Health minister has heart scare

Cayman Islands Health Minister Anthony Eden can consider himself a lucky man following a scare over a heart condition that could have turned into a major medical problem if it had not been spotted and repaired in time.

‘I am a blessed man,’ Mr. Eden said.

He spent Thursday evening, 9 April and most of Good Friday in Miami’s Baptist Hospital after having surgery for a blocked artery.

‘I was in that evening, back out the next evening and I feel wonderful,’ Mr. Eden told the Caymanian Compass.

Mr. Eden said he started noticing some chest pains in late March on and off that lasted for about two weeks before he went to the George Town Hospital to get it checked out.

‘I didn’t pay it any mind at first,’ he said.

According to the minister, doctors had placed him on an aspirin regimen, often used to thin the blood to prevent clots and to reduce the risk of death from heart attacks. However, he had not been taking the medication of late.

Mr. Eden credited two doctors at George Town hospital who supervised an echocardiogram procedure which turned up some abnormal heart rhythms that doctors weren’t comfortable with.

They advised sending the health minister to Miami for treatment.

Mr. Eden said if not for the two doctors and the machine that had been donated by the Cayman Heart Fund, he may not have survived.

Once in Miami, doctors found that one of the two main arteries into the heart was 99 per cent blocked. The operating physician was able to successfully install a stent, a wire mesh tube used to prop an artery, via a specialised procedure.

‘They went in through the wrist…went to the artery, put a stent in and I’m fine.’

Mr. Eden said he’s learned a valuable lesson from the situation.

‘I understand the importance of aspirin and if you can tolerate it, I recommend it,’ he said. ‘But take advice from a doctor because aspirin can have side effects.’

After he spoke with the Compass about the heart scare on Thursday 16 April, Mr. Eden addressed a Bodden Town political rally about it later that same evening.

‘With the help of God and the George Town Hospital, which has come under so much fire, the doctors were able to pick up the problem,’ he said, noting to his political opponents and doubters that he remains very much in the race for the 20 May elections.

‘Tell them ‘try and catch me,” Mr. Eden told the crowd at the campaign rally.