CB20: Life-saving deliveries
||19 April 2009 07:00
|Show: ||Carte Blanche|
It's early in the morning at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital. Mmabatho Mayikane is carrying her two-yea-old, Gomolemo, to the operating theatre. Since birth little Gomolemo has had a hole between the ventricles in her heart - an ultimately fatal condition.
Baby Gomolemo's is a very significant operation, and not only because it will save her life. It will be the first cardiac surgery assisted by a new state of the art piece of equipment, delivered just a day before her operation: a heart lung machine. The Johannesburg hospital was one of five state hospitals invited to take part in the Carte Blanche 20th Birthday Making a Difference Campaign, launched in July last year. This hospital's new heart lung machine is one of the campaign's very first deliveries. The old machine it has replaced dates back to the early 1980s. It completely packed up earlier this year and that is when the campaign stepped in.
[Carte Blanche 3 August 2008] George Mazarakis (Carte Blanche: Executive Producer): "My dream is to reach 20-million [rand] - a million for each year we've been on air."
We asked hospitals for their wish lists and gave corporate donors the opportunity to fund items needed. We established a trust to oversee the campaign and ensure transparency, and promised to report back on all developments as they happened. The generosity of sponsors and our viewers tripled our target and raised almost R60-million.
For everyone involved, the delivery of this machine was an unforgettable occasion. The Anglo-American Chairman's Fund had contributed a million rand and Hollard Insurance R500 000.
Suppliers - the Scientific Group - donated the machine's blood parameter monitoring system valued at R 360 000.
Kuseni Dlamini (CEO: Anglo American South Africa): "For us as Anglo American we believe in the philosophy of care and respect and this is an opportunity for us to walk the talk. It is why it's so important to see Professor Beale [and] the people of the medical staff at Johannesburg Gen because they are the people who are really making a difference in ordinary people's lives."
Sheila Surgey (Exco: Hollard) "At Hollard we're looking for ways to make a difference. There was just such a powerful cause to follow with what Carte Blanche is doing, with what Professor Beale is doing. So often, it's all of us around a common objective that can make a really sustainable difference."
Kuseni: "Health is too complex and too big a challenge for any one of us, or indeed any sector - whether it's government or business or the health sector itself - to be able to make a meaningful and sustainable difference."
And for little Gomolemo, this difference was life-saving.
Bongani Bingwa (Carte Blanche presenter): "This is the moment we have all been waiting for. Baby Gomolemo is going under [being anaesthetised] and, of course, the machine that will be used to work on her was brought to the hospital less than 24 hours ago, so everyone is crossing their fingers and hoping that everything will go well."
An hour into surgery the heart-lung machine prepares to take over the critical functioning of her circulation, giving doctors a chance to stop her heart and work on it.
[During surgery] Dr Kathy Vanderdonck (Paediatric Cardiac Surgeon): "Ok now we are going to look for the hole."
Dr Vanderdonck: "We cannot do open heart surgery without that machine. It's just not possible. We have about - let's say - between 150, max 200 patients on our waiting list. I am sure that some of the patients who are presented to us do die while waiting."
Bongani: "You work specifically with children. What has been the impact of the Carte Blanche campaign on the work that you do?"
Dr Vanderdonck: "Well for us it's tremendous, we are extremely grateful. The acquisition of the new machine means we can carry on operating. And for all these children, basically, no surgery means a fatal outcome."
For Chief Paediatric Surgeon, Professor Peter Beale, the new machine is a Godsend.
Prof Peter Beale (Chief Paediatric Surgeon): "There was an absolute standstill as far as open heart surgery on those categories of patients that required those procedures. The donation of this piece of equipment is absolutely vital."
By mid-morning Dr Kathy Vanderdonck and her colleague Dr Krubin Naidoo are lowering a patch over the hole between little Gomolemo's ventricles. Doctors then expose the aorta to attend to the damaged aortic valve. Then the circulation is weaned from the machine and Gomolemo's healthy heart takes over.
[In surgery] Dr Vanderdonck: "So, for now you see we basically have finished the operation, in the sense that we have closed the hole and fixed the valve and the heart is, as you see, beating quite nicely."
Bongani: "After four hours the operation on baby Gomolemo is finally over. She is being wheeled to ICU. The doctors have declared the whole thing a rousing success."
Paediatric ICU is a place where little ones like Gomolemo receive critical one-on-one nursing care. In the past doctors often had to postpone or cancel cases or could not accommodate all the children referred with neonatal and acute paediatric problems, due to the demand for their ICU facilities. When our campaign highlighted this situation, Discovery answered with a significant R2.5-million donation to upgrade the ICU.
Adrian Gore (Discovery CEO): "Discovery's entire purpose in this kind of space is about healthcare and improving the healthcare system and uplifting the public health system. And so I think that the continuity of it, of your vision with ours, resonates with us."
Now, meetings between stakeholders and the hospital's architects are well underway to expedite upgrading of the paediatric intensive care facility.
The structure of the ward already exists, but refurbishments will include a high care area and expansion of the current neonatal and paediatric intensive care facilities - with an additional six ICU beds planned.
Bongani: "Your wish list is starting to come together?"
Prof Beale: "It's been about six months I think since this campaign started and what happened has been a fantastic revelation... way beyond everybody's hopes and expectations."
And it's these very hopes and expectations that resonate with every beat of little Gomolemo's healthy new heart. A week after the operation she is making a fantastic recovery. We look forward to reporting back on the impact on many more of the little ones whose bravery has inspired the Making a Difference Campaign.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:While every attempt has been made to ensure this transcript or summary is accurate, Carte Blanche or its agents cannot be held liable for any claims arising out of inaccuracies caused by human error or electronic fault. This transcript was typed from a transcription recording unit and not from an original script, so due to the possibility of mishearing and the difficulty, in some cases, of identifying individual speakers, errors cannot be ruled out.