We should embrace cardiologist

I write with regards our Health Services or more specifically our lack thereof in relation to cardiology.

We have an aging population of uninsured people and given that per the Centre for Disease Control and the American Heart Institute, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, I would have thought we would wish to place more emphasis on having a cardiology unit here in Cayman.

Too often we wait for the horse to bolt before we lock the gates. How many more people do we have to airlift out of here, racking up ridiculous charges?

Thankfully, to date, in most cases, the necessary care has been received before it’s too late. Should we continue pumping funds into the American Health Care system or should we start putting funds back into our own health care system – goodness knows we could do with it.

Below are further statistics I believe we should be cognizant of in order to make an informed decision as to the benefits of having our own cardiology unit here on Island – the facts speak for themselves and it leaves one dumbfounded as to why at this late stage of the game we are still without the proper infrastructure to take care of the hearts of our people.

• In 2005, 652,091 people died of heart disease in the United States of America. This was 27.1 per cent of all US deaths. The age adjusted death rate was 222 per 100,000 population.

• Heart disease is the leading cause of death for blacks, Hispanics and whites.

• Worldwide, coronary heart disease killed more than 7.6 million people in 2005.

We happen to have a locally licensed cardiologist here in Cayman. A gentleman who has been practicing cardiology for 30 years and who is in my opinion (and the opinion of many others I’ve spoken with on this matter) a very welcome addition to our community. He has offered his services here on Island and yet to date, there is still no sign of a cardiology unit in our future. Why have we not jumped on this offer?

Rather than standing in car parks preaching to the converted, I would prefer to see my future political leaders identifying issues such as these. In their defence, I would say that almost all of them have made education of our people a priority in their campaign promises. Is this not an opportunity we should seize – to have a world class cardiologist who can not only treat the residents of these Islands but whose experience and expertise might even perhaps be of benefit to a future Caymanian cardiologist?

Should we not welcome people such as these to our Islands and perhaps provide them not only security of tenure but accept an offer graciously given that can only ever serve to benefit the hearts of our families and friends?

Tara Hopwood