Medical Equipment for the Lao Friends Hospital for Children
Team Member: Mecci Oncel
Julie Lu wrote -
We are overwhelmed and so touched by your generosity near and far, medico and non-medico!
We are nearing our goal of sending much needed resuscitation equipment to Lao Friends Hospital for Children. Along with the equipment we are also sending a Wound Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) to teach the local nurses and doctors on Wound & Burns management.
Now our ultimate dream is to purchase a paediatric ventilator for the hospital. The total cost will be around AUD $30k yet it will be a piece of equipment that lasts for decades. The OneBreath ventilator (http://www.onebreathventilators.com/) will go a long way in saving a child's life. It will be used to treat 'reversible' respiratory diseases such as severe pneumonia, bronchiolitis and sepsis; a child ventilated using this machine for a few days will go on to lead a normal life. Currently the doctors and nurses at the Lao Friends Hospital for Children are unable to escalate care for these children with severe but reversible respiratory disease due to not having this life-saving machine.
Lets show the children of Laos how generous and awesome Australians are and reach our goal!!
Collectively the doctors and nurses at Liverpool, Campbelltown and Bankstown hospitals in Sydney Australia are coming together to help one of our own, a Paediatric Emergency Consultant currently doing volunteer work at the Lao Friends Hospital for Children in Northern Laos.
Here are a few examples as to why we are trying to help him.
"This is a newborn with sepsis and a high chance of dying in this developing part of the world. I have very little equipment to resuscitate it with if it gets sicker. I will stay by its side even if I'm ill-equipped to do so."
"I lost one to sepsis last week (because) I couldn't ventilate him (no infant size ETTs and no working ventilator). His family took him back to his village to die when I told them I could not save him. It was a lie cos I could have saved him IF I had the right equipment. They did not complain; they just took him home despite me begging them to stay. We called the next day and his father told us that he died overnight. It hurt bad that day. Why should a baby's chance of surviving it's first year of life come down to the luck of where it is born in this world?"
We are in the process of collecting medical equipment donated by the hospitals, in order of desparation/most needed:
1. Manual Intraosseus Needles - for children who are in shock and cannot be cannulated due to poor vascular access)
2. Uncuffed size 3.0 and upwards endotracheal tubes (ETTs) - there is only cuffed ones available
3. Bag Valve Masks - to provide life saving oxygen directly to the patient (there is only one for the entire hospital)
4. Laryngoscopes - intubations are currently being done blindly
5. Chest drains or 16g IV cannulas and 3-way taps - to treat children with tuberculosis (TB) pleural effusions (fluid in the lungs)
6. Spinal needles of any size for lumbar puncture (currently there is only one size "blue" available in the hospital)
Due to the unreliable postal service in Laos (and most developing countries) and the maximum acceptable postal weight of 30kg by Australia Post (any higher and the cost becomes exorbitant) we are sending one person over to Luang Prabang, Laos to personally deliver the equipment to the hospital.
A return ticket (one lay-over, fastest traveling time) will cost around $1,500. Standard excess baggage cost is around $30/kg over the free check-in weight of 30kg (varies between air lines). We estimate baggage cost to be rougly $300-600 (depending on how much/weight of equipment). Final costs will be posted so all donors are updated on our progress. Any excess money we raise will go towards buying more equipment.
The dream outcome will be to buy a ventilator for the entire hospital. We have the man power and expertise to provide on-going education to the local doctors and nurses on the use of all equipment being requested.
We need to get the equipment to these children ASAP so lets help and do what we can.