The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz last night patronized the inaugural ceremony for the project of linking Saudi hospitals with specialized university medical centers in the United States by means of satellites available round the clock. This project is part of the plan to provide state-of-the-art communications to enhance medical and educational services introduced in line with King Fahd's directives, and will enable doctors working in the Kingdom's hospitals to make direct contact with a number of American centers such as the Texas Children's Hospital, and the medical centers at George Washington, Yale and Virginia Universities.
After being briefed on the project by a number of experts and consultants, King Fahd stated: "I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to our friends in the United States and to our sons in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia". He also expressed appreciation for the efforts exerted by Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, the Kingdom's Ambassador to the United States, in the execution of this tremendous project. Referring to Saudi-American relations, King Fahd said they had been established in the era of King Abdul Aziz, the founder of the Kingdom, and President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt, and added: "Since then Saudi-American relations have been the same; they never change, and circumstances and events never alter them".
Through the satellite network link-up, King Fahd was able to watch as a case diagnosed for a patient at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh was followed up by a medical center in the United States. He also watched open-heart surgery at that hospital conducted by Dr. Zuheir Al-Hileis, head of cardiology there. King Fahd praised the role being played by King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the service of the people.
Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, the Kingdom's Ambassador to the United States and supervisor of the program for cooperation between King Faisal Specialist Hospital and the American universities, underscored the importance of the project and said the idea for it was initiated by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz about two and a half years ago. One year later, work on the project was started in collaboration with five universities in the United States.
Through this program it will be possible for Saudi citizens to have a medical check-up in Riyadh and the follow-up by specialists in the USA, which, Prince Bandar said: "will save a lot of effort and expenditure". Last year, US$ 60 million were spent on sending patients suffering from liver problems for treatment in the United States, compared to the US$ 9 million that it would cost under this program. Prince Bandar further pointed out that trained Saudi surgeons can now carry out operations inside the Kingdom while collaborating with international medical experts, and remarked that this program puts Saudi Arabia ahead as regards medical services as well as enabling the country to extend the best of services to its citizens.
For his part, Dr. Anwar Jabert, Supervisor-General of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital, said that this program will place his hospital, and others in the Kingdom, on the same level as the most advanced in the world. Thanks to this program, he said, the Saudi citizen will now benefit from the experience of doctors worldwide without leaving his country or his city. At the same time, Dr. Principato, Director of the Saudi-American Medical Cooperation Program, said that the introduction of the project provides clear evidence of the farsightedness of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, saying that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the first country to introduce such a specialized network for medical services.