Oncologist Dr. Belinda Yeoh and a patient


Heart warming patient warming donation

'Heart warming' patient warming donation

3 December 2018

Mark Verschuur heads up a medical equipment manufacturing company with 100 staff. But he recently found that he was the one needing medical help when he was admitted to Austin Health to undergo a liver transplant.

Mark quickly learned that the team responsible for his surgery had been working on ways to improve outcomes for patients by ensuring they stay warm during their operation. And one of the products they were trialling was a patient warming system distributed by his company, Fairmont Medical.

Following a successful liver transplant, Mark decided to make sure others could benefit from the equipment by donating the $30 000 system to help warm patients during surgery.

"My family and I are eternally grateful for the work of the staff at Austin Health and for the care I received," Mark said.

"As I was recovering from the transplant, I said to my wife 'we should give them the equipment they need', so that's what we did.

"We are very fortunate to have a world class facility like the Austin here in Melbourne and we hope the donation can play a part in helping others in the community who need surgery," he said.

Professor Philip Peyton, Head of Anaesthesia Research at Austin Health, said patients can suffer complications if their body temperature drops too far during surgery, particularly long operations.

"A specialist group of Austin Health staff came together to look at different ways to keep patients warm in theatre," Professor Peyton said.

"One of our initiatives was to trial test the effectiveness of putting patients on different underbody warming mattresses during surgery.

"After we reviewed feedback from our staff and the investigated the patient outcomes we chose the system supplied by Fairmont Medical. But before we had even had the chance to buy it we got a call to say Mark had just had his surgery and that Fairmont would be happy to make a donation.

"This was an amazing gesture and one that has given our staff an enormous thrill.

"We work together to care for patients every day without ever expecting this type of donation will come at the end of it, but when it does it's a fantastic boost for everyone involved.

"We thank Mark and the team at Fairmont Medical for their generosity and look forward to future patients receiving the benefits the warming system provides," Professor Peyton said.

Every year donations allow Austin Health to purchase millions of dollars' worth of medical equipment for patients.

All donations of $2 are tax deductible and anyone can make a donation by visiting the Support Us page on the Austin Health website - www.austin.org.au/landingpage?ID=3146