Give Dr. Sparman a break

Dr. Alfred Sparman has nothing to worry about regarding the ACC accreditation. I have seen the letter from the ACC informing him that a membership card was sent to him in error and requesting that he return it. It was just unfortunate that he, being excited, rushed to press to announce his membership after receiving the card, but his lawyers in the US will deal with that.

The public here in Barbados is led to believe that the ACC (American College of Cardiologists) is some sort of examining body that certifies cardiologists; some don’t understand that it’s just an organisation which some cardiologists choose to join and pay a yearly fee somewhat like a fraternity.

One should wonder why is it that 12 years ago, Dr Sparman was registered as a cardiologist after his qualifications were vetted, and now 12 years later, they are refusing to register him as one.

What could have transpired during those 12 years? As I see it, a few things happened.

(1) In 2001, he performed the first successful angioplasty on a patient at Bay View Hospital and invoked the wrath of his competition, who to this day, qualified as they profess to be, have not performed such a procedure. Yet still these same folks question Dr Sparman’s qualifications, while still accepting them, having now registered him as a medical doctor. This is a contradiction of sorts with its logic somewhat weird and inconsistent.

(2) He built the Sparman Clinic, a state-of-the-art cardiac care facility.

(3) Patients started to see him as their cardiologist of choice in Barbados.

In May 2005 I was a patient at South Miami Hospital, another hospital where Dr. Sparman worked and when I mentioned this doctor named Sparman from Barbados, I realised that he was almost revered by everyone in their cardiology unit, doctors and nurses alike praised him as a very capable cardiologist. It makes me wonder therefore what is really going on down here in Barbados.

If his colleagues have accessed him as a quack and have succeeded in convincing the general public that he is not qualified, then why are they not performing angioplasty since a “quack” is doing it and they are the “qualified ones”. I can assure you though, that no under qualified cardiologist or quack can perform angioplasty which involves placing stents (small mesh tubes) in micro arteries of the heart, entering via the main arteries of the groin, essentially a life or death situation.

The general public should really think seriously about what they are buying into when it comes to their perception of all the spin surrounding this affair and I think the Minister of Health should get involved in this case since if Dr. Sparman is not allowed to practice as a cardiologist, Barbados will be robbed of acute talent in the health arena, namely cardiac care.

Additionally, what is to become of the thousands who are currently Dr. Sparman’s patients? Hundreds of them carry stents in their heart, implanted by him and who would be in urgent need of post-cardiac care. Are they to languish, being caught in the cross fire between a besieged cardiologist and his angry opponents?

— Emmerson Inniss

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