The World Pediatric Project has held its first ever scoliosis evaluation in Saint Lucia.
On Friday the 24th of August, 2018, a team from the non-profit organization got the ball rolling at the Victoria Hospital.
According to Lovelyn Butcher, Saint Lucia’s representative for World Pediatric Project, normally the organization would have done cardiology and physical therapy on the island.
But she told the Communication Unit of the Ministry of Health and Wellness that the number of scoliosis cases have been increasing over the past few years, so a decision was taken to have evaluations at Victoria and St. Jude Hospitals.
Scoliosis is a disorder that causes an abnormal curve of the spine, or backbone.
According to Dr. Chester Sharps, the Orthopedist for World Pediatric Project, people with the condition typically fall into three treatment categories.
“One is just watching it or observation. We will see the back periodically to determine if the curves are worse or not. The second kind of treatment is bracing and like I said we have identified several people that needed braces today and we have our bracing program and someone coming back in November to make braces for them. The third thing we do is surgery. For this, right now our hub is in St. Vincent and we take the patients to St. Vincent for surgery and every once in a while we see curves that are so bad that we need to take them to the United States,” Sharps disclosed.
Lauren Mcintosh, Executive Director for the Eastern Caribbean for the World Pediatric Project has appealed to Saint Lucians to contact the project’s country representative if they believe their child requires any sort of access to critical pediatric care.
“The surgeries are actually free of cost because our doctors are coming from the US and they volunteer their services. So more so when you come to St. Vincent if you need the surgery then you just have to pay for your travel and accommodations,” McIntosh explained.
Michelle Herman, whose daughter suffered with a scoliosis disorder, appealed to other parents to take advantage of the opportunity and support their children who suffer from the condition.
“Trust me the children do know what they are feeling. Listen to them and also take advantage of the Pediatric care because this surgery is not cheap and it involves screws, it is three, four hours sometimes seven. It is an intensive surgery but it is a worthwhile surgery and take advantage of it whilst it is free,” Herman was quoted as telling the Communication Unit of the Ministry of Health.