Baptist Health International reaches out to T&T

By Valdeen Shears (Caribbean Medical News Reporter)

“It’s about sharing information, learning from each other, promoting best practices and in turn serving those who come to us to be treated,” he explained humbly.
This is from Dr Thomas San Giovanni MD, one of the most prolific orthopaedic surgeons in the field, attached to the Doctors Hospital Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine at Baptist Health South Florida.

A Board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, specializing in conditions of the foot and ankle, San Giovanni, also serves as the orthopaedic surgeon for the Miami City Ballet.

San Giovanni and Dr Charles Jordan are just two of the many medical practitioners who visited Trinidad on Saturday October 5th, 2013 for the 9th Caribbean Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Conference.

Known for their top-notch treatment of trauma-related and sporting injuries, Baptist Health International, “keep top athletes in top form by minimizing the impact of injuries.”  Baptist Health is in fact the region’s largest faith-based not-for-profit organisation.

It is San Giovanni’s third trip to our shores and Jordan’s first, but both doctors stated one common goal – to share their advance knowledge and experience with other specialist in their field, particularly in the Caribbean.

While San Giovanni said, they have yet to establish a partnership with our Government or the Ministry of Health, after speaking with a junior medical student, the idea of a fellowship arrangement may well be on the cards for local orthopaedic specialists.

“The idea may well be that young doctors will undergo a period of fellowship with Baptist Health and come to Trinidad and Tobago, bringing back the experience,” he noted.

This is coming from a doctor who has earned the title as one of the “Best Doctors in America” every year since 2005.

It is this same level of expertise which keeps San Giovanni always looking and searching for the newest advances in modern medicine in the field.

Reiterating the goals of his colleague, Jordan stated that this country stands to benefit from accessing as much knowledge as possible, particularly related to trauma suffered from vehicular accidents and sports.

Jordan, whose focus was on the topic of treating multiple injuries, noted that the advances made in treating trauma/accident victims would benefit the country tremendously.

San Giovanni quickly interjected that the intent is not to take business away from local doctors, but in fact, to share their knowledge.

“It’s about developing relationships and keeping the channels of communications open and available,” he added.

If any two persons should be able to speak on the topic of sport and medicine, would be this duo, as they have treated and consulted some of the best. Jamaican track stars, who went on to be Olympians, have sought the institution’s services, so too has the Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins and the Florida Panthers, among others.

Both doctors are clearly passionate about their fields, but more so about teaching and trading expertise with others in the field.

The ease, with which he spoke of tendons, as it relates to persons living with cerebral palsy and wheel-chair bound, was uncanny. His explanation was one that was quite simple.

“Maybe it could be something that just has not been looked at before. The lifting of the tendons if they became spastic or tight. Looking at tendon transfer and equalising the forces. Surgical procedures may be needed or in some cases a matter of combining treatments of injection and Botox. It’s conferences like these that are helpful to gain and share knowledge,” he said.

A conference with the Cerebral Palsy Parents Association is planned for sometime in the near future, assured San Giovanni,

The trick to these conferences, noted Jordan is that it is not about what you can teach others but what you too can learn.

“We go to a lot of conferences, we give to them (other doctors) as well as learn and then bring back here and wherever we go. Medicine is an evolving field,” stated a smiling Jordan.

It is this evolution that ought to see this country collaborating with the expertise coming out of Baptist Health International, as San Giovanni noted that discussions with Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan has led to the presentation of a proposal. They await an answer, even as he noted that two major corporations had indicated their interest.

It would seem that this country is on “the same page” as San Giovanni said the mindset is that there is a tremendous amount that can be done to prevent diseases.

With this country and its Health Minister promoting healthier lifestyles in a bid to lower the cases of complications such as diabetes and other chronic lifestyle diseases, San Giovanni said conferences such as this are timely and much-needed. One of San Giovanni’s topics of discussion at the conference included Ankle Impingement, as well as treatment of the diabetic foot.


He has special expertise in Sports Medicine Arthroscopy Knee Replacement, Partial Knee Replacement, Minimally Invasive Joint Replacement, Trauma Foot Surgery, Arthritis Treatment, Ankle Surgery, among other related areas. He is also a Professor at Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

In 2012, US News and World Report selected him as one of the country’s “Top Doctors”. He acts as volunteer faculty member at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, as well as volunteer associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences.

Dr Charles Jordan ABOUT DR CHARLES JORDAN:  Dr Jordan is an orthopaedic surgeon, specializing in trauma and general orthopaedic surgery. His areas of expertise include complex fractures and musculoskeletal injuries, upper and lower extremity reconstruction and chronic post-traumatic orthopaedic conditions.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University, after which he graduated top of his class at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He has also published several medical journals and medical textbooks on orthopaedic treatments and surgical techniques.

Baptist Health South Florida—the largest faith-based, not-for-profit healthcare organization in the region—has been serving patients outside the US since 1991. The organization’s 2,000 physicians and 14,000 employees handle nearly 900,000 outpatient visits and more than 70,000 in patients annually throughout its seven hospitals and more than one dozen medical plazas. Baptist Health physicians see about 14,000 international patients each year.

The institutions specialise in Cardiovascular surgery, Neurosurgery, Oncology, Orthopedics and Emergencies. Patient services include the scheduling of appointments; coordinating hospital and physician services; and arranging medical air transport via jet or helicopter. In addition to medical care coordination, Baptist Health International offers concierge services at no additional cost, such as translation in virtually any language; assistance with travel, transportation and local lodging; and discounted rates at local hotels, car rentals and shopping centers. Special services available to the international medical community include second opinions and video conferencing.

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