T&A – A Bradford (UK) consultant on a training trip to the Caribbean has successfully operated on a seven-year-old boy so he can swallow again.
The boy, who had accidentally swollen caustic soda, could only be fed through a tube in his stomach until Dr Sulleman Moreea, a consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist at Bradford Royal Infirmary, stepped in to help.
Using his expertise and endoscopy skills Dr Moreea was able to show staff he was training at a hospital in St Lucia, how inserting a balloon into the boy’s scarred and tightened gullet could open it up again.
“This was just one example of how we can use endoscopy to help improve patients’ lives,” he said.
Dr Moreea and a small team of other volunteers at BRI and a nurse at a hospital in Mauritius had been leading endoscopy workshops at St Lucia’s two hospitals. The mission, in their own free time, was funded by a grant from the British Society of Gastroenterology.
Dr Moreea helped set up the two endoscopy units on the island after a taxi driver on holiday six years ago told him how the hospitals relied on public money, private donations and the support of foreign nurses and doctors.
He decided to give his own support and in 2009 took £50,000 of donated equipment to St Jude’s Hospital, where he spent a week training doctors in gastro-intestinal endoscopy.
He was devastated when all his hard work was destroyed in a fire only ten days later but rather than giving up, Dr Moreea started all over again.
During rebuilding work, he sought more donations of hundreds of thousands of pounds of replacement equipment to re-open it and was even able to open another unit at the island’s other Victoria Hospital.
During his latest trip he checked on the progress of staff he had previously trained, taught them new procedures and trained them how to train others he calls his second-generation.
Dr Moreea also spent four hours with St Lucia’s Minister of Health, Alvina Reynolds putting pressure on her to get government funding so the endoscopy units can become self-sustaining without having to rely on outside money and equipment donations.
He said: “It’s not all luxury holiday resorts and high-life that people think. There’s another side to the island which is under-resourced making serious problems for people who live there.
“I hope the minister will do her best to get money out of the finance department to support the units.”
Dr Moreea, who was accompanied by BRI consultant gastroenterologist Dr Pradeep Mundre, consultant surgeon Jonathan Robinson, endoscopy sister Nemia Domondon and charge nurse Ally Sobratty of the SSRN Hospital, Mauritius, is planning to return to St Lucia to give more training in April and October next year.