Linden Hospital Complex to establish respiratory illness clinic

─ this follows recommendations from Bridges Global Medical Mission

─ doctors being selected for training

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 17, 2019

On Tuesday and Wednesday, a team from the Bridges Global Medical Mission visited the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) and conducted a two-day clinic, which scores of patients benefited from diagnoses and treatment. The team related that the numbers doubled compared to last year.

[In the photo from right to left] One of Professor Sharon Armstrong’s students illustrating how a spirometry testing is performed to diagnose a patient who is affected by respiratory illness.

Heading the team was Professor Sharon Armstead, who is a respiratory therapist and a professor at the Texas State University. She told the media that there is urgent need for the clinic to be established in Linden. Giving the overwhelming number of patients who were seeking answers, she believes the bauxite mining in the town is the main reason that Lindeners are more prone to respiratory diseases.

“I believe Linden needs its own clinic, we can speak to the volume of patients that responded today…. Having that clinic here is priceless, we must have our own, we must do this for Linden… I really want to see the hospital open up the clinic, if we can’t have it every day, at least once a month,” she said.

Armstead, who visited with 15 of her students, noted that she is also asthmatic and when she visits Linden, she has to go on special medication to be able to breathe. Following these recommendations, Public Relations Officer of LHC Toshanna Allicock said, “We have taken the recommendations seriously and we are currently identifying doctors to be trained so that the spirometry department can operate with full capacity in the shortest possible time.”

The Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) is currently identifying doctors that will be trained in spirometry testing, after which they will be seconded to manage the asthma/Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) clinic, which is expected to commence in the shortest possible time. The spirometry department at the hospital will play an integral role in the clinic since the aim is to correctly diagnose patients suffering from respiratory illnesses.

While the spirometry department was established since 2016, the doctor who was trained to perform diagnoses, subsequently left and only a nurse is currently operating the department. She, however, cannot diagnose any disease and is basically handling only minor cases.

The clinic will not only correctly diagnose the diseases but will provide treatment and patients will also benefit from education and sensitization on how self-management can be done.

Armstead related that many patients are diagnosed with asthma and COPD and are treated for these diseases, but never underwent spirometry testing and only through that testing, can one be accurately diagnosed. Once diagnosed, the patients can then be correctly treated, which will prevent them from making several return trips to the emergency room.

Over the years, several Lindeners have made indications of suffering from respiratory illnesses. This motivated Bosai’s Mineral Group Guyana (BMGG), to install dust collectors on two of the four kilns (chimneys where dust particles are emitted into the atmosphere).

Story and Image: Vanessa Braithwaite.

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