After more than 50 years in action, Carolinas HealthCare System’s International Medical Outreach Program continues its work abroad. Over the next week, the Program will be in Belize to support and celebrate the birth of a cardiology program. Follow Carolinas HealthCare System's Deborah Neffa Creech as she writes about the experience.
The teams took Sunday off to rest in preparation for the busy events Monday. Some visited Mayan archaeological sites like Lamanai, while others took short trips to popular island cities like San Pedro on Ambergis Caye.
The entire group gathered for dinner later that day, including Dr. Adrian Coye and Dr. Gary Longsworth, CEO of KHMH. It was a pre-celebratory meal before a much-awaited milestone the next day – the unveiling of the echocardiography (echo) laboratory.
Around the dinner table, we also welcomed Carolinas HealthCare System administrators – Jim Olsen, Ellen Sheppard and Dr. Francis Robicsek – as well as José Raúl Cruz Molina, director of the UNICAR heart institute in Guatemala, and Dr. and Mrs. Robert Stack, donors of the echo machine.
During the meal, Dr. Coye was the subject of praise for his key role in the success of the cardiology program at KHMH. His dedication to improving the level of medical care in his hospital and country has put Belize on track for bigger, better things.
And the British Monarchy agrees – in a few weeks, Dr. Coye will be honored with the Order of the British Empire accolade.
A New Day
The unveiling of the echo lab the next morning began with a press conference, where Dr. Longsworth, Dr. Cruz, Dr. Robicsek and Dr. Coye delivered opening remarks that told the story of the cardiology program. The remarks were followed by a ribbon-cutting, photos and interviews.
(Check out the local media coverage of the opening, on Channel 5 and on 7 News).
IMO has helped open eight echo labs in Central America. So what makes this one so special? The KHMH echo lab marks the establishment of Belize’s first public cardiology program fully equipped to perform diagnostic and interventional services. That is, it completes a “suite” of cardiac services the hospital can now offer to the public.
Our cardiology and surgical teams were unfortunately unable to join us for the opening, as they were prepping patients and setting up to perform a number of catheterizations and one open-heart surgery. All procedures were successful, with several more on the list for Tuesday, and for next month.
Monday was a good day for KHMH and for Carolinas HealthCare System. It’s a unique collaboration—three years strong—that has spread newfound hope across Belize and the region.
Deborah is a member of the communications team for International Medical Outreach, part of Carolinas HealthCare System.