Posted on 22 October, 2014

We are well into surgery this week with 8 open heart cases already completed. Once an operation is finished, patients are then transferred to the Intensive care Unit (ICU).

This trip, the wonderful Clinical Nurse Specialist, Michelle Hughes is in charge of the OHI volunteer Intensive Care team as well as the OHIUnit at Angkor Hospital for Children. Back in Australia, she is acting Nursing Unit Manager at Sydney Children’s Hospital at Randwick.


This is Michelle’s third trip; she joined the team for the first time in October last year and said she was instantly hooked. Michelle says her role here in Cambodia is just so rewarding because she has the opportunity to help children who would otherwise have no chance.

“No child is more important than any other, but these kids wouldn’t have this care if we didn’t come.”

While her work in the ICUis rewarding it isn’t without its challenges she said.

“I am an educator here for the local nurses, not the primary carer like I would be at home, so it gets frustrating not being able to get-in-there and do things yourself….Everything takes so much longer as you need to take time to explain everything beforehand as well as when you are doing it…Working in an unfamiliar environment without the usual modern equipment around is a real challenge too.”

Our OHI heart patients stay in ICU and under Michelle and the teams care for 24 hours following surgery. There they are connected to drips, a ventilator and cardiac drains to collect the blood.

“I love caring for the patients while they are in ICU, but what is most rewarding is taking out all of the drains and walking them to down to the ward knowing that are a step closer to living a normal life.”


In other news, Vath, a repeat OHI patient,(click here for vaths story has been screened and accepted for surgery! He is next to go into theatre and soon will bein Michelle’s caring hands soon.


Tags:  Cambodia,