In October, supported partially by the Brindabella E-CLUB, we traveled to the National Referral Hospital in Honiara. Our theatre nurse, Lisa had to pull out suddenly, so it was a reduced team of four who ventured overseas.

As we have taken to doing, we started our preoperative surgical clinic two hours after landing. Two of our surgeons, David Croaker, Celine Hamid and James French our anaesthetist, were joined by Dr Rooney Jagilly, the Chief of Surgery of National Referral Hospital. 50 children were assessed for surgery or follow up after our May visit, this time we finished up by 7.30pm, (a much more civilised time), having run the clinic until 10.45pm in May.

patients at Honiara

The following day, Dr Celine Hamid finished the clinic, again assessing another 10 children. As word spread that we were back in town, families brought their children daily and sat patiently outside theatres for the surgeons to come and assess each child in-between cases.

My role as always is preoperative and postoperative care of the children while educating the nurses on the Children’s ward. On day five of our visit, I was caring for the children on the ward, when in came a whirling dervish who threw her arms around me and gave me a hug.

I put my hands out to the side and asked, “Who are you?”

The response was, “Delrisa!” 

As you can see from the photo, she is a beautiful girl. Delrisa had her cancerous kidney removed by David Croaker and Rajay Rampersad in May, when the Rotary Club of Hall sponsored us. On this day, six months later, she received her scan and was notified she was cancer free.

To top it off, in May there was a three-year-old boy named Marcus who we were told had inoperable cancer; his tumour was too big.

Marcus was administered chemotherapy over the following six months; which, as anyone knows, is a miserable thing to undergo, and by our visit, his tumour had shrunk to a size David and Dr Celine Hamid deemed was operable.

The photo at the top of the page is of the author with Marcus and Delrisa, Day four after his operation, just as he’s about to be discharged.

The surgeons again operated on 30 children and I assisted with an emergency burns case.

We look forward to going back to the Solomons in May and October of next year.

Thank you to all of you for choosing to support us this year.

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your families.

Liz Hearn RN

Paediatric Surgical Specialist Team