By Kamal Haynes, BVI News Staff
Medical Services (MS) BVI is just a few weeks away from fully opening its doors to treat cardiac patients in the territory.
Executive Director and majority owner John Nash told BVI News full operations of the cardiac facility, which is located on the fifth floor of the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital, is expected to start in October.
“We’re waiting on the hospital to get a chiller (A/C unit). They have it but they have to put it on the roof. So it will basically be 99 percent complete. They were supposed to have the chiller in this week because the crane to put it on top is on the way. But, with the storm coming it might be two weeks,” Nash stated.
MS BVI signed a 10-year contract with the BVI Health Service Authority back in 2017 to be the preferential provider for cardiology services in the British Virgin Islands. Due to hurricanes Irma and Maria, plans to open were pushed back to June 1, 2019, and the facility has since assessed an estimated 80 patients.
MS BVI offers a number of services, which according to Cardiologist Dr Prachak Siriprakorn, can be separated into three different phases. Phase one includes patient consultations, echocardiogram, choreatic ultrasounds, stress tests and 24-hour heart monitoring, which is all part of the non-evasive phase.
“The echocardiogram is a spirogram of the heart. You look at the heart functions, you look at the valves and a lot of times you need to know the basic functions of the heart so that it guides us about the medication that we give to patients,” said Dr Siriprakorn who has more than three decades of experience in treating acute heart-attack patients.
If the patient requires additional testing, then they undergo phase two. This involves either a nuclear cardiac imaging camera for the nuclear stress test, which gives more detail about the blockage of the arteries that affect the heart or a chemical test is conducted.
The last phase involves doing an invasive test which is for persons whose condition may be more serious.
“Almost all of our doctors are interventional, which means that we can clean up the arteries … So we’ll have the kind of catheterization laboratory with qualified cardiovascular techs because they need to know what they’re doing to help us and most of the doctors here are more certified to do this,” added Dr Siriprakorn, who goes by Dr Siri for short.
More time spent on patients
Executive Director Nash, also noted that unlike most physicians who spend only 10 to 15 minutes with their patients, Dr Siriprakorn spends a minimum 45 minutes per patient, as part of their service to ensure a patient is properly diagnosed and treated.
Nash stated: “Dr Siri is spending between 45 minutes to an hour with almost every patient because we have no data file, we have no information on what drugs they’re taking, we have no clinical information on them so we have to recreate all of that data and that takes time.”
Plans to expand services
Nash further said there are plans to further expand the services being offered by MS BVI in the future.
“We’re also a speciality service, so the four partners have a background in imaging, orthopaedics, cardiology, radiation oncology. We’re not just looking at this as a cardiology practise, we’re starting out with cardiology but we’re going to blossom into other areas,” he said.
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