One hundred Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital patients had their waiting time for a gastroscopy cut by four months.
This was thanks to a Mandela Day initiative which saw doctors and nurses, volunteer their time to complete 100 gastroscopies between 7am and 4pm on Friday July 19.
The almost 10-minute procedure involves a doctor inserting a thin flexible tube with a camera at the end, via the mouth, to look inside the oesophagus, stomach and first part of the small intestine – to check for infection, ulcer and screen for cancer.
Equipment and refreshments were borrowed and donated respectively to help medical staff examine patients speedily.
Registered nurse Gyroeniza Komane, who had organised the gastroscopy blitz, said patients seen in March had been scheduled for a “g-scope” in November.
On any given day the general surgery unit can only accommodate fewer than 20 scopes.
“This is mainly because the hospital does not have enough hands and time to attend to patients speedily.
“Should a patient require a g-scope, the next available appointment will only be in November. There is an increase in the amount of patients that need a g-scope,” she said.
Ms Komane said night shift staff also put on their gloves on and professionals, who trained in her department, now in private practice, returned to give back.
Marcus Medical, Pentax Medical and Olympus Medical Systems provided the equipment.
“We appreciate their efforts to help with this day,” said Ms Komane.
She said assisting patients was her main priority.
“I get sad when I hear patients are not being seen at state facilities. It is simply not true because we see to all of our patients here,” she said.
Ms Komane said the tests enabled them to diagnose and treat patients speedily.
Christie Theunissen, 67, from Lentegeur, was one such patient, she was scheduled for a follow-up appointment and given medication, which could be more expensive elsewhere.
Ms Theunissen said she was lucky in that she had abdominal pain and acid reflux for about a month.
“I now know what is wrong and I can get treatment,” she said.
Charleen Jacobs, 35, from Beacon Valley, who has two children, was scheduled for a procedure almost immediately because she had difficulty swallowing.