Burjeel Hospital Monday announced it would provide 100 free heart surgeries to patients in the Middle East who might not be able to afford this life-saving surgery. The initiative is dedicated to the memory of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan.
Founder and managing director of Lifeline Hospital Group and Burjeel Hospital, Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, added that he wanted to launch the initiative as a tribute to the UAE’s founding father.
“Sheikh Zayed dedicated his life to ensuring the welfare of all citizens, both in the UAE and throughout the Middle East, whatever their financial circumstances, and through Burjeel Hospital we want to continue the legacy of his kindhearted work.”
The free surgeries are planned from November 2012, and a team of cardiac experts will soon commence the process of screening patients for their suitability for these free surgeries.
“While the solution to combating heart disease lies in education, it is too late for many people, and surgery is the only way to save lives. Sadly, not all of these patients have health insurance or can afford the cost of these surgeries, which is why our program gives them much-needed hope.”
The Columbia Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, which is ranked in the top five US hospitals for their cardiac program, will be offering their expertise to Burjeel Hospital. Having completed over 25 years of cardiac surgery, Columbia is today a pioneer in minimally invasive and robotic cardiac surgeries and heart transplants.
In announcing the partnership with the Columbia Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Vayalil said he was confident that the goal of having a Center of Excellence for cardiac and vascular conditions at Burjeel Hospital had been achieved.
“Our current team of cardiovascular surgeons has a wealth of local experience, but the partnership with an international leader like Columbia brings additional knowledge and expertise,” said Vayalil.
The Columbia Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery performs 1,600 adult surgeries annually including on- and off-pump coronary bypass surgeries, valve procedures and over 800 minimally invasive and robotic surgeries. It also has more than 25 years of experience in cardiac transplant surgery, undertaking 70 to 100 cardiac transplants each year, and is a recognized leader in pediatric cardiac care.
A team of cardiovascular surgeons from Columbia will work at Burjeel Hospital to support the Center of Excellence.
Visiting Abu Dhabi for the signing of the partnership, Lawrence Beilis, executive director of the Columbia Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, said he is highly impressed with the standard of health care in the UAE.
“The patient facilities at Burjeel Hospital are world class, and their commitment to providing best practice health and wellness care is outstanding,” said Beilis.
“We believe our expertise in cardiovascular surgery will enhance the experience of the local surgeons and provide patients in the region with a surety that they are receiving the very best treatment.”
Beilis is being accompanied by two of Columbia’s top cardiac and vascular surgeons – Dr. Barry Charles Esrigand and Dr. James McKinsey – who will tour the quality facilities on offer at Burjeel Hospital and discuss the heart disease profile of the region during their visit.
Vayalil has made it a personal mission to lower the factors that cause cardiovascular diseases, including smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and a poor diet. The World Health Organization’s MONICA Project found that the incidence of coronary heart disease and stroke mortality in the Middle East could triple over the next two decades, and other research indicates that regional obesity rates have tripled.