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Hargreaves Improves Services With Advanced CT Scan Machine

Hargreaves Improves Services With Advanced CT Scan Machine

The new 64-slice CT scanner at the Hargreaves Memorial Hospital after installation. Here, Janelle Henry (second from right), CT scan technician, explains the functions to (from left) marketing manager, Sandrea Dennis; financial director, Chetwynd Chuck; and senior medical officer Dr Azzard Comrie.-Photo by Tamara Bailey

Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer

Mandeville, Manchester:Recognising the need for technologically advanced methods of diagnostics, and an increase in the quality of health care given, the management of the Hargreaves Memorial Hospital has secured a 64-slice CT scanner, a step-up from the commonly used eight- and 16-slice scanner.

The machine, said to be the third of its kind in the island, along with a newly retrofitted CT scan room has seen an investment of more than $50 million dollars, and is expected to significantly boost patient care in the central region.

“The process of securing this scanner really began when one of our very own shareholders became ill and had a near-death experience. She had to travel overseas because the resources were not present here (in Jamaica) and upon her return thought one of these machines must be made available at the hospital, limiting the chance of having others go through what she had gone through,” stated financial director, Chetwynd Chuck.

Detailed Scanning

With the ability to make more accurate diagnosis with better image quality, the new scanner, outfitted with the latest software, according to senior medical officer, Dr Azzard Comrie, also exposes the patient to less radiation and reduces the possibility for more than one scan.

“As the number of the slices get higher, actually what the machine does is (it) gives you far more detail in scanning, if you were to get, for example, one of the brand new ones like the 258-slice, it could pick up the bacteria on your hair … so the 64-slice is much more detailed than the16, and not only that, but it gives out less radiation.”

He continued, “This machine is able to do virtual colonoscopy. You have a few people who are scared of having tubes inserted into their colon, and so now we have this method. It can do cardiac imaging – straight imaging which looks at the vessels of the heart and gives what we call ‘calcium scoring’, which tells how wide the vessels are and gives an idea of the actual circulation to the heart muscles. Then, there are the more detailed images from CT angiograms … which will allow us to put in stents where people’s coronary arteries are closed to a certain level. This machine can do that.”

In addition to having acquired this machine, the revamped facility, with a new management team since 2006, is seeking to change the face of medicine with innovative ways of providing health care, with special emphasis on cardiac and neurosurgery (brain and spinal surgery).

“Hargreaves is not just a hospital; it’s a medical complex which seeks to provide holistic health for the public … . Our hope is to recruit more doctors with different specialities into the region and eventually into the Caribbean. Contrary to what persons may think, though it is a private facility, we are very much for the public as our costs reflect such. This facility is not for the affluent but for all,” ended Chuck.

Just recently installed, the machine is now fully available to those who require its services.

Making Medical History at Hargreaves Memorial

Medical history has again been made in Jamaica with a local team, led by Dr Roger Hunter, carrying out a complex spinal surgery – SEXTANT Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion; the first such procedure to be done in the island.

The surgery was done on December 23, 2014 at the Mandeville-based Hargreaves Memorial Hospital, which has been forging ahead into new horizons with advanced cutting-edge technological medical procedures.

Utilising the minimally invasive or keyhole-surgery technique, Hunter and his team proposed a controlled spinal surgery under nerve monitoring for 92-year-old retired senior registered nurse Myrtle Gordon.

Gordon was suffering from lumbar instability, with severe nerve compression, and underwent surgery which lasted 14 hours.

Nine years earlier, Gordon underwent a traditional open surgery – laminectomy – here in Jamaica, but after one year, was left with excruciating, debilitating pain and scores of tablets which offered only momentary, fractional relief.

Another open surgery was deemed too dangerous at her age, and there was no option for correction as no one was available locally who was trained in Percutaneous Keyhole Lumbar Fusion.

Minimally invasive keyhole spinal surgery describes surgical procedures that are performed on the spine with minimal disturbance or injury to soft tissues around the spine.

The incisions are around one sixth the size of those of the traditional open-back surgery, and it allows the patient to recover more quickly, experience less pain and blood loss and a faster return to normalised living without the need for a back brace.

According to Hunter, Gordon was standing and walking approximately three hours after surgery, without any more leg pain, having tea, and was able to go home three days after the operation.

Though a less-invasive surgery, the complexities required greater detail, technical applications and expertise, hence the long duration of the operation.

“Her age proved a far greater challenge, as she had multiple degenerate joints (shoulders, neck, left knee), which made positioning much lengthier – taking three times as long,” explained Hunter. “Her badly twisted spine made screw placement and Sextant rod passage much more challenging,” he added.

The new procedure has corrected Gordon’s ailment and has set her back on her feet in quicker time. “Her hospital stay has been more than cut in half, with no need for a blood transfusion or the usual copious cocktails of heavy doses of potent painkillers. Typically, patients can return to non-physical work seven days after surgery, well within the average time for typical fully paid sick leave and, overall, a much faster return to better productivity,” said Hunter.

Hunter is a consultant neurosurgeon and spinal surgeon at Hargreaves Memorial Hospital. He graduated from medical school in 1996 with a MBBS Honours Degree, gaining both the Allenbury Prize in Medicine and the Glaxo Clinical Award for the top performance in the clinical examinations.

In 2006, Hunter was awarded the Braakman Award for the top performance in the European Final Board Examination of Neurosurgery in Luxembourg and has passed three final regional and international examinations in neurosurgery.

He completed a complex spinal fellowship at the world renowned Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery, working with Crispin Wigfield, and immediately after, did post-fellowship work with Professor Steve Gill – both of whom helped to invent the artificial cervical disc (Prestige-Medtronic), which has been successfully introduced in Jamaica .

Hargreaves has advanced the development of its medical services, as well as its surgical offerings, while partnering with major medical technology advocates, both locally and internationally.

As a result, Medtronic (the world’s largest medical technology company, which supplied the SEXTANT) were in the island to support this historic case for Jamaica.

Also present were representatives of the Medical Technology Jamaica Company to witness and help with the SEXTANT kit, being used for the first time in the island, during Gordon’s procedure.

Making Medical History at Hargreaves Memorial
Calvin and Sylvia Lyn hailed for saving Hargreaves Memorial

Calvin and Sylvia Lyn hailed for saving Hargreaves Memorial

BY GARFIELD MYERS Editor-at-Large South Central Bureau

Sunday, October 30, 2016

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Like many others at the time, Calvin Lyn and his wife Sylvia were saddened by news in 2006 that the then 81-year-old Hargreaves Memorial Hospital was in deep financial trouble.

Sadness turned to horror when the Lyns heard of one proposal for the hospital to be demolished and replaced by a shopping centre.

According to Lyn, reports such as that one spurred the decision by he and his wife to acquire Hargreaves Memorial, which had for decades been the only privately owned hospital in south central Jamaica.

Many considered the move an overly bold, even reckless step. However, for the Lyns, it was a matter of the heart.

“Call it sentiment if you like, but apart from the hospital’s value to the community we couldn’t forget that was where our grandchildren went when they had asthma attacks,” said Lyn, who is a former member of Parliament for the People’s National Party (PNP) in Manchester North Eastern. “We had to be driving them (grandchildren) from Coleyville, sometimes at one/three o’clock in the morning to get them to Mandeville for treatment,” he recalled.

By August 1, 2006, the Lyns, better known as leading funeral home operators, had formally acquired Hargreaves which is now registered as Hargreaves Memorial Hospital (2006) Ltd, for approximately $200 million.

In the 10 years since then, Lyn estimates that he and his family have spent close to $1 billion on expanding and upgrading the property to the extent that today Hargreaves Memorial is complemented by a modern medical complex.

At a recent awards ceremony to mark 10 years of Hargreaves Memorial since its acquisition by the Lyns, Director of Operations Maxine Walker outlined some of the advances over the period. Those include the two-storey medical complex accommodating doctors, consultants, an X-ray and ultrasound unit “fully upgraded to digital systems”; an expanded laboratory unit with state-of-the-art equipment; a consultancy wing specialsing in advanced services such as neurosurgery, cardiology, rheumatology; and a new accommodation wing dubbed the Calvin and Sylvia Lyn Vision of Hope with 10 upscale rooms.

Among other developments, a new operating theatre is under construction and is set to be completed next year. Also, the medical complex and pharmacy are to be expanded.

Walker said that Hargreaves Memorial has a staff complement of 80 with over 55 doctors registered to practise.

Three doctors and eight staff members were specially recognised for their service at the awards ceremony. Unsurprisingly though, it was the Lyns who received the lion’s share of tributes.

Finance Minister Audley Shaw, who is member of Parliament for Manchester North East, as well as former Cabinet minister and Manchester Central Member of Parliament Peter Bunting were united in praise of the Lyns’ entrepreneurial spirit.

Noting that the investment in Hargreaves had been “a challenge, a risk”, Shaw, who lost to Calvin Lyn in Manchester North Eastern in 1989, described the Lyns as “entrepreneurs, real, genuine entrepreneurs”. The finance minister recalled that they were “from humble beginnings”. He told his audience of several decades ago “when Calvin used to have his truck with goods driving around Jamaica, buying and selling … they worked together and they have come together to have not just the funeral home service as a point of excellence but have ventured into the (hospital) project which, by any standard, was a high-risk undertaking…”.

Bunting, who was recently critical of business leadership in Manchester, hailed the example set by the Lyns. “What we are celebrating here today, after 10 years, is just a demonstration of our capacity as Jamaicans to take risks, to put our money where our mouth is,” said Bunting.

He described the health sector as an important element alongside business process outsourcing, and education, in the drive to diversify the economy of Manchester following the decline of the bauxite/alumina industry in 2009.

The Lyns were “supportive” of that wider vision for Manchester, said Bunting.

Wayne Chen, leading businessman and chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) who was representing Health Minister Christopher Tufton had special memories of Hargreaves troubles in 2006.

Chen recalled that when the financial crisis hit Hargreaves, he was among those who “never thought (it) would survive”. He told of how he guided a team of highly successful health-care investors from India on a visit to the hospitals, hoping they would buy the failing facility. But having looked, the Indians decided the level of investment that would be required was unfeasible, said Chen.

It was against that background that he later learned that the Lyns were taking the plunge.

“What we see here, 10 years later, is a tribute to their acumen, hard work and vision,” said Chen. “They have not just taken it (Hargreaves Memorial) and just survived. They have improved it in a way that I did not think possible a decade ago,” he added.

He hailed “the range of services, the quality of the facilities…” which now make it possible for “many of the elective surgeries right here in Mandeville without going to Kingston or abroad”.

High praise for the Lyns also came from acclaimed consultant neurosurgeon Dr Roger Hunter who has partnered with Hargreaves in sophisticated procedures including spinal surgery and neurosurgery. “With the great managerial and leaderships skills the Lyns have brought, we can see this hospital going from strength to strength,” Hunter said.

And for Stuart Barnes of NCB Mandeville — who handed over a cheque worth just over $900,000 to help equip the soon-to-come operating theatre — “Mandeville and central Jamaica are truly blessed to have a hospital of this quality”.

A Couple With Vision: Hargreaves Memorial Celebrates 10 Years Of Excellence

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

Before Calvin and Sylvia Lyn took ownership of the Hargreaves Memorial Hospital, the establishment was in a debilitating state and many thought those who sought to invest in it would be making a big mistake.

But through their vision and passion for nation building, the Lyns have exceeded the expectations of many by restructuring the hospital into a modern-day health-care facility with services second to none.

At a function to commemorate the hospital’s 10th anniversary recently, the Mayor of Mandeville, Brenda Ramsay, hailed the management team for making great local health-care services possible.

“There is no doubt that because of their keen business acumen we are experiencing delivery of quality health care in keeping with the demands of the populace. There are many challenges, but you have demonstrated that we can receive good health care locally and it is not necessary to seek it either in Kingston or overseas,” she said

With more than 80 members of staff, 55 specialists, a new consultancy wing used by specialists in neurosurgery, cardiology, and rheumatology, a new wing (Vision of Hope), a two-storey medical complex with 18 suites, X-ray units, and the only facility in Jamaica with a 64-slice CT machine, among other services, Hargreaves Memorial is redefining how health services are being offered in Jamaica.


As the new operating theatre for the hospital undergoes construction, Consultant Neurosurgeon Dr Roger Hunter is hoping that the trend of no deaths during a surgical procedure at the hospital will continue.

“We were able to do the first keyhole spinal fixation (surgery) in Jamaica right here at Hargreaves on a 94-year-old woman. We have done over 60 operations and partnerships. Through general surgery and neurosurgery, we have done nearly 150, and we have not had a single death or a single paralysed patient, and we are going to continue to build on these partnerships,” Hunter said.

In commending the entrepreneurial propensities of the Lyns, Member of Parliament for North East Manchester Audley Shaw noted the importance of the private sector in the development of a country.

“The truth is, to build a sustainable-health care system, it can’t be all about Government, and one of the things that characterises the health-care system in modern countries is that a big part of the health-care system is run by the public sector and run in an efficient way,” Shaw said.

Chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority Wayne Chen, who deputised for Minister of Health

Dr Christopher Tufton as guest speaker, commended the Lyns but noted that the public sector had to improve on health care by better leveraging the current resources.

Three doctors and eight members of staff who served the facility for more than 30 years were awarded for their unwavering service.

A Couple With Vision: Hargreaves Memorial Celebrates 10 Years Of Excellence


On Friday March 15, 2019, the first pacemaker surgery at Hargreaves Memorial Hospital (2006) Ltd. was performed by Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr. Sunil Stephenson and his team along with equipment rental provided by METRAS Ltd.; in one of the hospitals State of the Art Operating Theatre.

Patient Grey was diagnosed with complete heart block, which according to the Boston Scientific Pacemaker Therapy is a condition in which the electric signals of your hearts natural pacemaker (SA node) are delayed or do not reach the ventricle.

The first pacemaker surgery was recorded in 1958 and to date pacemakers are present in millions of patients worldwide. A pacemaker is a small device that is used to keep your heart beating properly. This helps your body to get the blood and oxygen it needs.

Dr. Sunil Stephenson, explained that given Grey’s diagnosis, a dual chamber pacemaker was the most suitable. He explained that this device will look and see how the heart is beating and will provide small electrical impulses to the heart to stimulate it beating at the normal heart rate whenever the heart rate is slow.

Shortly before surgery Grey explained that he was feeling anxious and excited especially given that he was celebrating his birthday. The procedure lasted for approximately 2 hours and Grey was discharged the following day.

Grey will be assessed at six month intervals. During these visits, the device will be checked and the estimated battery life will be determined by a special programmer that is able to analyze the device. Any problems with the device or any abnormal heart rhythms can also be picked up at these visits. In time, the energy in the pacemaker battery will decrease to a point where the device will need to be replaced and the patient will need to undergo surgery again.

While no special medications are required, infections from pacemaker insertion is typically low. However, Grey was given antibiotics prior to starting the procedure. Dr. Stephenson explained that some medical procedures will require the pacemaker to be placed in a special programming mode to enhance safety. These are usually procedures where devices are used that can cause electromagnetic interference. Also the device will require special programming before Grey can undergo an MRI scan.

It is safe for patients to use regular household electrical appliances with their pacemaker and it is advised that cellular phones are held in the hand opposite the side where the pacemaker has been inserted. Additionally, there are no severe limitations after pacemaker insertion. The patient is only advised to limit raising the left arm above the head for the first few weeks.

Twenty four hours later, Grey stated that he was looking forward to recovering in the comfort of his home for the next two to three weeks. He expressed sincere gratitude to his friends, family and especially the Management and Staff of Hargreaves Memorial Hospital (2006) Ltd. who supported him throughout his time of need.

New Frontiers Created at Hargreaves

New Frontiers Created at Hargreaves

New frontiers were created at the Hargreaves Memorial Hospital in Mandeville, Manchester on Friday May 18, 2018 when Consultant neurosurgeon, spinal surgeon and pain specialist Dr. Roger Hunter and his team performed the first Keyhole Fluoroscopic Microsurgical Cervical Arthroplasty Surgery at the facility and in Central Jamaica.

Cervical Arthroplasty is a modern surgical procedure that involves removing a damaged or degenerated cervical disc and replacing it with an artificial disc device.

In giving an overview of the procedure, Dr. Hunter explained that, “ the prestige implant which we are using was developed in Bristol and one of the co- developers has Jamaican connection, in fact, his mom comes from May Pen. So we are pretty excited to deliver this procedure here in Central Jamaica.”

He further went on to state that, “the first Cervical Arthroplasty was done in Jamaica approximately 5 years ago but we have finally managed to deliver the procedure outside of Kingston in Central Jamaica. I am very excited for what it means for the people of Central Jamaica; Manchester, St Elizabeth, Clarendon even the lower parts of St. Ann and Trelawney.”

The procedure was done on 38 year old Guyon Richards who bumped into a wall and severely jolted his neck which after a few days developed into crippling pain in his right arm, upper shoulder and neck. Richards at first thought he was suffering from a crick in the neck, which is sometimes used to describe a stiffness in the muscles that surrounds the lower neck and shoulder blades.

However, Dr. Hunter explained that the evaluation through an MRI showed a large herniated disk and in light of his paralysis of his arm the decision was made to do a cervical Arthroplasty, which would mean an artificial disk replacement giving Mr. Richards a new disk in his neck, replacing the badly damaged disk and decompressing the spinal cord on his nerves.

Dr. Hunter explained that “The alternative to arthroplasty is a fusion of the neck which is not natural for the neck”. He further highlighted that having an arthroplasty is really restoring the natural movement of the neck and is the latest and the most advanced technology to be used in treatment of patients with neck conditions and is significantly better than having to do a fusion. Patients who have fusions after 2 – 3 years or less can sometimes complain of axial neck pain especially if they work at an office or around a computer for hours which can be distracting.

 “To do the first Arthoplasty in Central Jamaica, I think is a further expansion of state of the art services here at Hargreaves. I am happy to say Hargreaves is leading in that regard, we hope that other patients will make use of the opportunity to stay closer to where they live and work and do business and if necessary do the procedure here. The patient can look forward to being free of pain and returning to work within 2 – 3 weeks.” Dr. Hunter said.

He revealed that Medical Technologies through Medtronic is the leading provider that delivers state of the art cervical arthroplasties and rather than going through added expense of travelling to the states, patients can stay right here in Jamaica and get the latest cutting edge technology, which is a keyhole artificial disc replacement for the neck.

 “I can say finally after 5 years we have been able to deliver this in Central Jamaica and we are happy for the people of Central Jamaica and what it means for them”, Dr. Hunter added.

Medical Representative Floyd Murihead a representative of Medical Technologies was also present to witness and help with the surgical implant used during the procedure. “Since I have done the surgery I am feeling good, I have no pain in my arm, just a minor headache, I am now able to think clearly and I am very thankful,” said Mr. Richards who was discharged, pain free, less than 48 hours after surgery. He also implored others to take nothing for granted and to seek help early when faced with similar injuries.