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— CEO says facility could close in six monthsFrom all indications,Wholesale Jerseys China, health officials both at the level of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and the Ministry of Health have assumed a tight-lipped stance regarding the Caribbean Heart Institute (CHI).This is in spite of reports reaching this publication that the continued operation of the facility could be in jeopardy if ongoing work on a new Cardiac Catherisation Laboratory (Cath Lab) to accommodate new equipment is not completed shortly.This publication first reported on the state of affairs at the end of last year highlighting that the new lab is one that is required to accommodate equipment to sustain the optimal operation of CHI.The equipment for the CHI lab stored on the ground floor of GPHC.Kaieteur News understands that the equipment currently in place at the facility must shortly be replaced. In fact,China NBA Jerseys, Chief Executive Officer of CHI, Dr Gary Stephens, explicitly intimated that “any day now our machine can suffer a catastrophic failure and even if it doesn’t I don’t see us surviving the next six months.”Attempts to solicit comments from the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Leslie Cadogan, were futile as efforts to reach him were met with claims that “he is not in the office”, “he is on leave” or “he is in a meeting”. This continued for at least two weeks before attempts were eventually made to contact Health Minister, Dr Bheri Ramsaran.When contacted by telephone Minister Ramsaran queried whether the information needed was a “big emergency” and went on to request that any question on ‘one’ subject matter be texted to him as he was in a meeting.  This request was adhered to and was followed a few days later with a reminder text as well as a few calls, all of which went unanswered. Almost one week later there has been no answer forthcoming from the Health Minister.GPHC’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Khan, when contacted for a comment on the stalled works would only say that the hospital did its part in providing the necessary space for the lab and a backup generator.“We have done our part,” insisted Khan without saying much else.While the Cath Lab is being constructed within the GPHC, a senior health functionary explained to this publication that construction of the lab is a project that falls directly under the purview of the Ministry of Health. The functionary was however not willing to divulge the reason for the delay in the project, although the official was cognisant of the importance of the facility.CHI just last year celebrated eight years of existence and its track record suggests that it is able to conduct some 200 angiograms on an annual basis while figures indicate that for 2013 alone about 50 open-heart operations were conducted,Cheap Adidas Hockey Jerseys, an evident increase from previous years.In fact the facility’s open-heart success rate stands at an all-time high of 98 per cent, similar to reputable overseas-based cardiac facilities. And because the facility operates on a public/private partnership the intricate services offered are at a subsidized cost to patients.It is for this reason that Dr Stephens has intimated that it would be unfortunate if the facility flops at this point.  Dr Stephens, a Guyanese by birth, who is a reputable Cardiac Surgeon at the Maimonides Medical Centre in Brooklyn, New York, is also the CHI’s founder.Kaieteur News was told that because of the prevailing situation, CHI was forced to expend in excess of G$60M to ensure that its current equipment remain in working order.  In fact, according to Dr Stephens, without urgent progression of the project, the future of CHI will remain uncertain and “it’s a shame after all the hard work and goodwill that kept it afloat. I hope we will survive, but the service we offer will be restricted.”Works on the lab commenced approximately 14 months ago but, according to reports reaching this publication, it should have been completed within a two-month period.This publication understands that it was around 2011 that the management of CHI had consulted with Government about acquiring a new Cardiac Cath Lab,Wholesale NBA Jerseys, in light of the fact that its equipment was nearing the end of its lifespan.Reports are that there were expectations that moves would have been made to put in place a lab that can do both cardiology intervention and cardiac surgery in a single room known as a Hybrid Room.With a Hybrid Room in place CHI, and by extension Guyana, would be the first in the Caribbean to offer such advanced technology.In the quest to move in this direction, a proposal to put the needful measures in place was prepared by the management of CHI and forwarded to Government, which in turn adopted it and took it to Parliament for approval. The proposal was able to secure support from both sides of the House allowing for monies to be approved for the procurement of the requisite measures to revamp the facility.Reports are that there were negotiations with American-based General Electric (GE), which afforded Government a competitive price to cater to setting up of the Hybrid Room.Based on an agreement, GE was expected to deliver the equipment directly into the finished lab. At the start of construction there were sustained discussions between the Government side and that of the management of CHI.  However, according to a source close to the project,Wholesale Jerseys China, by the time the last critical 25 per cent of the works was left, the management of CHI was “shut out” of the discussions.Because of the stalled project, GE was forced to deliver the equipment for the lab to the hospital. This resulted in some damage to the equipment to the tune of US$1M. A source close to the project informed this publication that GE has refused to take responsibility for the damage since the agreement has been breached. Government will therefore be required to cover that cost using taxpayers’ money, this publication understands.The costly equipment delivered by GE was left sitting on the ground floor of the hospital a short distance from the hospital’s pharmacy (East Street entrance) covered with a tarpaulin.According to GE,Wholesale Hockey Jerseys China, this is improper storage, and there is no guarantee that the equipment will function optimally when installed. Of even more concern is whether GE will be willing to honour its warranty for the equipment, one official highlighted recently.But based on the reaction of some health officials the possibility of CHI’s operations grinding to a halt is certainly not a “big emergency.”
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