Expanding on educational opportunities in Guyana, GHTK in 2013 made efforts to improve Paediatric Oncology Services at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). Dr. Narendra Singh, GHTK’s President met with Paediatric Oncologist Dr. Lorna Fitzpatrick, who is attached to the University of Buffalo and Women’s & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, to discuss ways to meet the needs of the Department. Through this collaboration, Dr. Fitzpatrick agreed to conduct a site visit to GPHC in February 2013 to assess the needs of the institution. At the end of the visit, Dr. Fitzpatrick met with key stakeholders to provide feedback and her recommendations.
Since that time Dr. Fitzpatrick has trained two Paediatricians to conduct bone marrows. Prior to her involvement there had only been one doctor who could conduct bone marrow procedures, and these could only be done every two weeks because he was based outside of Georgetown.
Dr. Fitzpatrick’s involvement also significantly reduced the time for cancer diagnoses to be made for patients. She and her team, comprised of a Pharmacist, Paediatric Nurse Practitioners and Paediatric Neuro Surgeon, travelled to Guyana later that year to assist in the further development and provisionof paediatric services at the GPHC.
As a result of these initiatives, the following has been achieved:
- GHPC could finally send home children who were admitted to the ward. Previously admission would have been detrimental to any child who was diagnosed with cancer a GPHC.
- Bone Marrows were done more efficiently, and samples were coordinated through GPHC’s main lab at GPHC which enabled them to be shipped to Dr. Fitzpatrick. Dr. Fitzpatrick voluntarily reviewed them and reported her findings back to the Paediatricians.
- Dr. Fitzpatrick also provided treatment roadmaps and assisted Paediatricians to make recommendations to the Pharmacy, which best served and met patient needs.
In addition, Dr. Fitzpatrick’s initiatives provided valuable assistance in aiding the clinical rotation of Dr. Sherelyn Stanton from the Women’s & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. Dr. Stanton was a Senior Resident who has since graduated from the Paediatric Residency Program delivered through GHTK in collaboration with the University of Guyana and the Georgetown Public Hospital Institute of Health Science Education. Dr. Stanton, along with Dr. Mala Shewram (another graduate of the program) took ownership of the Paediatric Oncology ward at GPHC, and both also serve as active advocates for the Program.
GHTK also raised awareness of the Program at GPHC by highlighting the needs of patients coming from remote parts of the country. As a result, the Jay Mohabir Foundation responded by committing to an annual donation to GHTK that was aimed at reaching out to these specific patients. To-date GHTK has assisted several families with costs for accommodation, travel, payments for MRIs and CT scan and for medications whenever there is a shortage.
We are very fortunate that Dr. Fitzpatrick has remained committed to working with the doctors at GHPC and has been readily available for any consultations on patients seen by the Paediatricians. She is regarded as a hero at GPHC.