Team of Hamilton doctors provide life-saving dialysis treatment in Guyana

Without this place I would be dead,’ patient says.

News06:00 PMby Anne Ingram Special to The Spectator
Dr_Alistair_Ingram_&_Seeta [2)

Dialysis patient Seeta Chitrimohan discusses her case with Dr. Alistair Ingram of McMaster University Medical Centre and St. Joseph's Healthcare. - Photo courtesy Anne Ingram

Georgetown, Guyana — Life is far from easy for Guyanese resident Chitrimohan Chitrimohan, who is suffering from complete kidney failure.

But it is made easier with life-saving treatments that are being provided thanks to a team of Hamilton medical professionals.

Chitrimohan's kidneys are no longer removing impurities from her body, so she has to receive dialysis treatment twice a week to stay alive.

In Guyana, this involves travelling two and a half hours by minibus twice a week on rough roads to get to the Dr. Doobay Renal Centre in the capital city, Georgetown. Then, after four hours hooked up to the dialysis machine, this 38-year-old mother of two returns home late at night.

Despite her health issues and concerns about the future of her children, Chitrimohan feels she is lucky.

That's because until the Doobay clinic opened six years ago, there was only one private dialysis unit in Guyana charging US$200 per treatment, with no exceptions. As a result, there were only 20 people on chronic dialysis in a country with a population of more than 750,000.

"Without this place, I would be dead," Chitrimohan says, adding "and without those wonderful doctors who come here from Canada to help us, many of us would be a lot sicker."

She is referring to a team of committed nephrologists (kidney doctors) from St. Joseph's Healthcare and McMaster University who travel to Guyana every two to three months, on their own dime, to support the nurses who work at the clinic.

Dr. Alistair Ingram, chief of medicine at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and professor of medicine at McMaster, said he and the others — Dr. Chris Rabbat, Dr. Scott Brimble, Dr. Azim Gangji, Dr. Darin Treleaven and Dr. Peter Margetts — were recruited by the clinic's founder, Dr. Bud Doobay, a retired cardiologist who lives in Hamilton and leads a Hindu temple in Richmond Hill.

While visiting his native Guyana, Doobay decided to do something about the plight of people like Chitrimohan by establishing a dialysis clinic that would offer affordable and first-class treatment.

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