Joint partnership changes lives

2016-05-31 11:06
Taking their first steps to freedom from joint pain after their operations at Groote Schuur Hospital are, from left, Deon de Bruyn, Anthea Jacobs and Jasper Hartog.PHOTO: gary van dyk

Taking their first steps to freedom from joint pain after their operations at Groote Schuur Hospital are, from left, Deon de Bruyn, Anthea Jacobs and Jasper Hartog.PHOTO: gary van dyk (Gary van Dyk)

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Three patients from Groote Schuur Hospital, who have been waiting for a hip replacement for more than three years, were able to walk out of hospital and into their new lives on crutches last Wednesday.

They were the first to benefit from a partnership between private sector partners and the Western Cape Government Health Department that aims to address the waiting list for joint replacements.

Called The Joint Project, this initiative funds a single theatre day in a state hospital allowing for four joint surgeries in theatre.
This time around one of the patients desperately needed a bilateral hip replacement, meaning both hips, so in this event three patients were operated, although four surgeries were done.
The three patients who benefited are all younger than 50 and have lived limited lives for some years now.
Through the additional funding, this initiative also allows surgeons in training the exposure to assist with or do joint surgeries. Surgeons in training need to do at least 40 joint surgeries towards their surgery qualification.
In this manner the project also addresses the challenge of qualifying doctors for medical practice.

The three patients who benefitted from the surgery were:

Deon de Bruyn (47) from Lakeside who suffered from a hip deformity since childhood and the painful onset of arthritis in his twenties.
He travels every day by train from his flat in Lakeside to his place of employment as a security guard in Ndabeni.
Pain is a part of his daily life, taking batches of painkillers three times a day.
Since the beginning of this year he used a walking stick to support his gait, and to help him get on the train.
The bilateral hip replacement, meaning both hips were replaced, will relieve him of years of debilitating pain and within three months he will be able to have a normal life, even take up sport.

Anthea Jacobs, only 37, is a housewife from Ottery suffering from avascular necrosis (AVN) of the femoral head for the past 10 years. AVN is a pathologic process that results from the interruption of blood supply to the bone.
After 10 years of a life in pain, Jacobs will return home and have an active life with her family again. She is married and has four children.

Jasper Hartog (58) lives in Hout Bay and is also relieved to have had a hip replacement after years of pain caused by arthritis.

The patients were admitted to Groote Schuur hospital on Thursday 19 May, and underwent the surgeries on Friday 20 May.
Physiotherapy plays a significant role in the recovery time and the patient’s ability to walk normally again. These patients will undergo intense physiotherapy for the next two to three months, at which time they should be able to lead normal lives.

“We have seen an increase in patients requiring joint operations, but the demand and pressure to have these operations done outstrip the available capacity and funds at our hospitals,” says Dr Bhavna Patel, CEO of Groote Schuur hospital.
“However, through interventions and partnerships like these, we are able to help a few more patients to live normal lives again.”

In his address, Theuns Botha, founder and director of Spear Health, said this type of surgery is widely recognised as one of the most successful operations. “It is sad that the state does not have the resources to match the demand. In the Western Cape the waiting list stands at 4000, and in the country estimated at 35 000. Through The Joint Project we want to create capacity for more joint surgeries, and invite potential funders to join our cause.”

The partners joining hands for the project are the Western Cape Government Department of Health, Groote Schuur Hospital, the Joint Care Trust, Johnson & Johnson and Drs Schnetler, Corbett & Partners.

The project is facilitated by Spear Health, recently established by Botha, former Western Cape Minister of Health, to source funding in the private sector for vulnerable state patients who fall outside of government’s budget net.
In order to have one theatre day per month, Spear Health needs more funders to join hands for The Joint Project, and invites corporates or individuals to contact them for this cause.

  • For more information call Hélène Rossouw on 082 771 8834.

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