No takers for free heart surgeries

More than six months after Indian cardiologist Dr. Devi Shetty offered free heart surgeries to five Cayman Islands patients, no takers have come forward to avail of the offer. 

In December, the Cayman Heart Fund and Dr. Shetty’s local partners in his planned medical tourism project for Grand Cayman, Harry Chandi and Gene Thompson, announced the surgeon was donating five heart operations to patients in the Cayman Islands, who would travel to India for the operations. 

The prospect of travelling to India appears to be the sticking point for those who might otherwise opt to take up Dr. Shetty’s offer, said Sue Rajah of Cayman Heart Fund. 

The offer includes the surgery, as well as airfare, food, travel expenses and accommodation for each patient and a family member. 

“We have three people who we’ve come across but none of them wanted to go to India,” Ms Rajah said.  

She stressed that anyone going to India for surgery would be met at the airport and accompanied throughout the trip to ensure everything runs smoothly. “It’s not like they’re going to go to a foreign country and there’s no one there for them and they have to find their own way around,” Ms Rajah said. 

“There may be some doctors out there who know someone who needs an operation,” she said, adding the offer of the free surgeries was available to both children and adults. 

“The offer is only valid until December,” she said. 

Last year, Dr. Shetty successfully operated on a 4-year-old girl from Cayman who travelled to India with her mother to undergo surgery for a hole in her heart. 

However, a relative of another young patient who requires cardiac surgery, said the distance involved in travelling to India and concerns about how post-operative care would be done once the patient returned to Cayman were among the reasons the family had not applied for Dr. Shetty’s free operation. 

The Indian surgeon offered the five operations through his Have A Heart programme. 

Devi Shetty

Dr. Shetty