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Free heart surgeries

Torika Tokalau
Tuesday, May 06, 2014

A SPECIAL cardiac team from the United States is in the country conducting free surgeries at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

The three-member team — cardiologist Avinash Mondkar, cardio technician Ken Valikai and Fijian-born Jyan Lal — began cardiac surgeries yesterday.

"We want to conduct as many surgeries as we can; we have enough equipment to install 20 pacemaker units," Mr Lal said.

They first visited Fiji last year and conducted less than 20 surgeries, both pacemaker implementation and angiograms, on patients screened by the hospital.

This time around, and what they hope in their next visit, they hope to conduct more.

Mr Lal said this year they brought in pacemakers and a special pacemaker used for cardiac resynchronisation therapy on those with heart failure.

He said a pacemaker unit in the US costs between $7000 and $12,000.

"Back in the 60s I used to drive the ambulance at the CWM Hospital as a volunteer and I promised myself that if I ever settled in the US, I would give back to my people and this is how I am doing it.

"We hope to make this trip to Fiji twice a year if we get a lot of patients to perform surgeries on."

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