ENT specialist at local clinic

The ear, nose and throat doctor visits Cayman every month from Germany

During a business trip in February 2007, Cayman resident Tony Cowell suddenly began to suffer severe dizziness and vertigo upon descending into Frankfurt airport.

Shortly after landing, he headed straight for a specialist in this field of medicine, Dr. Ulrich Ecke, who advised that surgery would eventually be needed, the symptoms having been caused by a burst membrane in Tony’s inner ear, due to scuba diving.

Tony was so impressed by Dr. Ecke’s treatment that he eventually flew the doctor to Cayman to perform the surgery.

Dr. Sook Yin, medical director of Seven Mile Medical Clinic, had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ecke and explore the possibility of arranging for him to come to the clinic as a visiting specialist on a monthly basis.

She said it is exciting to have Dr. Ecke on board and that his expertise in the field of vertigo and innovative treatment of sinus problems will augment ear, nose and throat services provided on island.

Residents will have the opportunity to consult with Dr. Ecke and receive treatment in Cayman instead of going abroad.

Technology helps

Dr. Ecke, who has visited Cayman on a couple of occasions, said the collaboration is working extremely well, and with the use of technology, including Skype and email, he is able to keep in constant touch with Dr. Yin and her team when he is not physically on island to ensure patients have good follow-up care.

He said he has seen a number of patients with chronic tonsillitis and chronic infections of the middle ear, some of whom may have been suffering for a couple of years.

Other conditions he has seen include rhinosinusitis (congested nose), snoring and bad sleeping due to an enlarged soft palate, sleep apnea (a potentially life-threatening disease) and deviated septum, causing patients to have breathing difficulties.

Children who have specific ear, nose or throat conditions are particularly welcome patients of Dr. Ecke, who is also a qualified allergy physician.

“I begin with an interview about the patient’s lifestyle, talking about their environment, the possible sources that could give them allergies, and so on,” he said.

He said he has already isolated some interesting allergy sources in Cayman, including one patient who was allergic to the blossoming mango trees.

Interactive visits

Dr. Ecke who has practised as an ear-nose-throat specialist in Frankfurt for the past 10 years, brings with him the latest technology for diagnosing and treating various conditions, including hearing and ultrasound tests for patients via a central testing unit.

For ear, nose and throat conditions, the doctor inserts a probe (this does not hurt, he assures) that can diagnose many conditions and can also take photographs to assist the doctor.

“I aim to make a patient’s visit interactive by showing them the photographs and explaining in detail their condition. I believe that this encourages better compliance by patients if they can understand their condition and thereby follow suit with the diagnosis and subsequent medication or surgery,” he said.

Dr. Yin said: “Dr. Ecke’s approach is well-aligned with our own philosophy here at the practice, where educating the patient and using a multi-disciplinary team approach is key to addressing medical problems, meaning that the patient is very much part of the treatment process.

“He fits in very well and we are honoured to have him here and look forward to have him joining our other team members in the volunteer community work we all participate in.”

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