Dr. Timothy Roush, vascular surgeon with Carolinas HealthCare System’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, with echo tech Ashline Francis and Mount St. John’s Medical Centre’s acting CEO and deputy director of nursing.

Medical Outreach Program Changing Lives

Carolinas HealthCare System’s International Medical Outreach (IMO) program continues its long history of delivering medical assistance globally with its latest contributions in Antigua, Belize and Guatemala.

Many IMO projects have centered on cardiac care based on the strong relationship with Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute. Timothy Roush, MD, a vascular surgeon with Sanger, recently traveled to the small island of Antigua in the Caribbean to help establish that country’s first peripheral vascular ultrasound laboratory. The lab, installed at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre, now provides complete vascular diagnostic services.

The lab is managed by a Mount St. John’s nurse trained by personnel from Sanger whose vascular surgeons review the patient scans once they are sent to iCloud storage.

“The lab will better position medical teams in Antigua to diagnose and treat an increasing number of patients with vascular disease,” said Dr. Roush said. “Vascular issues often go unnoticed until they cause a serious medical emergency. By helping patients understand their risk and undergo early screenings, we can save more lives.”

Future IMO efforts will focus on reducing the number of prediabetics and lowering A1c levels among patients in the country.

IMO donated equipment and expertise is also helping women in Belize have a better chance at surviving breast cancer and giving babies in Guatemala a better chance of surviving to childhood.

The breast cancer diagnostic unit opened at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) in Belize City and a neonatal intensive care unit opened at the regional hospital of Cobán, Guatemala.

Michael C. Tarwater, chief executive officer for Carolinas HealthCare System (right) is shown in the new NICU in Coban with Theresa Johnson, director of IMO and John Robicsek, representing Dr. Francis Robicek.

Carolinas HealthCare System CEO Michael C. Tarwater accompanied IMO representatives at the openings in both countries.

The breast cancer diagnostic unit is the first to be installed in a public hospital in Belize, increasing access for thousands of women to low cost mammograms. The donation of infant beds, warmers and monitors in Cobán may help decrease infant deaths in the NICU.

“It is a privilege for Carolinas HealthCare System to be part of these efforts and to help provide much needed medical resources to these countries,” said Tarwater. “The establishment of new services at these hospitals reflects their spirit of progress and dedication to the wellbeing of their communities. We look forward to continuing our involvement with medical assistance projects in Central America that make possible the delivery of quality and affordable healthcare throughout the continent.”

Since the 1960s, the IMO program, a partnership between Carolinas HealthCare System and the Heineman Foundation of Charlotte, has donated medical equipment and supplies to hospitals and clinics in more than 30 countries; and has helped create free educational opportunities for medical personnel from around the world.

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