Cayman’s first PET scan service to reduce outbound flow

 

Dr Mario Mendez, vice president and chief medical officer for Baptist Health, said more than 900 Cayman cancer patients travel overseas annually to get such scans. He estimates at least half of those patients will be able to now have the procedure done here.

Dr Mendez, who is based in Florida, said it should be up and running in Baptist Health’s new offices on Smith Road "within the next month or so".

Baptist Health International, an arm of Baptist Health South Florida’s network of hospitals, has maintained an office in Cayman since 2009, mostly providing medical referrals. Rebekah Brooks, managing director for Baptist Health International Cayman Islands, said it was clear to her that the Cayman Islands needed a PET scanner. Ms. Brooks said she saw too many patients having to go abroad for treatment.

Dr Mendez said having the new device is a "game changer" for healthcare in Cayman. "Historically, because of the absence of this technology, patients would have to go off islands and their respective insurance companies would have to pick up the cost," he said.

He also expects the service to attract patients from other Caribbean islands who don’t have access to the technology.

"This will help patients who may not be able to get a visa to get to the U.S., but can come here," he said. "This could very easily become a destination for this kind of technology".

While Baptist Health has a presence elsewhere in the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Aruba, Dr Mendez said the PET/CT scanner is the first such investment the company has made outside the United States. "Such an investment is due to the long-term relationship with Cayman," he said. "We’ve established deep ties to the island".

For a detailed analysis of medical travel to and from the Cayman Islands visit the Cayman Island IMTJ Country Report.

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