Baptist Health South Florida has been an ongoing provider of medical services to residents in the Cayman Islands for many years. Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull speaks with Allen Brenteson, the hospital’s corporate vice president, to hear about some of the latest services on offer for Cayman residents as well as his thoughts on how the relationship can be strengthened in the future. First in a two part series.
Cayman’s relationship with Baptist Health stretches back many years when the hospital first supplied medical care to Cayman residents via a direct contract with the Cayman Islands government. Later the care was channeled through third party administrators and Baptist continued serving Cayman patients in this manner.
Patients from Cayman have used Baptist Health South Florida, which is the largest faith-based, non-profit healthcare organisation in the region, for a vast array of services, as Allen Brenteson explains: “Cayman patients have come to see us for almost every condition you could name. We are a centre of excellence for cardiology, neuroscience, cancer, orthopedics, sports medicine as well as an important centre for women who anticipate that they might have complications when giving birth.”
Baptist Health South Florida is comprised of a number of hospitals within the region, each concentrating on their own specialties, including Baptist Hospital of Miami, Baptist Children’s Hospital, South Miami Hospital, Homestead Hospital, Mariners Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute, the Baptist Outpatient Services and the Baptist West Kendall Hospital which is under construction. Baptist has entered into a relationship with the College of Medicine at Florida International University and consequently will become a teaching facility in 2011.
Cutting edge technology
New technology and newly developed areas of care may not be so well-known to Cayman residents, but they are providing a tremendous service to patients.
Brenteson describes one such innovation: “Our Gamma Knife can destroy tumors in the brain and neck without operating. Tumors are zapped by 360 degree radio waves without damaging healthy tissue. In fact, they can be treated at 10 am and well enough to eat their lunch!”
He explains that tumors are irregular in shape and therefore need a 360 view to be treated.
“Although the Gamma Knife has been around for a while, new software has improved its accuracy and so only the damaged tissue is removed,” he adds.
In keeping up with the latest technology in surgery, Baptist Health has introduced the Da Vinci Robot in the operating room. This advanced technology gives surgeon’s unmatched precision, agility, and a better view through three-dimensional, magnifying images 10 times that which can be seen with a human eye.
Brenteson says Baptist has acquired three Da Vinci Robots and is at the cutting edge of this important breakthrough for complex surgical procedures.
“Our team of specially trained board certified surgeons are performing robotic surgeries in various areas including cardiac surgery, bariatric surgery, colorectal surgery, lung cancer, thoracic surgery, prostate surgery, hysterectomies and gynecological surgeries,” he explains.
Da Vinci Robots are also being used by Baptist to assist rehabilitation on stroke, multiple sclerosis and cerebral paralysis victims. Brenteson says that the Da Vinci Robot can do many procedures better than the human hand can do and some that the human had cannot do at all.
“This is a very important breakthrough and advancement in surgery,” he confirms.
Another not so widely known service with which Baptist Health is having great success is its addiction treatments held at the South Miami Hospital.
“We cater to patients from all over the world here,” he confirms. “People arrive with addictions to drugs, nicotine, alcohol, etc and spend their initial time in detox. They then move to a living facility where they live together in small housing compounds and are monitored as they learn to live their lives without their addiction.”
Patients can spend anything from one or two weeks to a longer period of time beating their addiction in this way.
“We have had an 80 per cent success rate.” Brenteson confirms.
“We take a holistic approach to the addiction. During the treatment we make it clear that it is not just the addict’s problem but the whole family’s, especially where it is the parents that are supplying the cash to the child to further his or her addiction. In particular, we ensure that the family is involved in the psychological sessions.”