CHARLESTOWN, Nevis (NIA) -- A leading urologist in the region, Dr Dwayne Thwaites, says Nevis is poised to become a medical tourism destination, given the treatment available in the area of urology and increasing interest by patients outside the island.
In an invited comment during a recent interview, the urology specialist, who has been conducting sponsored urologic screening free of cost for the island’s men over the past four years, explained that the new Urology Suite at the Alexandra Hospital would provide services comparable to any cosmopolitan country.
“There are some places in the Caribbean and the bigger countries they can’t even compare to what we have been doing. We have been having a lot of patients who would fly in from different areas. One, the prices are affordable for the things that we do here and they come from far and wide from Tortola to Dominica… So if we are having these people coming, we can get a suite going and we can do a little bit of medical tourism and bring more people in for some of the stuff that we have…
“I think, the services that we offer here urologically, it’s just amazing for a small island nation. It’s very important because we are very competitive compared to other places. People are coming here for surgery. They are coming to get it done and that’s because we have the facility and we can do these things,” he said.
Thwaites spoke of the services already being offered at the Alexandra Hospital in the area of urology, along with assistance from other members of his volunteer team of urologists.
“We do laser prostates, we do the green light laser, we do lithotripsy. The other day I had one of the ambassadors from St Kitts who was just about to fly to Barbados to get a lithotripsy done and somebody said ‘no they are doing it right here in Nevis’. He was frightened and I said ‘we have been doing this for four to five years’.
“We have done a lot of what we call female urology pelvic flow reconstruction… We have done a lot of paediatric urology and so we have been doing lots and lots of things that most places in the Caribbean all the way down to Trinidad to Barbados to the bigger countries have not been doing,” he said.
Thwaites noted the successes with patients who had undergone urological procedures and the nurses at the hospital who dealt with the urology clinic were instrumental in the achievement.
“We have been very, very successful with the care. The important thing is that we have good nurses. It is amazing how important it is that your nurses are well trained at the things that you do. The Nevisian nurses are very well trained in urological procedures and how to handle these things because most places you go they can’t handle these things.
“You would do them [surgeries] and people would be calling you to figure out what to do next but here, my nurses have been so accustomed to taking care of the patients with urological problems,” he said.
Notwithstanding, the urologist also spoke to the expanded services that would be offered at the suite and long term plans to add services unrelated to urology.
“We are going to be doing fluoroscopy to look at kidney, to look at the different areas and we are going to look at more cystoscopies looking into the bladder. We are going to expand on the laser surgery. We are going to expand a little bit more on the lithotripsy, we are going to get a little bit more machines, we are going to get a little bit more technical and all of these things can be done in one specific area.
“To even go further, the fact that we are bringing in fluoroscopy we can always extend the courtesy of the suite to other specialties. We can end up having orthopaedics come in because we need fluoroscopy for them to set the bone, make sure it is straight and so they can use the facilities. We can have the general surgeons come in to do the colongeograms or whatever… It also accompanies the hospital itself with having another operating room and another facility to do things,” he said.
Thwaites also noted that treatment which involved the heart was another area that could be accommodated in the suite. “The other thing that we are looking into … is for angiograms for the heart, pace maker placement and these kind of things can be done also within the suite.”
“So it’s going to be not just urology major. It’s set up for urology but we can also accommodate a couple other things which are not present right now on the island. So it makes Alexandra one of the first world places, one of the places you can come and get a lot of stuff done and done efficiently and promptly,” he said.
The urological suite will be ready by March/April 2013. Thwaites said progress on the actual construction was completed and the next move would be installation of various pieces of equipment and machinery.