Francisco Villareal
Medical Director
Swiss Hospital

Focused Growth Taking Monterrey Foward

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 13:23

With declining fertility rates and increased life expectancy, Mexico’s population is slowly but surely aging. With a more advanced age comes a host of health issues not experienced in younger years, including dementia, a degeneration in ocular health and a weaker heart, all of which require care.

The increased need for heart care has not escaped the notice of surgical hospital Swiss Hospital in Monterrey, run by Medical Director Francisco Villarreal. Villarreal noted an increase in the number of elderly patients in their emergency and intensive care units toward the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. “Over recent months, we have been asked to o er hemodynamics.There have been so many patients that we have had to channel them to other hospitals. We are now working on a business plan with investors to o er these services,” says Villarreal.

The advance of the technology has led to a reduction of open heart surgeries thanks to techniques such as heart valves or through hemodynamics. The Hemodynamics Society defines the science as “an important part of cardiovascular physiology dealing with the forces the pump (the heart) has to develop to circulate blood through the cardiovascular system. Adequate blood circulation (blood flow) is a necessary condition for adequate supply of oxygen to all tissues.” Two of the main issues in hemodynamics are hypertension and congestive heart failure and, according to ENSANUT 2016, 25.5 percent or 32 million Mexican adults are hypertensive. The OECD estimates that 101,600 people are admitted to hospital yearly for congestive heart failure in Mexico.

Despite the number of hemodynamic issues, treatment has simplified greatly over the past 30 years. “By inserting a catheter and injecting a substance a blockage is cleared and the patient goes home. The process is simple and easy but bears a high cost. The number of heart surgeries has been drastically reduced, as many use hemodynamics or implant valves. In addition, patient recuperation after hemodynamics is immediate as there is no surgical opening and no need to stay in intensive care,” explains Villarreal, adding that he hopes the hospital will soon be approved to perform these surgeries.

Transplantations are also high on the hospital’s list. “After hemodynamics, we would like to begin o ering organ and tissue transplants, mainly kidneys as they are most in demand in Mexico and are not overly complicated,” says Villarreal. In addition to o ering this further specialty, Villarreal says that by 2018-2019 Swiss Hospital would become a teaching hospital, having already reached an agreement with Del Valle University in the State of Mexico.

“The number of places available in the National Medicine Exam versus the number of students is a problem, mostly of planning. We cannot create so many medical faculties if there is nowhere to train 

the students. Around 40,000 students graduate annually, yet there are only 7,000-8,000 places. Those 32,000 students that do not make it go to pharmacies and open a consultancy, earning MX$50 (US$2.8) per appointment after studying medicine because there are not enough hospitals,” says Villarreal, adding that private hospitals opening up to teaching may be a type of salvation that allows more doctors to specialize. In addition, he explains that while some areas are high in demand, others are forgotten. “Everyone wants to be a general surgeon, a pediatrician, oncologist or anesthetist heart surgeon. No one wants to be a pathologist or a geneticist, for example. Students want the adventurous specialties like birthing. They want to see blood,” he adds.

Ultimately, the problem lies with the high number of students accepted to study medicine and the few residencies available in hospitals. “We need to reduce the number of students accepted to study medicine. Why produce more doctors than the country needs?”