Adventist Hospital is Site of the World’s First Viscoelastic 4-level Cervical Disc Replacement

  •   Nigel Coke/IAD
  •  Thursday, March 9, 2017
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Andrews Memorial Hospital is located in n Kingston, Jamaica, has been described as a gift to Jamaica from the Church. | PHOTO CREDITS:  Nigel Coke/IAD


Seventh-day Adventists-owned Andrews Memorial Hospital (AMH) in Kingston, Jamaica, was the Center of Excellence site where a patient was the first ever to benefit from a 4-level viscoelastic cervical disc replacement procedure.


The surgery, which will usher in a revolutionary new treatment approach in spinal surgery globally, was performed by a team of doctors led by Harvard-trained and world-renown orthopedic spinal surgeon, Dr. Kingsley R Chin on Jan. 30, 2017, using an advanced technology known as the Freedom Cervical Disc.


Owned by Axiomed Inc., the technology took sixteen years and over US$85 million to achieve the level of perfection, safety and efficacy in both the lumbar and cervical versions to implant the discs in the United States, Europe and Australia. The lumbar version completed its clinical trials in more than 400 patients in the United States and will likely be available in 2018. The cervical version completed the preclinical trials in Europe.


Dr. and Professor Kingsley Chin. Image courtesy of Dr. Kingsley Chin


Fortunately for Jamaica and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Dr. Kingsley R Chin is Jamaican and a leading surgeon-entrepreneur who saw the benefits of the technology and invested in buying it from the original group of founders so he could now offer it in Jamaica. Dr. Chin worked in business in New York City before becoming a surgeon and follows a lineage of doctors who have pioneered advances in medicine. He founded companies to commercialize technologies that have benefited patients worldwide.


The patient was happy to have been introduced to LES Institute by a relative of hers where she met Dr. Chin. She was also grateful for the fact that the surgery took place in Jamaica at AMH with a team of doctors that she was familiar with. The patient is at home recuperating and looking forward to become more active soon, added Dr. Chin.


The company called Axiomed Inc is owned under his health technology investment firm, KIC Ventures.  Dr. Chin founded the company in 2005 to invest in advancing the standard of health care for patients worldwide. The technology is ideal for treating the painful degenerative spine as it most closely mimics the normal disc using a proprietary viscoelastic polymer technology for which Axiomed has a 15-year exclusive license for use in the spine, explained Chin.


According to Chin, the purpose of the disc is to relieve neck and back pain while maintaining more normal motion and alignment than is allowed with other competing disc replacements and spinal fusion devices, which immobilize the spine.


Dr. Chin, who has been operating out of the University of the West Indies (UWI) as a visiting professor for ten years was encouraged by Dr. Fabio Pencle, a Seventh-day Adventist Physician, a year ago to open his US-based Orthopedic and Spine Surgery, LESS Institute Inc. Center of Excellence at AMH. The LESS Institute Inc. is the world leader in LESS Exposure Surgery (LES), the newest philosophy of less invasive surgery, which allows patients to be discharged the same day after surgery with quick recovery.


Dr. Chin grew up as a practicing Seventh-day Adventist in his hometown of Buff Bay, Portland and left Jamaica for the United States on a football-academic scholarship to attend Columbia University in New York City, where he earned two diplomas, was president of his senior class and ivy-league player of the year at soccer. He went on to graduate studies at Harvard University where he earned four diplomas and became an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Chin spent four years teaching at the University of Pennsylvania as the chief spine surgeon before he moved to Florida to open the LES Institute.


“I am blessed to have the desire, ability, commitment, means and access to resources to allow me to give back to Jamaica in very meaningful and powerful ways like this surgery,” said Dr. Chin. “Coming from the humblest of circumstances, I can now look back and see the reasons for my journey. I especially see how much I needed the strength and lessons I received from my Seventh-day Adventist faith as a young boy and why it is fitting for AMH to be the site of this historic surgery.” He still has to do his best every day at every level for every future patient, said Chin. “I pray for humility to keep learning to be better as I dedicate myself to excellence, never forgetting that I am blessed for a reason.”


Dr. Chin was assisted in the surgery by UWI and Yale University-trained Neurosurgeon Dr. J. Geoffrey Liburd; anesthesiologist Dr. P. Jason Toppin; Oxford University-trained Rhodes Scholar, Dr. David Walcott and nurse manager Roxanne Shaw-Edwards and her staff at AMH. “We are delighted that the hospital could have partnered with Dr. Chin to execute this historic surgery in Jamaica,” said Pastor Everett Brown, chairman of the board of governors of AMH, and president of the church in Jamaica. “We are pleased to know that our hospital is strategically placed and has the capacity not only to provide basic health care to people from all social, religious and economic background, but also to address the healthcare needs of individuals, utilizing modern technology.”


Photo of the cervical and lumbar discs. Image courtesy of Dr. Kingsley Chin


Brown said the hospital remains committed to making the facility available to enhance the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of all people.”


AMH currently boasts 65 beds, five wards, four operating theaters, one which specializes in large specialty cases such as open heart surgery, a multi-dimensional CT Scan machine and a major medical complex. Over the years, the hospital has developed a reputation for being one of the most outstanding maternity centers in Jamaica and many of the island’s foremost obstetricians/gynecologists make it their hospital of choice for their patients.


The hospital also operates the only United States Medical Service for Embassy Visa, which is necessary for applicants to meet their medical clearance for permanent visa.

“The vision for AMH is to be the hospital of choice for the Caribbean and in order to accomplish that, we have to provide our patients with the most highly advanced and technically innovative equipment available to medical science,” said Dr. Marvin Rouhotas Chief Executive Officer of AMH.


“Without exception, this historic surgery has positioned AMH with the advantage of the expertise of neuro-spinal surgery not perform anywhere else in the world and look forward to offering this service to patients from overseas,” said Rouhotas. Dr. Rouhotas explained that Dr. Chin and members of his team are pursuing development of a spinal surgical program that will further the cause for Jamaica’s health tourism.


In October 2010, the Gleaner Company, Jamaica’s oldest print newspaper, described Andrews Memorial Hospital as a gift to Jamaica from the Church when it presented the hospital with the Gleaner Honor Award for its commitment to providing first-class health care to Jamaicans.

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