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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (June 2, 2000 – Marshall Islands Journal)---A visiting team of Australian ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists has worked with Majuro Hospital staff to save the government thousands of dollars in off-island medical referrals.

During the 10-day visit, 312 patients were screened and 38 surgeries were performed.

The team was led by surgeon Dr. Sylvester Fernandes and included anesthetist Dr. Robert Wonders and nurse Cath Williams. The team was sent by the Pacific Islands Project, which is coordinated through the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.

Hospital administrator Sandy Alfred said that the visiting team could not have screened such a large number of patients without excellent coordination and strong support from the hospital staff. "We tripled the number of patients screened from previous trips," he said. This is due to Majuro Hospital now having its own ENT specialist – Dr. Sangita – and to better efficiency and coordinated efforts from both the medical records and nursing staffs, he said.

Chief of medical staff Dr. Masao Korean indicated that the 38 patients operated on in the past week at Majuro Hospital could have been sent off-island, at great cost to the government.

The Australian team provided education programs for hospital staff.

Alfred recognized the Australian volunteer physician program, particularly the support of Brendan Paterson, the executive officer of the Pacific Islands Program, and the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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