Belizean Bus Driver Steered to Cayman Islands for Life-Saving Surgery

A popular bus driver from Belize is alive and well, thanks to Health City Cayman Islands.

Tyron Coleman, who works for James Bus Line, had been experiencing chest pain for a few months. He saw multiple doctors in Belize and underwent a slew of tests, but his heart condition remained undetected. Doctors simply advised him to keep his blood pressure under control.

Finally, a cardiologist in Chetumal, Mexico, diagnosed Coleman with coronary artery disease, which restricts blood flow to the heart. Back in Belize, it was determined that Coleman’s condition required high-risk open heart surgery at an alternate location as soon as possible.

By chance, Coleman bumped into someone there who recognized him and suggested he contact Health City Cayman Islands. The advanced medical facility, which opened in 2014, is known for its exceptional surgeons.

Things moved quickly after that. Coleman’s family set about raising money for his Health City surgery in a case that was publicized on national television. They set up three bank accounts for donations, held food sales and other fundraising drives across the country, and spread the word via social media as well as the local Belizean media. They raised about half the cost of the air ambulance to Grand Cayman.

By then, Coleman’s condition had severely deteriorated. He was so weak he couldn’t speak. With the help of Health City, the air ambulance picked him up. Coleman survived the one-hour flight, arriving in Cayman around 7 p.m. He had a heart attack that same night and was quickly rushed into surgery. Had he flown commercially somewhere else, like the United States, Coleman believes he wouldn’t have made it.

Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, Health City’s Senior Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, confirmed that the patient had a very critical block to his left main coronary artery while his other arteries were significantly narrowed. The experienced surgeon explained that once the patient underwent cardiac arrest, the team had to move quickly in advance of the scheduled surgery. “Doing an emergency surgery like that in the middle of the night is not easy … but we quickly assembled our entire team within a short span of time to rally around Mr. Coleman.”

“God was answering our prayers,” said Coleman’s wife, Lovinia. “The doctors (at Health City) are incredible,” she said after the successful 10-hour cardiopulmonary bypass.

Health City doctors told Coleman he’ll enjoy quality living, provided he takes care of himself. And he is – he’s already making changes to his lifestyle by eating better and exercising.

Coleman faces about three months of recovery, but he’s not fazed. “I feel like I’m in heaven,” he says. “All the nurses and all the doctors … they are very caring. They take time with you, nobody hurts you. Everybody greets you. (Health City) doesn’t smell like a hospital. It doesn’t feel like a hospital.”

The Colemans can’t say thank you enough to everyone who helped them – their family and friends, all the people who donated money, everyone who organized the trip, the Belizean community in the Cayman Islands, and the team at Health City.

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