US specialist paediatricians head for Abu Dhabi after deal struck

Doctors from the Children’s Medical Centre in Washington will be available at all times in the capital after an agreement was signed off last week between the centre and Healthpoint hospital.

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ABU DHABI // Children in need of specialised medical procedures may not need to travel abroad for treatment anymore after an agreement between US and UAE health providers.

Doctors from the Children’s National Medical Centre in Washington will be available at all times in the capital after an agreement was signed off recently between the centre and Healthpoint hospital. It means specialised paediatricians will visit the UAE and always be available to treat and offer training to existing Healthpoint staff.

Sarah Staal, chief administrative officer at Healthpoint, said the this partnership is “to address the needs of our current paediatrics ... and overall Abu Dhabi emirate, so people don’t have to travel around for a sub specialty”.

There are currently 1,500 children being treated at Healthpoint by five paediatricians.

Two recent success stories involved surgery for a complex case of infantile glaucoma for the first time in the emirate.

One was a 4-year-old Emirati boy who had misaligned eyes since infancy. The surgery was a result of a collaboration between Healthpoint and the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve from increased eye pressure.

The first visiting specialists are Dr Claire Torres, an international gastroenterologist and Dr Anastassios Koumbourlis, the chief of pulmonary and sleep medicine at CNMC, both of whom arrived last week.

Ms Staal said they chose a partnership in paediatrics because it is one of the most visited sections at the hospital and so they could “support the community” without adding any extra charges for the specialised services brought from abroad.

“For young patients, travelling overseas and being in an unfamiliar environment away from home and family can be stressful and upsetting; this, in turn, can be detrimental to recovery,” said Dr Nader Darwich, medical director at Healthpoint.

“Working alongside world-class paediatric experts from Children’s National will benefit our physicians and clinicians and further their specialist skills, techniques and treatment methods.”