KHMH Establishes Neurology Department; Receives $100,000 Donation

07 November, 2005 - Belmopan
Belizeans will save thousands of dollars by utilizing the new and
equipped neurology department officially opened this afternoon within
the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH).

The department was officially opened at a short ceremony in which Hon.
Vildo Marin, Minister of Health, also accepted a $100,000 donation from
the Foundation for International Education in Neurological Surgery

The donation consists of an array of costly equipment and utensils used
to perform neurological surgeries.

The donations were made by several U.S. based health care companies
including Codman, Integra Corporation and Maine Medical Center.
According Dr. Thomas Mehalick, a retired neurosurgeon from Portland,
Maine, through FIENS he hopes to improve the health care offered by KHMH
and assist the people of Belize.

Dr. Mehalick has been in Belize for about a month, diligently working on
the establishment of the Neurology Department. He explained that during
his stay he conducted clinical evaluations and worked on the compilation
of a "Neurosurgery Protocol" manual. He was assisted by neurosurgeons,
Dr. Joel Cervantes, who is Belize's first neurosurgeon, and Dr. Giovanni
Lara of Guatemala.

Together, they also performed the first successful neurological
surgeries at KHMH, operating on patients suffering trauma and peripheral

The Neurosurgery Protocol will assist the neurosurgeons with step by
step information on how to treat different and difficult head and spine
injury cases.

Hon. Vildo Marin thanked Dr. Mehalick for the donation and assured him
that the Government is committed to ensuring that the department remains

Minister Marin expressed appreciation for the new department and said
that Belizeans will now be able to conduct needy operations at home,
saving them from heavy costs and burdens of having to travel abroad.
"Belizeans will also be able to do tumor operations here at home," also
pointed out Hon. Marin.

He also noted that the hospital's advance in neurological surgery will
complement other areas such as mental health, dental health and the
proper dispensation of pharmaceuticals, where Government has already
made serious improvements.

Hon. Marin joined Dr. Mehalick in appealing for assistance in obtaining
an operating microscope for the department.

Dr. Mehalick also said that since retiring, Belize is his first place of
volunteer work. In addition to the donation of equipment he also gave
$1,000 towards the operation of the department.