Health Care – Kyrenia Medical
Centre at Kamiloğlu Hospital
By Margaret Sheard
As we all get older there is more chance of suffering a deterioration in health and having had a relatively medical problem free life, I now find that perhaps things are catching up with me.
In North Cyprus there are many different opinions from expatriates about medical treatment. Is it good? Should we return to our homeland for treatment? Are we happy with the medical service in our adopted country? Can we afford treatment here? Personally, I think it is good, having had experience at first hand, not for myself but for others I have needed to assist. Now I can speak from personal experience as I have also now succumbed to some medical problems.
Early in December, while lifting a gas cylinder to replace an empty one, I felt a crack in my back and subsequently the pain started. I had consultation at a local Orthopaedic clinic and a trip to Lefkoşa for an MRI scan and urine test, there then followed painkillers, antibiotics for the coincidental problem of a kidney infection and tablets for osteoporosis which I unfortunately have had for some time and foolishly not had treated in any way.
Right, I decided, I needed a thorough check-up to try and get myself sorted out and having heard about a new medical centre attached to an existing small private hospital in Girne, I thought I would visit the Medical Centre at Kamiloğlu Hospital to see what they could do to help me over this very painful and frustrating situation.
On entering the hospital I was greeted by an English lady who immediately put me at my ease, this was Irena Hulson, a retired English doctor who doesn’t practice any more but spends a few days at the hospital where she has become known as “Dr Irena”, and there is Jane Rhodes and Tricia who also give some of their time to make the English speaking patients welcome and not forgetting the smiling Seckin, who says he does everything! We remembered Seckin from meeting him about a year before, he also speaks excellent English and with the ladies he liaises with the patients to ensure they are dealt with quickly and efficiently. This is a bonus for us as part of the stress is the language barrier so the hospital have recognised this and done something about it. These ladies (and Seckin) make sure you know where you have to go for tests, consultations etc. so you are not left sitting thinking you have been forgotten.
My first visit entailed a blood sugar/cholestorol test, blood pressure check, heartbeat and pulse rate check which were all free of charge. They also weighed me and checked my height which was all recorded in my file. I also produced another urine sample for testing in the laboratory adjacent to the hospital for which there was a small charge. I saw Dr Shebnem who went over the registration form I had completed and records I took with me covering the MRI scan and first urine test and the results of a well-woman check I had undertaken a few years previously. Following this I was directed to Dr Hűseyin Kalgay who is an Orthopaedic Surgeon and he also looked at the results together with the disc of the MRI scan. It seems that my main problem is not from the fracture of a vertebrae caused when lifting the gas bottle, but from a very old injury, I could confirm that many years ago I fell from a horse and smashed my coccyx, which resulted later in pain at the lower end of the spine. This happened a couple of times when I still lived in the UK but for many years there has been no problem, until now!
I also had an x-ray and a bone density scan and Dr Shebnem thought a culture from the urine sample should be done in order to ascertain the correct remedy for this problem. There were charges for these procedures but not excessive.
A second visit was arranged and I returned and saw Dr Shebnem again, unfortunately the culture results were not ready and Dr Kalgay had been called to an emergency operation, although he had left a prescription for me for various medication.
I made another visit to see Dr Kalgay and he confirmed the osteoporosis as being very bad in my spine, although one redeeming thing is that my hips seem ok. He prescribed another tablet to take and asked me to go back and see him in 10 days after taking the course of medication. It will probably be necessary to have some physiotherapy in due course and he will arrange this for me.
I have been taking the medication and must say things are getting better day by day. Would I say the medical service has been good – yes I would.
The Kamiloğlu Hospital has been open for some 10 years but they have addressed the need to encourage English speaking expatriates to use their facilities and for this reason they have set up the new Medical Centre where people can register as a patient. All of the patient records are kept by the Centre and, when someone has registered, a trip is made to their home, noting the landmarks etc. which are all stored in the SAT-NAV system. If there is a need to call out a doctor/ambulance they will then be able to drive directly to a patient’s home. I am waiting for them to locate my address and when this procedure has been carried out I will be issued with my personal registration card. This seems to be an excellent idea to me.
Whilst at the Medical Centre, we also went next door and had a chat with the Senior Medical Lab. Scientist – Ali Koralp at “Tib-Lab” and he told us that the Laboratory was set up in 2011. Looking at the equipment, it all seemed to be very top of the range and Ali Bey said they had spent in the region of £170,000 on just a few of the many pieces of equipment. The Laboratory is independent from the hospital and so carries out tests for anyone, although of course it is also very convenient for patients of the hospital to get tests carried out.
We felt that there is probably a lot more information we can pass on about the Laboratory so will be returning to do a separate article about this facility.
So I have another appointment to visit the Medical Centre by which time I am sure I will have greatly improved, I am now noticing the difference although I must say I was initially told that it would take quite a long time for the vertebrae problem to heal and I would have to be patient. Unfortunately patience is not something I have a great deal of, especially when it comes to pain, but I feel so much happier now and beginning to feel my old self again.
It has made me think about how this would have been dealt with in the UK, what stage would I be at now, maybe still waiting for appointments and results. My first visit to the Medical Centre here took around 3 hours, but during that time I had many tests and, more importantly, had the results. I know that we have to pay but to have peace of mind and immediate corrective treatment is well worth the price, which at the end of the day, in my case, was not excessive. Of course operations are a different matter and this is where there can be financial problems depending on the seriousness of the surgery. Personally, I hold an amount of money specifically for this purpose should the need for surgery ever arise.
I am sure there are people who will not agree with what I have written but I felt the need to give my account of my personal experience and to say that I am more than happy with the medical attention I have received in North Cyprus.