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Cornwall Regional Hospital Officially Opens Ophthalmic Suite

By: , November 24, 2023
Cornwall Regional Hospital Officially Opens Ophthalmic Suite
Photo: Okoye Henry
Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at Cornwall Regional Hospital, Dr. Charmaine Scarlett (second from right), takes local and international health stakeholders on a tour of the new state-of-the-art Ophthalmic Suite during the official opening on Wednesday (November 22).

The Full Story

Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James officially opened its new state-of-the-art Ophthalmic Suite on Wednesday (November 22), marking a major achievement in enhancing eyecare services across Western Jamaica.

Head of the Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Charmaine Scarlett, noted the transformative impact of the new facility, which is a joint initiative of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and the Eye Health Institute and the University of Michigan in the United States.

She explained that inside the Ophthalmic Suite are the main operating suite and a minor operating suite/recovery room, adding that the facility is equipped with patient and staff bathrooms, storage areas, dedicated cleaning space and more.

Furthermore, all pieces of equipment, including two surgical beds, two operating microscopes, and specialised surgical tools, were donated, thereby ensuring that the suite meets the highest standard of ophthalmic care.

“With this new operating suite, we now are able to [do more surgeries] and accept many more medical missions,” Dr. Scarlett said.

“So far, we have had three missions for the year, and the first mission started at the opening of our suite, which was in June. Up to date, we have done about 130 cataract [surgeries] and about 32 minor procedures,” she indicated.

Dr. Scarlett said the goal is to expand operations to three days per week, which is a significant increase from the current once-per-week schedule outside of medical missions.

Moreover, she emphasised the far-reaching positive impact on patients, particularly those unable to afford private care, underscoring how restoring vision can uplift not only individuals but entire families impacted by the condition.

“We have had tremendous difficulties over the past years after the hospital towers closed. Then came COVID-19 and we were further reduced to one operating theatre per quarter (every three months),” Dr. Scarlett indicated.

She noted that the hospital reached out to the Eye Health Institute in collaboration with the University of Michigan, and with the help of the maintenance department and the nursing staff “we were then able to put together this operating theatre that fits the standard of our general operating theatres in Jamaica.”

The Ophthalmic Suite is already having an impact, with St. James resident, Ioline Hylton, expressing gratitude for the chance to undergo cataract surgery after a prolonged wait.

“I found out that I’m not seeing properly and when I went to the ophthalmologist, she said she saw cataract. So, I’ve been waiting for this chance since 2020. Right now, everything is just blurry for reading and all of that; it is really a challenge. So, thank you to the team and doctors,” she told JIS News.


Last Updated: November 24, 2023

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