Education sessions with Open Heart International (OHI) volunteer Fran Bielby (ward team leader) and Kiasha McInnis (ICU team leader) have been undertaken in the lead up to surgery. This has mostly occurred while getting prepared before most of the team have even arrived!
These sessions focus on things such as: treatment, setup and initial patient aftercare. While some of the local staff attending the sessions have more experience than others; it provides a solid foundation of knowledge for everyone involved as well as helping maintain or further education with local hospital staff.
This morning sees the first day of surgery with patients on the ward awaiting surgery and the first patient Christopher undergoing the first surgery of PNG cardiac 2016. The theatre is a vital area of the ongoing program and its collaborative efforts. Hayden the OHI perfusionist is working closely with local staff. The local theatre staff is across all areas including the local perfusionist, anaesthetics, theatre nurses and surgeons. Yishay the OHI surgeon and Noah the local heart surgeon here at Port Moresby General carry on the training they last left off six months ago.
Six months ago was the last time OHI was here and the last time many of the local staff were able to perform these tasks on paediatric cases. The local staff however have gained large improvements towards self-education. Normally the staff at the hospital are working on adult patients. A team from Singapore maintains a relationship with the hospital and staff to deliver adult cardiac surgery and care with OHI mainly focusing on working with training in paediatric cases.
With the Open Heart International team able to help educate and guide the way, the local staff are able to implement new techniques and processes to help with their developing skill set in dealing with paediatric open heart surgery. Everyone is very excited to have the program underway and no one more so than the young patients that are expecting surgery and their family and friends.