Posted on 17 February, 2020

Saturday 22nd February 2020

Friday saw the final two surgical cases complete, with a total of 13 patients receiving life-changing surgery over the course of the week. Now with the final patients recovering well in ICU and the ward, today allowed time for both the local and Open Heart International (OHI) team to set aside some time to debrief and pack up.

The debrief meeting saw time for reflections on the week that was as well as discussions around the future of the project.It was great to hear lots of conversations around the education focus and how to continually strengthen this. All of these goal pointing directly to the main goal of eventually having a sufficient cardiac program here at Port Moresby General Hospital. If they continue at this rate, it won’t be long!

And then as always the goodbyes start. Thehugs, hi-fives and selfies begin as it is time for the majority of the team to say goodbye!

Ward nurse ,Suzanne Bedford and ICU nurse, Blaise Donnelly are staying behind for a couple of days to keep an eye on the final patients that were operated on. The team can leave knowing that the patients are in good hands with the local team as well as the additional support.I think it safe to say that it is yet another successful project. Until July PNG!

Friday 21st February 2020

The Cronulla Shark and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs took time out of their busy schedule to drop by Port Moresby General Hospital to say hi to the patients and families.

They definitely won a few new fans over here in Papua New Guinea (PNG) as they took time to learn about the Open Heart International (OHI) project and listen to the stories of the patients and their families.

Thank you once again for bringing some smiles to the program as well as gifts for patients, families and the Hospital.

Thursday 20th February 2020

Today saw another 2 cases completed and a full and buzzing ICU. The ward is slowly filling up as the patients are moved from ICU down the hall to the ward.

Our volunteer Intensivist Dr Arjun along with one of our local partners Kathy who works for ‘Operation Open Heart’ in PNG,picked up a very generous cheque from our friends at BSP bank. This donation will make a huge impact on the cardiac project in PNG.


Wednesday 19th February 2020

Today marks the halfway point for the project visit here in Papua New Guinea (PNG), with 6 patients operated on so far and hopefully a total of 9 by the end of the day.

These trips definitely require an element of creative problem solving when issues arise on the fly. The visiting volunteers are often use to more resources available at their their local hospitals back home, so getting creative and being resourceful is just part of the process.

Visiting Biomedical Engineer, Lachlan has been working closely with the local Biomedical team and volunteer ICU nurse, Kiasha to get the monitors in the ICU department customised for the local staff. This customisation will allow productivity and workflow from ICU to the ward, allowing time efficiency and accurate techniques, which will only continue to improve patient care here in PNG.

With a nice rhythm taking place throughout the project and only three full days of surgery left, the team is somewhat on the home stretch.

Many opportunities are presenting themselves for education, even with the recent graduate nurses on the ward.

Local staff Jean, Anita, Brian and Doctor Nicholas were part of the intensive care team, who for the first time, collaboratively took care of an ICU patient without any OHI assistance. An amazing achievement! The continual hard work and studying improve their skills throughout the year is certainly showing.

Tuesday 18th February 2020

Day three here in Papua New Guinea (PNG) saw a more complex surgery on the list for the day. While local surgeon’s Dr Noah Tapaua and Dr Elizabeth Alok have independently done all cases so far (with the guidance and support of volunteer surgeon Dr Ian Nicholson), this case they will be able to assist and learn. It is fantastic to see local staff performing the majority of the surgical procedures and proving that a stand-alone project here in PNG is very possible.

The local anaesthetic and theatre teams here atPort Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) have become regulars when it comes to working with Open Heart International (OHI). Implementing their training and experiences learnt from the project has shown a huge difference in turn around and processes. Along with continual education and skill transfer, and a small assistance from the OHI team, the local team are going from strength to strength in their individual departments.

Same can be said for the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). The ICU nurses have taken the lead and have been running entire patient recovery cases unassisted by OHI staff. It is brilliant to see the progress over the years and can only hope to see this more and more as time goes on!

Physiotherapy has become a larger part of the project now, with local training happening every afternoon particularly specialising in cardiac paediatric education and recovery. This afternoon, team physiotherapist, Emily ran the local physio department through reading patient statistics and specialised areas of cardiac intensive care.

Patients from the past two days have been recovering gradually and increasing their movement and rehabilitation post-surgery, such as, small walks, games and lung exercises. It won’t be long before the hospital is filled with small heart patients running around everywhere you go!

Monday 17th February 2020

It was a long night for some and even longer for others.

Yesterday the first patient of the day was Faustina, which is the younger sister of local nurse, Fa Tima Jerome. Fa Tima has a very young family at home and has been working here on the ward with the Open Heart International (OHI) team. Fa Tima was at the Hospital all day supporting her sister, then worked all night in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Eventually, Fa Tima managed to get some rest and her sister Faustina was the first patient to get out of bed and eventually moved onto the ward.
Surgery is underway for another two patients today with yesterday’s patients recovering in ICU and gradually moving to the ward once stable enough.

The local physiotherapists are working alongside OHI volunteer physiotherapist, Emily Moore. Here in Papua New Guinea (PNG) it’s often less than 24hours after open heart surgery that the patients are being transferred to theward. Getting the patient moving (and their heart and lungs) is a priority for all the teams here in PNG.

Sunday 16th February 2020

The team have landed! 16 volunteers have arrived in Port Moresby over the weekend and have busy unpacking, organising the cases and working out the schedule for the week, no surprises, it was straight off the plane and straight into the work.

Education sessions have been taking place for the past two days (prior to the main team arriving) and will continue throughout the entire project. This is always a great way to start the project.

By mid-morning Sunday both the local and volunteer team have theatres and ICU up and running with the first patient successfully underway. The local team has done an amazing job of getting everything together for the week ahead.

The afternoon comes quickly, with ICU seeing the first patient out of surgery here at Port Moresby General Hospital. The local staff receive hand over and prepare for the second case of the day!