Boost for cardiac, cancer care

The arrival of two new specialists at Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital will boost its cardiac and cancer treatment capabilities, underscoring the hospital’s commitment to providing top-notch medical services in the Cayman Islands

Komal Lawrence and oncologist Dr. Theodore Turnquest

Bill Brown, CTMH Administrator, left, welcomes cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Michal, internist Dr. Komal Lawrence and oncologist Dr. Theodore Turnquest to the Chrissie Tomlinson team. Photo: Basia Pioro

Last week it was announced that as part of a partnership with Sagicor, Theodore Turnquest, an oncologist and internal medicine specialist, will join cardiologist Jeffrey Michal, who specializes in non-invasive imaging and cardiovascular research, as the newest additions to the Chrissie Tomlinson team.

‘This is one of our first endeavours to bring on specialists to improve the level of care we can offer the Cayman Islands,’ said CTMH chief administrator Bill Brown.

The hospital has already taken on a full-time urologist and most recently internist Dr. Komal Lawrence.

Dr. Turnquest is Board Certified in Oncology and Internal Medicine in the United States, and has already spent several months at CTH, splitting his time between Grand Cayman and his native Bahamas.

‘Our goal was to bring oncology at CTMH up to the level of US-based secondary care, and I’m confident we can provide 95 per cent of available oncology treatments here in Cayman,’ he said.

‘That means many more patients will be able to stay at home with their families instead of undergoing costly hospital treatment overseas.’

Dr. Turnquest says that not only will patients greatly benefit from increased home care, but from enhanced diagnostic capabilities his clinic’s participation can bring.

Cardiac patients will also be benefiting from the initiative. A former Assistant Consulting Professor of Medicine at Duke University, Dr. Michal is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a fellow of the Sarnoff Edowment for Cardiovascular Research.

He, along with Dr. Paolo Vengegoni and Dr. Manish Chauhan will be the first of three members of a US-based cardiac group who will be rotating their services to CTMH. Dr. Michal’s group, Austin-based Global Heart USA, is a 40-member team of cardiac specialists offering a range of services from general cardiology and diagnostics, electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, and cardiovascular-thoracic surgery.

‘Our focus will be on providing non-invasive imaging here in Cayman, like the echocardiogram,’ said Dr. Michal.

‘And through our association with Global Heart, we can make on-island access to highly qualified specialists a reality, while those requiring overseas care will have the benefits of our state-of the art Austin clinic.’

He hopes the new cardiac diagnostic services, like echocardiography, which uses sound waves to diagnose symptoms, will greatly reduce the need for patients to go overseas for testing.

‘Many cases that are presumed to be cardiac problems are something far less serious, and this means fewer people will have to make a costly trip overseas only to discover it’s actually just a severe case of gas, for example,’ said Dr. Michal.

The non-invasive testing will also eliminate the need for an on-Island cath lab – which requires more expensive and specialized support, as well the services of a cardiac surgeon.

The arrival of the new doctors will have another great benefit for Cayman. Dr. Turnquist said he is already working with Dr. Sook Yin of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society to develop Cayman’s first cancer registry.

‘This is a major step as it will provide us with a lot of extremely useful information and help us move cancer treatment in Cayman forward in the required directions,’ he said.