Inaugural ceremonies for a new state of the art Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Unite were held this morning at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. Cardiac Catheterization, which is also called coronary angiogram is a test to check the health of the heart and coronary arteries in terms of blood flow, blood pressure and to check for defects in the way the wall of the heart moves.  The mobile “cath-Lab” was donated by the Cardiovascular Diagnostic Unit at the Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute in the United States.  It was installed by the Bowen family in memory of Sir Barry Bowen.  Chief Executive Officer at the KHMH is Dr. Francis Longsworth.

Dr. Francis Longsworth - Chief Executive Officer, KHMH
“It is amazing to contemplate that a mere eight months ago, we had no idea that this beautiful state of the art Mobile Cardio Cat Lab  would be sitting on this compound today. Was it serendipity, which is loosely defined as a fortunate happenstance? Or was it destiny. In May of 2010 the High-man Foundation by way of the Carolina Medical Center Group, and with the assistance of the Bowen family, contacted us at the KHMH with an offer of a substantial donation of Hospital Equipment and supplies. On that basis Dr. Soloesono a friend of the Bowen family and that late Sir Barry Bowen who had previously met Dr Robiscek and myself journeyed to Charlotte North Carolina to assess the preferred donation. We were warmly received and met many genuinely philanthropic people, some of whom are here with us today.”   

According to the director of Medical Services at the KHMH, Dr. Bernard Bulwer, the new “Cath-Lab” is a major step forward not only for Belize’s tertiary medical institution but for patient care on a whole in the country.

Dr. Bernard Bulwer – Director, KHMH Medical Services
“Never before have I been more hopeful, because fourteen months ago when I joined this Institution, I believed that when we got together, when we adopted this place by our partners, at home and abroad, I believe this is a major step forward for this Institution. This Lab that you see here is called a Cat Lab, but it is not an experiment. It is a proven Technology that will serve as a magnet for things that have never been done before in the History of Medicine in this Country. The donors the High - Man Foundation, the partners at Carolina Medical Center, they said we are not just going to give you a piece of equipment. We will have to train you, we will have to sustain you. Lo and behold a got an e-mail from a man by the name of Stephen Palacio who lives right next to the Hospital, twenty five years as a Cardio Cat Lab Technician, doing all the cool stuff, a Belizean, and then out of the woodwork, you have Dr. Habet. He is in Bronxville Texas. He is a Cardio Cat Lab, a Belizean, and then you have here, he is not here right now, Dr. Urban Weir, a man who looks at the brain and the arteries to the brain and circulation and does procedures, and then you have Dr. Francis Marshalleck, a Belizean, assistant Professor in Indiana, and then you have our partners who are next door in Guatemala and then the head of Cardio Catheterization Laboratory at Harvard Medical School, contacted me, Bernard tell me, when can you come down. We had a conversation. And then we have partners in Trinidad and then we have partners in India. This thing can happen when we make it happen, because our partners in this Institution, our partners in the Ministry of Health, our partners in the Diplomatic Community, I'm going to speak to the British Ambassador and say, I'm not going to allow you to stand on the sidelines, send us a guy down here to come and visit and have a vacation and also work. So I know things happen when people make it happen.”
Also speaking at the official ceremonies this morning was the lead professor at the Cardiovascular Diagnostic Unit at Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute, Professor Francis Robiscek.

Professor Francis Robiscek
“This Project is built on friendship. The Carolina's Medical Center, Carolina's Heart Foundation, The Hieneman Foundation are Organizations of people and what we are doing to give the help to our Esteemed Colleagues in Belize on the same level. Our Organization works in Central America and primarily due to the vision of Fernando Paiz, my very good friend who is sitting here. This is number four Cat Lab, and we expect with the help of the Bissel family to install three more. And there are other projects in San Pedro Sula, Guatemala City. The Foundation started the Guatemala Heart Institute UNICARF forty years ago. They are doing now, five to six hundred patients a year, and listening to Dr. Bulwers words I'm sure Belize is going to match it.”      
According to a release from the KHMH, the lab will also provide dialysis support services such as treatment of malfunctioning or thrombosed dialysis access, among other things.