Cancer referral specialist visits Cayman

Maria Freed, managing partner of
Oncology Referral Network of America, is visiting Cayman this week to inform
doctors and medical professionals of cancer treatment centres in the United

Ms Freed, a hospital administrator
by training, has directed the international departments for HealthSouth
Corporation and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“I have visited Grand Cayman on numerous
occasions, meeting with local physicians and patients who have received care in
Miami, as well as officials at both hospitals. I know that cancer prevention
and care is important to Caymanians,” said Ms Freed.

She said she set up Oncology
Referral Network of America “to fill a need for oncology and surgical patients
who cannot get the service they need in their own local communities and who
need guidance as to what appropriate care is available in South Florida”.

The network guides international
patients who are seeking neurology, oncology and orthopaedic care to
independent physicians in South Florida. It does not offer medical advice but
acts as a liaison to connect adult patients with clinical providers offering
quality, experience and value.

According to ORNOA’s website, it
has 58 doctors in its network.

Ms Freed said doctors in Cayman
will be familiar with many of the oncologists to which she can refer patients,
as medical professionals here have been sending patients to South Florida for
many years.

“South Florida is a top destination
for oncology care, as we have highly skilled and experienced medical specialists
who treat cancer,” said Ms Freed.

“Many of these oncologists and
surgeons do not work at the big comprehensive cancer centres, but throughout
the community at independent centres and private practice,” she said.

All physicians in the Oncology
Referral Network of America are credentialed to participate in the network and
must meet selected criteria in order to accommodate the needs of international

She said members of the network are
expected to provide second opinions of cases through the review of images and
medical records at no cost; provide patients with quick medical appointments so
they do not have to wait weeks or months; and offer discounts to self-paying
patients or self-funded employers.

They are also expected to work
closely with referring local physicians to coordinate care  and to help establish treatment protocols, for
chemotherapy or post-surgical care, for example, for patients, so they can
continue to receive care in their own community.

“My goal this week is to visit
general practitioners and surgeons in Grand Cayman and explain ORNOA’s goals
and let them know what is available for their patients.

“There are services that they may
not be aware exist in South Florida,” said Ms Freed. She added: “One remarkable
centre is the South Florida Bone Marrow Stem Cell Institute, which provides
treatments for patients with leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood borne
cancers. This independent institute is under the care of Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj,
a haematology-oncologist and former professor at the University of Miami.”

Ms Freed said high quality cancer
treatment centres were available in South Florida and it was not necessary for
most patients to fly to Texas, Baltimore or New York City for treatment.

Part of her work is investigative,
helping patients and referring physicians track down scans and examination
reports and results and collating those and other documents to present to the
doctor to whom a patient is referred.

“By the time the patient gets to
the US, he or she should only have to worry about getting better,” she said.

As well as meeting doctors during
her visit to Cayman, from Wednesday to Friday this week, she will also meet
with the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.

For more information on the
Oncology Referral Network of America, visit its website at


Maria Freed
Photo: Submitted