Puerto Rican doctors return to the island to provide care to patients based on new technologies and innovations.
Dr. Ismail Valle Irizarri and Dr. Helder Hernandez Rivera, electrophysiologists. Photo: MSP Collection
At a time when there is a shortage of medical experts Puerto RicoSome Puerto Rican doctors join forces to return to the country and offer patients on the island innovative procedures and techniques that help them manage their heart conditions. This is the case of electrophysiologists Helder Hernández Rivera and Ismail Valle Irizari, who together provide medical services at several hospitals in the country’s southwestern region.
Both the doctors did cardiology internship at Veterans Hospital Puerto Rico and after completing a fellowship in electrophysiology (a field of medicine that studies the electrical activity of the heart) at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, he returned to Puerto Rico To serve his people and somehow gave back what he learned so far.
Some electrophysiologists on the island
“I particularly recognized the lack of electrophysiologists on the island. By the time I returned in 2016, there were very few electrophysiologists. There were probably eight or 10 electrophysiologists and many areas on the island were highlighted in the specialty. It was rather the fact that There were not enough specialists to be here to serve such a population of patients and their own people. Knowing the positive health impact of coming back here is what drives us to return” Dr. said Hernandez Rivera, who is currently one of about 16 electrophysiologists Puerto Rico, None of these 16 are pediatric electrophysiologists, so if a pediatric patient needs consultation they can see it, but they cannot perform surgery on them, so they must be sent to the United States.
They bring new and more complex technology and processes
On the other hand, for Dr Valle Irizarry, a return to the country lies not only with the range of doctors within their specialty, but also with bringing in the practice of complex procedures or new technology that was not performed as much locally. “There really needs to be new technology, new procedures that are prevalent in the United States and that not everyone performs. Puerto Rico, There are complex separation and other equipment processes. E.g. Epicardial ventricular tachycardia ablation with an epicardial origin, which is the outer layer of the heart. Tools such as this are called “physiological passing”. And we understand that this is a new way to apply pacemaker technology and that it helps with patients’ well-being and has shown positive effects on patient symptoms and recovery of heart function,” he explained. Mayagüez’s doctors and Joe He is a newcomer to the country after two years of training in electrophysiology in Dallas, Texas.
These reasons prompted Dr. Hernández Rivera to form a corporation in 2020 called Caribbean Electrophysiology Services, which provides electrophysiology services to the Hospital San Lucas and Hospital Damas and Mayagüez Medical Center in Ponce. “As the doctor has very well said, one of the intentions we join together is to bring together the complex procedures that many patients need, especially ablation, which is the treatment for cardiac arrhythmias. Ismail and I have already Have done a number of complex procedures, that’s coming up, and we have a very positive experience in terms of patient health. Epicardial ablation, which is done for patients with ventricular tachycardia that doesn’t respond to medications, a type has an ablation that hasn’t been made to date Puerto Rico And we are trained to be able to perform this type of intervention when necessary in any patient,” explained this specialist, who said they hope to soon offer their services at the Hospital La Concepcion in San Germán. And although they currently serve hospitals in the Southwest region, receive patients from all over the island.
Puerto Rico prepares its doctors well
On the other hand, these doctors assure that academic preparation Puerto Rico Excellent, but that economic and technical proposition sometimes influence healthcare workers to pursue their studies and medical practice outside the country. “Training of doctors here Puerto Rico is excellent. What happens is that the offers come from the United States, the better the quality of work there. Salary is better. I would say that the situation with the medical plans here is the hardest for a doctor to live on the island, but here we have the ability to practice good medicine. Maybe we don’t have the technology and facilities that we had in the United States, but as I tell fewer people, we do a lot. Just having the intention, having the desire and putting it out of business, that’s the most important thing,” said Hernández Rivera.
Meanwhile, Valle Irizarri acknowledges that cardiology can be practiced. Puerto Rico, but unfortunately electrophysiology sub-specialty within the cardiology field does not exist as a program in the country. “That is the main reason why we need to move to other states in the US nation to be trained in electrophysiology and to acquire the necessary knowledge to be able to return to the island and provide the services that the population is deserving and in need of technology. With regards to, that’s right, we don’t have similar technology in the USA, but there are hospitals (here) that provide us with said technology, they try to get what we need to offer And strive for the best service and quality of service for the patients in you Puerto Rico“, He added.
Demand for return of more doctors
Doctors who are still undergoing training or who are about to graduate can benefit from tax incentives given by the government to serve their country, form medical groups and even encourage the return of the medical class to the country are encouraged to take up. ,Puerto Rico There is a major health crisis and we feel more and more every day. And there is a tremendous need for both doctors and specialists. That they do not see moving to the United States as a solution to the problem. If the country gave them the opportunity to practice medicine here, their place of residence, their internship and training as doctors, even if they had to go there for some time to do their training or sub-specialization, they would be returned to the country. Should consider returning. Hernández Rivera said, “Contribute and contribute to medicine that is so needed every day on our island. Meanwhile, Valle Irizarri explained that “medicine is moving to create groups of doctors from different specialties or sub-specialties, who help you A certain belief that returns. And then there’s the preferential tax rate of 4% which really helps with the finances and well-being of the doctor.”