Bring­ing Life To Dan­ger­ously Ill Ba­bies

Sally Rodger re­calls how read­ers’ cash trans­formed a Ro­ma­nian clinic and saved count­less tiny lives

My Weekly - - Contents -

Help­ing Hand Ap­peal 2018

When we first came across Dr Car­men Cul­chiti, she was run­ning a unit for ba­bies suf­fer­ing from Mus­cu­lar Dys­tro­phy. Although she was ded­i­cated to her pa­tients, she told us that the only med­i­cal equip­ment she had was the stetho­scope round her neck.

We brought shoe­boxes of gifts for the ba­bies and do­nated a blood gas anal­yser which, Dr Cul­chiti told us, saved the lives of many ba­bies in its first year alone.

Due in part to this piece of equip­ment, the unit was re­named as a Mal­nu­tri­tion Clinic and be­gan to help more chil­dren un­der three with mal­nu­tri­tion (caused by a range of health con­di­tions) and di­ges­tive dis­or­ders – the only place with this spe­cial­i­sa­tion in the whole of Ro­ma­nia at the time.

Next we gave them an ar­ti­fi­cial feed­ing pump and sent Dr Cul­chiti on a course in Paris to learn how to use it ef­fec­tively. “Be­cause of this valu­able train­ing, I have been able to train the staff here in all as­pects of clin­i­cal nu­tri­tion,” she told us at the time. The pump saved the lives of 12 ba­bies in its first six months of use.

We do­nated a small com­puter to al­low con­tact with other mal­nu­tri­tion ex­perts across Europe, as there was no one else in Ro­ma­nia with this ex­per­tise.

We fol­lowed with an­other pump as de­mand was out­strip­ping sup­ply, as well as an echocar­dio­graph ma­chine used in treat­ing ba­bies with heart prob­lems. This was when ba­bies who had un­der­gone heart surgery be­gan to be sent here to re­cover, as they could get the best care.

Dr Cul­chiti had to open a new ward in the clinic, be­cause her clinic was recog­nised as the best in the coun­try.

A LAST­ING LEGACY

Sally Wood-La­mont re­cently caught up with Dr Cul­chiti, who told her that the Mal­nu­tri­tion Clinic be­came part of the 3rd Pe­di­atric Clinic in 2011.

She re­mem­bers ap­pre­cia­tively the aid and as­sis­tance she re­ceived from My Weekly.

“It made huge and es­sen­tial changes at that time in our unit. No­body was pay­ing at­ten­tion to us, as mal­nu­tri­tion treat­ment was not con­sid­ered a noble con­cern. The My Weekly project and Mr Har­ri­son Wat­son cat­e­gor­i­cally con­sti­tuted the ma­te­rial ba­sis for start­ing a mod­ern med­i­cal pro­gramme to pre­vent and treat child mal­nu­tri­tion in our hos­pi­tal – in fact, in Ro­ma­nia!

“The project pro­vided us with the ba­sic equip­ment nec­es­sary for clin­i­cal nu­tri­tion, lab­o­ra­tory di­ag­no­sis and mon­i­tor­ing of the pa­tient. All the ap­pli­ances were new and cut­ting-edge.

“Although our move has re­duced the num­ber of beds, the cases we take care of to­day are com­plex and the nu­tri­tion tech­niques we use are ac­cord­ing to the mod­ern pro­to­cols rec­om­mended by Eu­ro­pean and Amer­i­can so­ci­eties for clin­i­cal nu­tri­tion.

“We are cur­rently tak­ing care of chil­dren with neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­eases, con­gen­i­tal mal­for­ma­tions, meta­bolic dis­eases, se­vere eat­ing dis­or­ders, etc, who need nu­tri­tion on med­i­cal de­vices (tubes) or spe­cial foods for med­i­cal pur­poses. We shall al­ways re­mem­ber My Weekly’s team of friends and, frankly, ev­ery­one on our med­i­cal team re­mains very grate­ful to you all!”

“My Weekly’s aid made huge and es­sen­tial changes in our unit”

Doc­tor Cul­chiti

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