Baptist Health International has announced that a brand new PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computerized tomography) facility, especially useful for people who have been diagnosed with cancer, will be available right here in the Cayman Islands. The new piece of equipment which will soon be operational at the Smith Road Centre in George Town is likely to be used by at least half of the 900 or so people who currently have to travel to the US for their essential regular imaging and diagnostic tests, according to Mario A. Mendez, M.D, Baptist Health International’s Corporate Vice President and Chief Medical Officer. Baptist Health anticipates that the new facility, complete with a back-up of highly-trained expert staff, will not only help local people obtain the specialist help that they need without all the trouble and expense of having to travel to the US, but will also help turn Cayman into a medical destination, so that people from all around the region will be able to come here for their tests.
“We are very excited about the inauguration of the PET and CT Imaging Center and the opportunity to provide the people of the Cayman Islands and throughout the Caribbean with this advanced imaging technology,” said Dr. Mendez. “At Baptist Health, we are committed to delivering an exceptional patient experience through high-quality, compassionate care in conjunction with the latest technology. The future of Baptist Health focusses on quality and innovation. We are dedicated to making investments that improve the experience of our patients, for example the Miami Cancer Institute which opened its doors in 2017 and now offers one of the world’s most comprehensive and advanced radiation and oncology programs including the first proton therapy facility in South Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
The center is expected to help facilitate communication and collaboration between doctors on the island and in the region, along with Baptist Health specialists. When the new facility opens, it will be possible to refer patients from the region to Grand Cayman for their PET and CT imaging needs. Baptist Health officials are also hoping that the opening of the new center will help reinforce the institution’s commitment to cultivating relationships with international physicians, medical institutions and associations, as well as insurance organizations.
Although getting such a sophisticated and expensive piece of machinery (the new machine will cost about 1.6 million dollars) has really been part of a tremendous team effort, it is Managing Director of Baptist Health in the Cayman Islands, Rebekah Brooks, R.N, who began to take the idea and run with it about three years ago. She saw, firsthand, the tremendous difficulty experienced by some of the Cayman patients in repeatedly having to travel to the US: “I decided that it was really needed to support the oncology patients particularly because they have to go overseas for their test. It’s on a regular basis too, so its every three to six months. This causes problems for the oncology patients because they and are not feeling so great. They often have to have a companion or family member to travel with them and the expense alone, as well as the disruption to them was really significant. So we tried, from a Baptist Health International perspective to support the Cayman physicians, and the Cayman Community. It’s an investment to Cayman that we think is really important,” she said.