School opens their heart to hospital

The new ECG machine, which is used to monitor the heart, at Somerset Hospital was donated by the Parents and Friends Committee of Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard.

Staff at the Somerset Hospital in Green Point were handed a brand-new ECG machine, valued between R50 000 and R70 000 by representatives of Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard this week.

Liza Coetzee, chairwoman of the Parents and Friends Committee of Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard, said the committee hosted two fundraising events a year, the proceeds of which go directly to a list of charity organisations chosen by the committee.

She added that in 2016 they raised close to R400 000.

“We had money available, so we contacted the hospital and asked them what they needed. We were told that they need an ECG machine. Somerset Hospital has always been one of the charities we support because it’s in our area.”

Dr Roger Dickerson, head of the emergency centre at New Somerset Hospital, said the centre saw anything from 125 to 150 patients a day.

He said the ECG machine was used for a wide variety of patients and monitors the electrical activity of the heart.

“It looks at the activity of the heart from 12 different angles to see if there is a problem and identify where the problem is.

“It is a vital tool in the management of patients. We have a look at the patients and then admit them to the appropriate ward. It’s about saving a life and stabilising them.”

He thanked the school’s parent committee for donating the machine.

“We are certainly grateful for all donations and there is no doubt that donations help us provide quality care for our patients,” said Dr Dickerson.

“It improves the quality of care but also the time that we are able to provide the care in. Emergency medicine is very much a time-based discipline and no delays makes a big difference, and having access to superior technology makes a big difference.”

He said the department did have one very old ECG machine and that the new machine would perform its functions a lot quicker, meaning that “we can provide more care for the patients”.

Dr Donna Stokes, CEO of Somerset Hospital, emphasised their gratitude, saying that funding could sometimes be a challenge.