Update: Red Cross

clip_image002The six new paediatric ventilators at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital brings the ratio of Intensive Care Unit beds to available ventilators to one-to-one. This means that even if the ICU is full and every child needs a ventilator – every patient would have access to one.

Prof Andrew Argent, the head of the ICU at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital said: “The new ventilators have replaced older ventilators which have come to the end of their useful life. In addition the new ventilators have given us improved capacity to do ‘lung protective’ ventilation – or ventilation that is better adjusted to the individual needs of the child and is gentler to the lung.

“Finally the ventilators have increased our capacity to provide ventilation to sick children – this is important in the context of increasing demand for ICU treatment and ventilation at the hospital.”

Five of the ventilators – which have been designed specifically for children – were bought by the hospital. The Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Foundation (WSPCF) donated the sixth, which significantly improves the capacity of the hospital to accommodate more Foundation-sponsored children.

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Cardiac Congress 2011

clip_image002The WSPCF recently hosted its annual Cardiac Congress, this year hosted in the Auditorium at Netcare head office. The growth of the event necessitated a move of venue from Sunninghill Hospital, which proved to be a huge success as all our delegates were easily accommodated and well looked after by Netcare’s catering staff.

We were privileged to have had as our invited guests Doctors Chuck Fraser and Peter Laussen. Chuck currently occupies the Susan V Clayton chair in surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston and is Surgeon in Chief. Peter, a native of Australia, is Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Intensive Care, Department of Cardiology and Chair of Paediatric Anaesthesia, Children
Hospital, Boston. Both have innumerable publications, book chapters, personal achievements, lectureships and visiting professorships. We are deeply honoured by their presence.

So many organisations made the congress possible but none more so than our generous sponsors – Viking Medical, Fresenius Kabi, Medtronic, Edwards Life Sciences, SA Biomedical, Adcock Ingram Scientific Group, World Society of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery,and Covidien.

It is with sincere gratitude that the WSPCF thanks Netcare for the support and use of Netcare Ops Centre for the
two-day congress. Thanks go to Miro and the catering team worked tirelessly to deliver the exceptionally high
standard of catering, Alan, Gary and their extended teams, as well as David, Kgotso, Sanet and, behind the scenes, as well as the many more, who all contributed to the success of the congress.

Dr Kinsley and his team outdid themselves again, with a remarkable programme and presentations. There was a high level of discussion and participation between speakers and delegates. The international guests, Dr’s Fraser and
Laussen remarked repeatedly on the South African hospitality, the CTICU at Netcare Sunninghill and the cardiac work that is carried out by the team there.

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Siemens board member Siegfried Russwurm pays us a visit

clip_image002A member of the Siemens Board and CEO of the company’s industry sector, Siegfried Russwurm, was accompanied by local CEO Stuart Clarkeson and Helen Brown, Siemens’ head of Healthcare, as he was taken on a tour of the CT ICU facilities at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital by Lynda.

Siemens is a valued partner of the WSPCF and works closely with us to provide medical equipment and healthcare training to our doctors and nurses who work tirelessly on helping us save children’s hearts.

Netcare utilises Siemens interventional equipment across the group and recently set up a new electrophysiology lab at Sunninghill Hospital. We valued the visit and the opportunity to show Siemens how we are putting their sponsorship to good use.

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On the waiting list

clip_image002Wendy Shabangu, born in December 2010, desperately needs help. She’s currently lying in an ICU bed at Steve Biko Academic hospital, having been diagnosed with a Truncus Ateriosus Type 2 and a Large Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD).

Truncus arteriosus is a rare type of congenital heart disease in which a single blood vessel (truncus arteriosus) comes out of the right and left ventricles, instead of the normal two (pulmonary artery and aorta). Ventricular Septal Defect describes one or more holes in the wall that separates the right and left ventricles of the heart. Ventricular septal defect is one of the most common congenital (present from birth) heart defects. It may occur by itself or with other congenital diseases, as is the case with Wendy.

As a result of these defect, Wendy’s body is oxygen starved and she, more often than not, struggles to breath because she is just not getting enough oxygen pumped through her body and to her vital organs.

According to her doctor, Dr. Takawira, Wendy is classified as a complex case and requires a large operation in order to save her heart—which would cost in the region of R300,000, an amount of money that Wendy’s mother, Noncedo, who is unemployed, simply cannot afford.

Wendy and her family live in rural Kamhlushwa, which is just outside Malelane, near the Kruger national Park in the Mpumalanga Province. Wendy’s mother relies heavily on the support of her mother, who often looks after Wendy while Noncedo finds odd jobs and sells crafts to earn some money.

Wendy’s outlook isn’t good. Without surgery it’s unlikely that she’ll live past her first few months.

Wendy’s case has been forwarded to the WSPCF, but given the complex nature of her case, there simply is not enough money to help pay for her operation unless a specific donation is made on her behalf. Until then, Wendy will remain on the WSPCF waiting list.

If you or your organisation would like to make a contribution towards helping Wendy, or would like to donate the entire R300,000 that would save Wendy’s life, please don’t hesitate to contact the WSPCF offices on 011 257 2017.

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Where are they now?

clip_image002Damilola Ayinda was born in Nigeria on the 6th of August 2006 but unbeknownst to her parents, her heart was a ticking time-bomb.

She was born with a defect called a Truncus arteriosus, a rare type of congenital heart disease in which a single blood vessel (truncus arteriosus) comes out of the right and left ventricles, instead of the normal two (pulmonary artery and aorta).

She had symptoms common with the problem, most notably a rapid loss of breath and an inability to keep up with kids her age when they were running around a playing.

The stark reality of Damilola’s condition really hit home for her parents when she collapsed one day and could not be revived. After being rushed to the clinic and being diagnosed with a heart problem, she had to be transferred to a hospital in Ghana where they were better-equipped to diagnose and monitor Damilola’s condition. If she wasn’t treated quickly, her condition would worsen and she could have died.

But Teni, Damilola’s mother, had lots to worry about. While her child was lying in an ICU bed fighting for her life, she was told that she would have to come up with the R250,000 to have Damilola’s heart fixed, which was far more than the little bit of money they could scrape together.

Damilola’s case was referred to the WSPCF and within weeks, her case was accepted. While Damilola’s parents are both in the medical profession, they still needed financial assistance to get to South Africa and have their daughter’s heart fixed.

clip_image002[4]They put what little money that had together and the WSPCF agreed to fund the balance in order to save their child’s life. On 1 February 2007 Damilola had her surgery and she was successfully discharged on the 11th.

Damilola, now almost five, is living a happy life as a normal child in Nigeria, going to school, and giving her mother and father a hard time as they try and keep up with her active nature. We’re so glad to see she’s doing so well!

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Update: baby Muhammed Backus

We recieved this wonderful e-mail from a mommy who’s boy recently underwent surgery at the Foundation.  Such wonderful news!

IMG_0870Dearest Lynda

I, Mrs. Backus, hope this email reaches you in the best of health. I hope your year has begun wonderfully and may it continue to go well for you. 

I dont know where to begin. I sincerely apologise for not keeping in touch with you since my son’s discharge from hospital. My life has been so hectic ever since, husband going abroad to study, me moving with the kids to Durban to live near family…oh it has been a stressful few months!

My heart fills up with gratitude to you and your team every time I look at my baby Muhammad as I remember him in i.c.u not very long ago in a critical condition. My words are not enough to express my thanks to you guys for your support. You will always be in my prayers.

Praise to God, Muhammad is doing well. He is able to sit and he says a few words like “mama” and “baba” clip_image001 . Muhammad is being monitored every 3 months at Inkosi Albert Luthuli hospital. He will be going for the catherization in july to the abovementioned hospital.

My special thanks also go to Dr. Kinsley and Dr. Dansky. Please convey my regards to them.

Thank you

Yours truly

Mrs Backus

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Flying high with Emirates

clip_image002Emirates Airlines has come on-board as a transport partner for the WSPCF, particularly to provide much-needed flights for the foundation’s management as they travel across the country and around the world in search of new partners and sponsors, and to help raise awareness of the light of African children suffering from congenital heart disorders.

Our sincerest thanks must go to the Emirates team, who has worked tirelessly to ensure that the WSPCF can benefit from free flights, and allocate the money that has been saved towards saving more children.

Welcome Emirates! We’re delighted to have you as part of our family.

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A royal visit

clip_image002We were very privileged and honoured to have a royal visitor to the WSPCF
recently—in the form of Kgosi Leruo Molotlegi, the king of the Royal Bafokeng Nation.

Kgosi visited us at our offices in Sunninghill and toured the CT ICU with Lynda as he met the doctors and nurses of the unit, spoke to them about their jobs and visited some of the children and their parents who were in the ICU at the time.

clip_image002[4]Kgosi also toured the wards and surgical theatres in order to get a feel for the
professionalism that has become synonymous with the WSPCF and its service deliver teams.

We are currently investigating the possibility of partnering with the Royal Bafokeng
Nation to provide diagnosis and intervention for children of the nation who are suffering from congenital heart defects. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with the Nation and its rulers.

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A heart-warming book launch

Source: Book Southern Africa

clip_image002Nadine Raal’s wrenching experience with her infant son’s congenital heart defects and subsequent surgery is detailed in her new book, Mending a Broken Heart – which was launched, appropriately, at the WSPCF’s offices as Sunninghill Hospital, Johannesburg.

Raal says that the unit is a “national treasure”. Trough her writing, she hoped to raise awareness of the brilliant work that is tirelessly and passionately performed by the doctors and nurses who staff the centre. She said that 95% of congenital heart defects are in fact operable and curable and that hope always lives on in the unit. “My son’s railroad scar down the centre of his chest is now his badge of honour and healing.”

Lynda Bleazard said that Raal’s book was testament to the bravery and willpower of the children who are operated on. She applauded the strength of Raal and her husband in the face of major uncertainty and fear. Bleazard said that the foundation has raised R40 million to-date, and continues to serve children whose parents cannot afford the R165,000 operation that, barring complications, can save their lives.

Highveld Stereo presenter Sam Cowen, guest speaker at the launch and ambassador of the WSPCF, said Raal’s book would help all parents with very ill children to feel less alone. She said that the unit was the “closest thing to God there is.”

The audience included parents whose children had not made it through the operation. There wasn’t a dry eye in the unit as Nadine read excerpts from her book.

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