St. John residents now have one less reason to go to St. Thomas, thanks to the expanded x-ray services at the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center.
Services have expanded from three to five days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and are being offered by St. Thomas resident Carol Kennedy, a registered x-ray technician who has 24 years of radiologic technology experience.
“We had to make sure we had staffing to cover all radiology areas, and we’re now able to offer her services Monday through Friday,” said MKSCHC Administrator Harold Wallace. “You always want to have full-time radiology services. ”
“Of course we’d like to have a radiologist on island who we could utilize for emergency calls in the middle of the night, but there aren’t any radiologists living on St. John that we know of,” Wallace added.
The health center is looking at expanding other services as well, according to Wallace who said he hopes to beef up ophthalmology and podiatry services, both of which are often needed by many of the island’s diabetic residents, he explained.
“We’ve submitted a proposal to the Martha Benjamin Foundation to upgrade our ophthalmology suite, and if we’re successful, we’ll get a visual field analyzer, which detects glaucoma,” said Wallace. “Considering the significant amount of diabetic patients on island, it’d be great to get a chance to have that early detection.”
“Early detection will really make a difference,” Wallace continued. “We hope to try to prevent some of the blindness that takes place with senior diabetic patients.”
Wallace is also continuing his quest to offer telemedicine by partnering with the Cleveland Clinic in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Wallace and a Cleveland Clinic representative gave a presentation on telemedicine to the Rotary Club of St. John on Friday, October 12.
“We are trying to bring telemedicine to St. John in order to provide us access to specialized physicians that we typically don’t have on island,” said Wallace. “It’s moving along, and we hope we got some people interested in it at the Rotary presentation. We just showed them how it’s beneficial for remote and island areas.”
Wallace has also submitted a proposal to the V.I. Legislature for a hemodialysis machine for MKSCHC.
“We just have to make sure we get the funding for these particular projects so we can bring them to fruition,” he said.
The clinic has planned an educational seminar series in January, to educate the community about illnesses prevalent on St. John, including diabetes, he added.
With the expanded services at MKSCHC, Wallace said he hoped the community would remember that Myrah Keating is a health center — not a clinic, he explained.
“We want to remove the term ‘clinic,’ because we are a 24-hour comprehensive health center,” said Wallace. “We offer 24-hour emergency care with a full-fledged emergency room. Let’s get rid of the word ‘clinic.’”
Anyone interested in helping fund health center proposals can contact Wallace at 693-8900.
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