St. George’s University alumnus, Dr. Patrick Tempara, SGUSOM ’86 has donated equipment valued at over US $200,000 to the General Hospital, Grenada to create the hospital’s very own endoscopy unit.
Donations, from Dr. Tempara and several corporate donors, included endoscopes, pediatric endoscopes, colonoscopes, sigmoidoscopes, and supporting equipment and supplies. Dr. Tempara, who is a gastroenterologist from New Jersey, has also organised a network of over ten physicians, made up of SGU alumni and friends of SGU, who will hold clinics at the unit year-round. The unit is expected to launch later this year, after which Grenadian physicians will be trained in the use of the technology. A selective program for SGU students at the endoscopy unit is also planned.
Endoscopy, which literally means ‘looking inside’, involves using medical imaging equipment to look inside hollow organs or cavities of the body including the oesophagus, stomach and colon.
Dr. Donald Noel, Associate Dean of Clinical Studies at SGU and a physician at the hospital, noted that an endoscopy service is critical to proper health care delivery in Grenada. “The General Hospital has been without an endoscopy service for the last nine years. The service is critical to a hospital for diagnosis of disorders such as colon cancer, diverticular disease, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and crohns), peptic ulcer disease and stomach cancers among others,” he said. He also stressed the importance of timely screening: “Guidelines recommend screening colonoscopy beginning at age 50 for everyone and every 10 years thereafter until age 75, or beginning earlier if there is a family history of colon cancer, which remains among the top five cancers in Grenada.”
Brendon La Grenade, Coordinator of Support Services at SGU, said, “The move is an exciting one for Grenada.The provision of this service at the General Hospital will allow the Grenadian public access to affordable first-class gastrointestinal screening. Endoscopy services for the past nine years have been available only through local private practitioners and off island. St. George’s University is delighted to facilitate this undertaking.”
Dr. Tempara conducted the first procedure using the donated equipment at the hospital’s operating room on Friday March 8 with the assistance of his son, Patrick. Dr. Tempara has been coming to Grenada every year for the last three years to conduct clinics and Patrick has accompanied him to assist each time. Patrick Tempera Jr. is a senior at Villanova University and has plans of following in his fathers footsteps. He is now applying to medical school.
Of this opportunity to give back to a nation that has given him so much, Dr. Tempara said, “Grenada opened its doors to me and SGU’s 12,000 graduates and gave us the opportunity to practice and reach our life goals. It is a privilege to be able to give back and to do so by giving people their lives back. It is always a pleasure to come to Grenada and work with Mr. Brendon La Grenade and others from St. George’s University and the General Hospital, to help improve Grenada’s health care system one step at a time.”