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Tue 1 May 2007 12:00 AM

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Tawam Hospital claims UAE first

Tawam Hospital, a regional affiliate of Johns Hopkins Medicine, claims to have performed the first tracheal reconstruction surgery in the UAE.

Tawam Hospital, a regional affiliate of Johns Hopkins Medicine, claims to have performed the first tracheal reconstruction surgery in the UAE. The procedure was performed by Dr Jack Borders, a leading practitioner in the field of otolaryngology, on an Emirati boy.

"The surgery which I performed was a tracheal reconstruction with an autologous rib graft," said Dr Borders. "It was the first of these procedures to be performed in the UAE as children with this type of anatomic airway obstruction have in the past been sent overseas for surgical repair and reconstruction of the larynx and trachea. Concerned parents will be pleased to know that their children now do not have to leave their homeland for such a life-changing surgery."

Dr Borders' work brought relief to a 10-year-old Emirati from Abu Dhabi, who has been suffering from a breathing disorder. The boy's condition, diagnosed as tracheal stenosis, often left him struggling for breath even when doing minor activities. With the successful operation, the boy is now able to breathe more freely and participate in various activities.

Describing how be performed the operation, Dr Borders said: "With the parents' consent, I took a piece of the boy's rib cartilage and opened the trachea or windpipe, carefully sculpting the rib to fit exactly into the defect. The grafted rib was then sutured into place, making the repair airtight.

"I then looked through the larynx or voice box to ensure that the graft had opened the trachea as was intended. I then re-intubated the child and sent him to the ICU, where he stayed for five days while the graft healed into place. When I returned to look again into the trachea, I found it to be widely open and the graft beautifully positioned. I extubated the child and he now breathes without difficulty."

Tawam Hospital has been active recently, with a number of initiatives underway. In late March, it announced that it has introduced a modern endovascular treatment of aortic aneurysm, a life-threatening condition in which the body's main artery expands, weakens and threatens to rupture.

The Endo-Vascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR) treatment will be administered by the vascular team of Tawam Hospital's Department of Surgery. Dr. Haitham Hassoun, assistant professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital will lead Tawam's pioneering vascular team. He will be joined by vascular surgeons Dr. Antoni Potemkowski and Dr. Manar Trab, and international radiologist Dr. Ayman Saleh.

On February 25, Tawam opened a new intensive care unit equipped with 20 beds, two isolation rooms and six rooms for dialysis. It claims to be the only ICU in the country to use electronic charting (paperless records) and also has its own pharmacy satellite and laboratory.

The hospital also plans to begin construction of a specialist cancer centre later this year. The moves are in line with a government policy of boosting specialist services to reduce the need for citizens to travel overseas for treatment.

Dr. Jack Borders is one of the world's pre-eminent experts in the field of otolaryngology, the branch of medicine that deals with the anatomy, function, and diseases of the ear, nose, and throat. He serves as the chief medical officer and chief of otolaryngology of Johns Hopkins International.

"We at Tawam Hospital will in the future be able to offer paediatric airway reconstruction to children from all over the GCC, treating airway narrowing and blockages, expanding our scope of services and improving the standard of healthcare for children," he said.

"We also believe that this is among the first of many innovations and new services for children and adults that we will be able to bring to the GCC as our mission as a referral centre of excellence expands."

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