Guyana Help The Kids
Paediatric Oncology Program
In 2013 effort were made to improve Paediatric Oncology Services at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation through Guyana Help The Kids (GHTK). GHTK’s President, Dr Narendra Singh, met with Paediatric Oncologist Dr Lorna Fitzpatrick, who is attached to the University of Buffalo and Women and 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 the institution in February ,2013 to assess the needs of the institution. At the end of this visit she met with key stakeholders to provide feedback and her recommendations.
Dr. Fitzpatrick has since then trained two Pediatricians to conduct bone marrows. Prior to her involvement there had been only one doctor who could conduct bone marrow procedures. These were also done only every two weeks since he was based out 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 Practitioner and Paediatric Neuro Surgeon , traveled to Guyana later that year to assist in the further development and provision of pediatric services at the GPHC.
As a result of all these initiatives the following was achieved:
- GPHC 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 at GPHC.
- Bone Marrows were done more efficiently and samples were coordinated through the GPHC’s main lab at GPHC to have those shipped to Dr Fitzpatrick where she voluntarily reviewed them and reported her findings back to the Pediatricians.
- Dr Fitzpatrick assisted by providing treatment roadmaps and assisted pediatricians to make recommendations to Pharmacy which best served and met patient needs.
Furthermore, Dr Fitzpatrick’s initiatives provided valuable assistance in aiding the clinical rotation of Dr Sherelyn Stanton from the Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. Dr Stanton was a senior resident who has since graduated from the Paediatric Residency Programme 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 programme) took ownership of the Paediatric Oncology ward at GPHC. They also served 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 to reach out to these specific patients. To date GHTK has assisted several families with cost for accommodation, travel, payments for MRIs and CT scans and for medications whenever there is a shortage.
Dr Fitzpatrick has remained committed to working with the doctors at GPHC and been readily available for any consult on a case seen by the Paediatricians. She is regarded as a hero at GPHC.