The Fructuoso Rodríguez Orthopedic Teaching Hospital, the first of its kind in Cuba, is currently undergoing an ambitious repair and maintenance program, which includes the entire physical plant and the patrimonial values of the center.
In turn, efforts are ongoing to improve the quality of medical care, teaching, and research.
Speaking to Granma International, Dr. Antonio Raunel Hernández Rodríguez, director of the hospital, explained the results of the repair works completed thus far, the new services provided by the center, and the updating of teaching processes.
“What has been done is very important from a constructive point of view. The wards, operating rooms, emergency and service areas have been repaired,” Dr. Hernández states.
The five operating rooms now have air conditioning and the necessary conditions to increase the number of surgeries. As regards the hospital’s wards, only 50% were previously fully equipped, but today 100% are in optimal conditions, ensuring better quality care for patients.
The renovation and refurbishment works also include a fully equipped rest area for doctors on call. Comfortable rooms, hot and cold water, air conditioning, and improved food services mean the hospital’s doctors enjoy better conditions during their long working hours.
Although progress has been made, one ward is still being repaired, and external consultation areas and the rehabilitation area are undergoing repair works.
THE SERVICE IN GREATEST DEMAND
The Fructuoso Rodríguez Hospital is located in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución municipality, with the largest aging population in the country.
Many patients arrive at the health center with fractured hips, not only from this municipality but also from others. Today, this is the service in greatest demand.
“Last year the hospital assumed 42% of hip fracture surgeries in the capital and 19% of the country’s total. In the first quarter of this year 2017, 235 fractures have been operated, and 92% of these within 24 hours,” explains Antonio Hernández.
Orthogeriatrics requires, in most cases, special care, professional and technical know-how, in line with the patient’s clinical history.
“The elderly people we receive, in addition to the hip complaint, have medical conditions linked to their age relating to the heart, lungs, kidneys, among others, which complicate treatment and surgery,” Hernández explains.
The hospital provides ten other medical services addressing different anatomical regions of the human body, including upper and lower limbs. Endoprosthetic and spinal surgery is performed, both on adults and children.
Among related specialties are rehabilitation services, particularly effective in the treatment of orthopedic conditions. The hospital also has a clinical laboratory, specialized in microbiology, and complementary studies for inpatients and outpatients.
Other facilities include a blood bank and a psychology department, which helps support patients facing traumatic operations and injuries, Hernández Rodríguez explains.
Imaging equipment, including CT and digital X-ray machines, have also been installed. The latter has represented savings for the hospital, in terms of x-ray film. Dr. Hernández adds that, in the coming months, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging equipment will be incorporated.
The Havana Hospital also treats patients from different parts of the world, mainly Venezuelans, as part of the Cuba-Venezuela Health Program, although patients from Mexico, Argentina, and other Latin American countries have also benefited from its services.
In addition to specializing in Orthopedics, the hospital stands out as a teaching center. At the moment, there are 37 residents, of whom seven are of other nationalities (Venezuelan, Colombian, Mexican and Chinese), whose studies in Cuba are either self-financed or funded through governmental agreements.
“We have a pyramid of teaching staff, with associate professors, teaching assistants, and instructors, as well as a consulting professor. They are doctors of different specialties related to orthopedics and traumatology,” the hospital director notes.
Orthopedics is studied for a period of four years. The learning process, states Antonio Hernández, is based on spiraled practice, to gradually increase residents’ surgical operations and the clinical complexities treated.
An end of year examination is conducted, and at the end of the degree course students take a pre-state and a state exam.
FOR QUALITY HEALTH CARE
Dr. Antonio Hernández Rodríguez affirms that there is no good care without good teaching, and vice versa. This link, he adds, is very important to ensure the quality of the health care provided.
“When teaching is linked to research, the student or resident of the specialty must also prove their knowledge from the point of view of investigation,” explains Dr. Hernández.
To graduate, students present a thesis related to the specialty, but based on the work of the institution. Thus, medical care is also evaluated and the work contributes to hospital development to provide better care to patients.
Remodeling and repair works at the hospital began about five years ago. The cost has surpassed 12 million pesos, demonstrating the commitment of the Cuban state and the Ministry of Public Health to preserve the comfort of the institution, and guarantee conditions for its workers, as well as quality medical care for everyone who requires it.