Bringing Life To Dangerously Ill Babies
Sally Rodger recalls how readers’ cash transformed a Romanian clinic and saved countless tiny lives
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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”