While this has been a difficult year throughout the world there has nevertheless been some cause for celebration at Netcare Sunward Park Hospital when the facility recently commemorated its 30th anniversary.
According to the hospital’s general manager, Dr Zecharai Esterhuizen, the facility has become an integral part of the community through the years. “The hospital has played an important role in the development of private healthcare on the East Rand and nowadays our multi-disciplinary 214-bed facility provides the community with a comprehensive range of quality healthcare services," adds Dr Esterhuizen.
“As we look back with gratitude and satisfaction on the past three decades, I would like to thank the staff and all our colleagues for their dedication and co-operation in developing the hospital,” commented Dr Vic Diab, one of the original founding directors of the hospital. “You have all helped build a ‘monument to healthcare’ in Ekurhuleni, and I wish the management and staff all the best for the future.”
Relating some of the history of the hospital, Dr Esterhuizen said that the idea of the first private hospital in Boksburg came from a group of doctors in 1988, and it was initially met with a great deal of scepticism. They were known as “mad doctors” as it was thought that they were unlikely to succeed in developing such a facility in the area.
The doctors, therefore, subsequently called their company Maddocs Hospital (Pty) Ltd and commenced with the planning of the new hospital. Construction started in 1989, and in 1990 the 84-bed hospital with four ICU beds and four theatres opened its doors to the public. The founding directors who led the Maddocs Hospital project were Dr Sam Rossolimos, Dr Reg Bush, Dr François Schutte, Dr Arrie Grovè, Dr Karen Prins, Dr Frans Coetsee and Dr Vic Diab.
Within a short space of time, the hospital proved its value in fulfilling the needs of the community. Maddocs went on to become a major shareholder in 13 hospitals, listed on the JSE, and was acquired by Netcare in 1997.
A maternity ward, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), paediatric ward and another general ward, as well as a basement parking area were later added to the existing structure. Today, the hospital is a multi-disciplinary facility consisting of a 24-hour emergency department and, amongst others, a bariatric centre, a cardiac catheterisation laboratory, maternity and paediatric units, a renal dialysis unit, interventional radiology department as well as a mother and baby clinic. It now has seven theatres and ICUs for neonatal, paediatric and adult patients.
30 years of medical milestones
In the past 30 years Netcare Sunward Park Hospital has achieved some remarkable milestones. Dr François Schutte, an internationally renowned senior specialist laparoscopic upper gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and bariatric surgeon, and one of the founders of the hospital, heads the accredited Netcare Sunward Park Bariatric Centre of Excellence. He performed one of the very first laparoscopic cholecystectomies in 1992 and has trained both South African and international surgeons in laparoscopic surgery techniques.
Dr Schutte has established a high-resolution manometric and pH laboratory at the hospital and is currently in the process of establishing 5G telemetry surgery in cooperation and consultation with the prestigious international surgical training forum, Advances In Surgery (AIS).
With the introduction of South Africa’s first Olympus articulating high-definition (HD) three-dimensional (3D) laparoscopic surgical video system in 2014, the hospital again clearly demonstrated its commitment to remain at the forefront of healthcare innovation.
Dr Schutte was the first South African surgeon to be invited by the Barcelona, Spain based AIS to perform a live laparoscopic hiatus hernia repair and an anti-reflux procedure, which was live-streamed from Netcare Sunward Park Hospital to a worldwide audience of 115 000 surgeons in October 2018. Since then, the AIS has endorsed the live-streamed technique. Dr Schutte has published several educational teaching videos on hiatus hernia repairs, as well as Roux-en-Y gastric bypasses.
The internationally renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Ivan Schewitz, has also been practising at the hospital since 1990. Dr Schewitz sub-specialised in minimally invasive thoracic surgery, which he introduced to South Africa in 1991. He also launched the minimally invasive Nuss procedure for pectus excavatum (the condition where a person's breastbone is sunken into the chest) in South Africa. At present, Dr Schewitz serves as an executive of the Chest Wall International Group, the Pan-African Thoracic Society and is on the board of the South African Thoracic Society.
The Nuclear Medicine Department was established at the hospital 15 years ago. During the last six years, the Centre of Molecular Imaging and Therapy has been headed by specialist nuclear physician, Dr Thabo Lengana. “Our plans for the future for diagnostics and therapy is to advance the role of molecular imaging and therapy in the hospital, bringing a 24-hour service with the latest advancements in personalised molecular imaging and therapy to the people of the East Rand," he says.
Thank you to our colleagues who stood the test of time
"Some staff members have been with us from the very beginning. Thank you in particular to Bee Kleyn, Adolphina Madonsela, Cheryl Nagel, Idah Themane, Nonhlanhla Mokoena, Anne Midwood, Harriet Tomlinson, Juliana Mashabane, Edith Francisco, as well as the catering team, Josephine Malate, Peggy Radebe and Colley Namo, for your long service and sharing our anniversary with us,” says Dr Esterhuizen.
In celebration of the hospital’s 30-year anniversary, staff decorated the facility in a carnival theme and all departments took part in a cake-decorating competition. Each department received a cake, which they had to cut, shape and decorate. The final products were lined up for judging and a winning cake and department were announced. Rusty the Rhino from Empact Catering services also formed part of the celebration and visited patients and members of staff, bringing much excitement to the young patients in the paediatric ward by handing out colourful balloons and treat boxes to them.
A tribute to our frontline staff
Dr Fanie Beetge, a specialist physician and chairperson of the hospital’s Physician Advisory Board, paid tribute to frontline staff during the hospital’s anniversary celebrations. “We have to take a minute to thank all of you for your commitment and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your vigilance and dedication does not go unnoticed and will be remembered for many years to come.”
Jacques du Plessis, managing director of the Netcare Hospital Division, thanked healthcare practitioners, nurses, administrative and services personnel who have been the backbone of the hospital over the years. “You deserve the highest praise for your dedication, professionalism and the outstanding levels of care that you continue to provide to each patient.
“The dedication of our staff was even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Realistically – and people may not realise it – hospitals with appropriate COVID-19 precautionary measures in place such as we have at Netcare Sunward Park Hospital, are among the safest public places to be. Ongoing vigilance and screening of all persons who enter our facilities remain crucial in keep patients, visitors and staff members safe at all times.
"I wish to commend the staff for living the Netcare values of care, participation, dignity, truth and compassion. It is only through this unwavering commitment that Netcare Sunward Park Hospital has built a reputation for providing our patients with the best and safest care," Du Plessis concludes.
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For more information on this media release, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.
Issued by: MNA on behalf of Netcare Sunward Park Hospital
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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