The National, Tuesday August 07th, 2012
By GRACE AUKA
THE annual Operation Open Heart is well under way, with 14 patients already undergoing closed and six open heart operations at the Port Moresby General Hospital.
Local doctors began the closed heart operations last Tuesday, with the help of a team of 64 international volunteers who have donated their time and expertise.
Anaesthetist Dr Darren Wolfers, from the international open heart team, said local surgeons needed greater expert training to develop the cardiac surgery programme in the country.
“With the continued education and training of the local staff, the team will give 50-60 Papua New Guineans the gift of surgery that will transform the lives of the patient and their families,” Wolfers said.
He said he was thankful for the surgeries conducted by the local staff and it was a great success for Papua New Guinea.
He said for this year, his team was helping and training staff in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Since the inception of the programme in 1993, it has saved the lives of 568 children and 195 adults, who had closed and open heart surgery.
Operation Open Heart coordinator Kathy Johnson is pleased with the outcome in the first week and which is expected to save more lives this week.
“For a long time, the operations have provided friendships and a real boost in staff development and a lot of experience for local medical staff,” Johnson said.
More patients with heart defects are expected to arrive this week from other centres of the country to undergo operations.