statement made in the Legislative Assembly on March 23 that no patient under the care of the George Town Hospital is in danger because there is no on-Island cath lab.
‘I don’t really think the concern that Cayman doesn’t have a cath lab is merited considering there are only 2000 in the whole United Sates, and of those, only 1000 have cardiovascular facilities. A 50,000 person population just does not have the numbers to support one,’ he says.
Responding to the criticism that his appointments are booked up far in advance, with the two April timeslots already filled, Dr. Coy urges patience.
‘There is of course on one hand a considerable backlog of patients since the departure of the HSA’s previous cardiologist. Furthermore, it will take some time for the staff to get fully accustomed to the facility and using the Cerner computer system,’ he said.
But he sees clearer skies ahead, and soon.
‘What we’d ideally like to do is establish a triage system to ascertain who needs urgent care, and those people will always be at the top of the list of who gets seen,’ he says.
‘And because there are fourteen doctors in my private practice group, I envision a situation where if we need more than one cardiologist to be here at one particular time, we have the capacity to meet that need,’ he said.
If Dr. Coy gets his way, cardiac care both on-Island, and off-Island, for that matter, will be back on its feet in no time.
He thinks his unique Caribbean experience will come in handy when it comes to talking to patients and assessing their needs.
‘Having worked in the Caribbean for so many years, I also have a good understanding of the best way to spend valuable health dollars, what works and what doesn’t – it’s different everywhere you go in the world,’ he says.
Dr. Coy is also confident the arrangement will benefit critical patients who don’t have the five or six hours a conventional transfer to Miami might take.
‘Because our clinic is right there in Miami, for patients needing transfer, the whole thing can be done in a matter of hours, and for us to come down it’s the same thing,’ he said.
‘We envision this becoming a truly seamless system that will benefit Cayman in the long run.’