“I commend each one of our nursing and midwifery graduates for completing their studies and wish them a fulfilled and satisfying career in nursing and midwifery.” – Western Sydney Local Health District executive director or nursing and midwifery Joanne Edwards.
Nursing numbers in western Sydney get a boost in February with 236 graduate nurses and midwives joining Western Sydney Local Health District. Westmead Hospital welcomed 34 nurses and 15 midwives with another 51 recruits joining the ranks in March and May. Twenty one new nurses were already on the job at Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals with another 38 nurses joining their new colleagues in May.
“Apart from the stresses of dealing with my illness, there are unavoidable travel and transport costs associated with my care. So having one less thing like parking to worry about is a big relief.” – Blacktown Hospital patient John Riffel.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Health Brad Hazzard marked the completion of Blacktown Hospital’s new $18 million multi-storey car park expansion. More than 400 spaces have been added to the multi-storey carpark, building on the 600 spaces opened in 2014.
“I looked after a woman who was trying to get pregnant for a long time. After ten years of IVF treatment, she finally got pregnant and it put the biggest smile on my face. Six months after she gave birth, I saw her in our waiting room with her miracle baby. I asked why she was at the clinic and she said, ‘I’m pregnant’.” – Westmead Hospital gynaecologist and fertility specialist Dr Lorance Melhem.
“I’ve still got steps to take to become a surgeon and I’m determined to tackle them all. Sometimes you’re pulling your hair out because you’re so frustrated at how long it takes. It’s always difficult when you start but if you work hard and persist, everyone will get there in the end.” - Surgical registrar on rotation at Auburn Hospital Oleksandr Khoma
Oleksandr moved to Australia from Ukraine ten years ago. He completed a medical degree overseas but sat the exams in Sydney to be recognised in Australia. The process took about two and a half years. He said his time on clinical rotation at Auburn Hospital was a huge highlight of his career.
To mark the Lunar New Year, a baby lion spread colour and excitement across Westmead Hospital to celebrate the occasion. Western Sydney is home to many Asian communities, so two-year-old Kingston Wilde and an adult lion showed staff and patients their impressive lion dancing.
“An unhealthy mouth can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and pneumonia. Keeping your mouth healthy is crucial to keeping it functioning correctly and for maintaining general health.” Westmead Hospital dental officer Dr Michelle McNab.
Westmead Hospital dental officers Dr Ying Tran and Dr Grace Liu promote World Oral Health Day to raise the importance of oral health.
“I was always passionate about medicine and have received enormous satisfaction from my achievements in my profession. I encourage young doctors to enjoy the intellectual stimulation and advances of medicine which will lead to better health.” – Auburn Hospital cardiologist Dr Richard Haber.
The career of Auburn Hospital cardiologist Associate Professor Richard Haber was celebrated at a special ceremony, after completing his final ward rounds.
The highly respected doctor has treated almost 40,000 patients during his 52 years of service.
Professor Haber was inspired to become a doctor and help people after his Polish family narrowly escaped death during the Holocaust.
“Water birthing such a nice experience, much nicer than the birth of my first baby. It was a lot less painful and felt more natural. I would recommend other women try it.” – Hannah Davidson.
Hannah, who is from Ermington, was the 1000th mother to give birth in one of Westmead Hospital’s birthing baths. A water birth is the process of giving birth in a tub or pool of warm water. This method of labour can reduce pain by providing a relaxing environment and lower the stress hormones that increase pain.
“We are running a trial at the Breast Cancer Institute using gene tests to see if it makes a difference in the decision whether or not to give chemotherapy.” - Westmead Breast Cancer Institute director A/Prof Nirmjala Pthmanathan
A new study confirmed that chemotherapy can be safely skipped in a large number of breast cancers. Westmead Breast Cancer Institute is conducting a similar study, to identify women with sufficiently low risk of breast cancer who would not need chemotherapy.
I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I was always sick and had a sore stomach. I was always throwing up after eating. It was horrible. After seeing numerous specialists I was finally told it was Crohn’s disease. Back then they didn’t really know how to treat the disease so I was taking 63 tablets a day.” – Blacktown Hospital patient Ramona Rahme.
Mrs Rahme’s life is more manageable thanks to Blacktown Hospital’s inflammatory bowel clinic. The clinic treats more than 200 patients who require specialist care.
“We should definitely organise more events like this because it makes everyone feel like they’re part of the Australian community. It feels inclusive and very nice, and we always love to share our Kenyan culture.” – Emergency department nurse Andear Labtt.
Westmead Hospital’s emergency department (ED) was filled with the sights and sounds of Kenya to mark Harmony Day. Kenyan nurses dressed in bright cultural attire and presented Kenyan and South Sudanese dishes complete with Kenyan music and a Kenyan dance-off.
“Mount Druitt residents will no longer have to travel for renal services with a first-class dialysis centre on the hospital grounds, which is part of the $700 million plus redevelopment of Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals.” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard officially opened Mount Druitt’s $3.5 million Community Dialysis Centre, marking the completion of Stage 2 of the Mount Druitt Hospital expansion project.
“Having Daniel close made it a lot easier and gave me peace of mind.” – Westmead Hospital cystic fibrosis patient Jaylee Wipti
When new mum Jaylee was due for a five-day stay at Westmead Hospital for her regular cystic fibrosis (CF) ‘tune-up’, staff ensured she could stay in close contact with her four-month-old son Daniel by providing a comfy cot and fresh linen in his mum’s private room.
“Sydney Metro West will become the fastest, easiest and most reliable journey between the Sydney and Parramatta CBDs, which could be as little as 20 minutes.” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance announce that the Sydney Metro West mega railway project will include an underground station at Westmead, delivering more travel benefits to greater western Sydney.
To mark National Close the Gap Day 2018, our health services held events at our hospitals and encouraged staff members to sign the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Close the Gap Day pledge. Western Sydney Local Health District executive director operations Robynne Cooke, Aboriginal liason officer Yvonne To’A and Blacktown Hospital acting general manager Jude Constable (pictured) showed their support at Blacktown Hospital’s Close the Gap morning tea.
Nine-month-old Elijah Madour has his hands full of Easter eggs at Mount Druitt Hospital. Each year without fail, just like the Easter Bunny, the Western Sydney Woodturners visit the Children’s Ward to spoil our youngest patients with hand made wooden bowls filled with eggs. With Mum or Dad’s permission of course!
“I’m so grateful for what the doctors have done for me. I couldn’t feel any better right now. How do you start to repay something like this? You can say thank you but it just isn’t enough. Doctor Hui has given me a new life. Without what has been offered to me, without her, I wouldn’t be here today.” Westmead Hospital patient Peter Suffolk.
Patient Peter Suffolk celebrated 100 cycles of treatment six years after joining a life-saving trial at Westmead Hospital. Peter was the first lung cancer patient in Australia to take part in a global study investigating immunotherapy drug Keytruda. His team of doctors, led by medical oncologist Associate Professor Rina Hui from the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead, congratulated Peter with a trophy celebrating ‘a century’ of treatment.
“There used to be far fewer women in our speciality and now we make up ten percent of neurosurgeons across Australasia and rising.” – Westmead Hospital neurosurgeon Dr Gemma Olsson
To mark International Women’s Day 2018, women across Western Sydney Local Health District were celebrated. More women than ever are joining Westmead Hospital’s neurosurgery and emergency departments. Pictured: Doctors Jacqueline McMaster, Gemma Olsson, Dianna Li and Sophia Roser.
“He’s my little prince … I love him so much. I didn’t realise that he was born around the same time, he’s very lucky.” - Mother Shaista Ghulam
While a Royal baby was born on the other side of the world, Westmead Hospital welcomed its own little prince at around the same time.
Shaista Ghulam gave birth to her son Ali Haidar Ghulam just hours before The Duchess of Cambridge delivered her baby boy in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London.
“Without intensive counselling on healthy eating and implementing behavioural changes, bariatric patients will likely pile on the weight again.” - Dr Ramy Bishay
The team behind a new multidisciplinary metabolic surgery program at Blacktown Hospital hopes to not only improve patient outcomes and treatments, but gain a better understanding of what drives morbidity.
Endocrinologist and clinical lead, Dr Ramy Bishay said at least two-thirds of people in the western Sydney are overweight or obese. Patients are required to complete a three-month conditioning before deciding if they’ll benefit from bariatric surgery. It is also important to prepare patients for the lifestyle changes that accompany weight loss surgery.
“We always feel a sense of pride when we know our local community are out there doing things that help us look after our patients.”- Westmead Hospital radiation and oncology nursing unit manager Noeline Rozanc
A Western Sydney knitting group put smiles on the faces of cancer patients by donating more than 500 lovingly crafted beanies.
“Sebastian is a very, very happy and energetic little boy … he is now starting to progress because he had such a long time in hospital. He was always attached to a bed and he’s now catching up” - Mother Adriana Fiore
Open heart surgery patient Sebastian came to Mount Druitt Hospital when he was a newborn but he is now starting to live life to the fullest with his mother, Adriana Fiore.
“We are committed to continuing to work hand-in-hand with our community, staff and patients to address barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing healthcare services and employment.” - Former Westmead Redevelopment executive director Leena Singh
Sean Choolburra performs on the didgeridoo at the Westmead Redevelopment legacy strategy launch.
“Your risk of a heart attack or stroke is reduced by half after your first year of being a non-smoker.” - Health Promotion Manager Ms Christine Newman.
Registered nurse Khodor Issa and patient Kassem Abdelkafi exercising at Auburn on World No Tobacco Day.
“We never argue and always listen to each other. I also hug him every day.” - Jill Ferrick
Donald Ferrick’s stay at Westmead Hospital was enriched by his beautiful wife of 62 years, Jill Ferrick. Mr Ferrick, a long-time melanoma sufferer, was recovering from surgery following an arm fracture.
Our staff cooking up a storm at the International Nurses Day BBQ’s held at Mount Druitt, Blacktown and Westmead hospitals.
“People would ask me how I’d get past working so closely with mum … work is work, you can’t let family get in the way and we don’t discuss family issues at work. When we work together we understand each other really well.” - Registered nurse Maridy Morrison
Intensive care nurses Maridy Morrison and Marizon Villanueva have worked in the same hospital, team and ward for almost 20 years. Maridy said that when she started her job as a nurse in Westmead Hospital’s intensive care unit where mum Marizon worked, people had a lot of questions. Marking the end of an era, Maridy has now taken on a role with Westmead Hospital’s nursing executive as a clinical nurse educator.
Free flu jabs were provided to more than 100 people at Mount Druitt’s Dawson Mall and the Mount Druitt Health Hub, ahead of the winter season.
Registered nurse Lisa Irvine gives toddler Myrah Manjreicar a flu shot with his mother Rina Raut.
Blacktown Hospital’s Midwifery Group Practice held their bi-annual reunion for new mums and their families. Midwife Carina Costello said the reunions are held to enable interaction and relationships between women who have given birth a Blacktown Hospital and are in similar life stages and situations.
“Ramadan is part of the Islamic faith... it is one of the five Islam pillars and it is compulsory for all Muslims. Fasting helps me feel what other people and children feel when they have no food. When I fast my heart becomes softer and I have greater empathy and awareness of other people who may not be as well off as I am.” - Westmead Hospital registered nurse Ally Baccus.
“Having conquered the highest mountain peak in North America at more than 6100m, mountaineering has helped me focus on what matters and the way I process things is different. It’s made me more real as a person.” - Westmead Hospital vascular surgeon Dr Delfino Di Mascio
Dr Di Mascio specialises in vascular conditions. He undertook his internship and residency at Westmead where he also completed two years of general surgical training prior to vascular surgery. One of his patients, Ive Perinic, was happy to be reunited with his surgeon after the procedure.
“Our staff are so committed that they managed to improve performance even when confronted with the big numbers in emergency departments. We recognise we still have work to do refining the way we deliver our healthcare but the improvement is outstanding.” - Western Sydney Local Health District chief executive Danny O’Connor.
Western Sydney public hospitals hit a performance high despite record demand, according to data from the Bureau of Health Information (BHI). Hospitals performed strongly against treatment time targets in the face of big increases in presentations, particularly in emergency departments. Performance improved at Blacktown and Westmead hospitals after an initiative called Project RED redesigned emergency department service delivery.
Westmead Hospital mechanical fitter John Jensen (or JJ as he was affectionately known) retired in July after more than 39 years in the maintenance department.
His colleagues describe him as a quality tradesman, precision machinist and excellent welder.
John was responsible for maintaining production and the distribution of medical air throughout the wards and departments of the hospital.
He repaired pumps, sterilisers, pan sanitisers and other equipment and had the ability to design, manufacture and invent equipment that did not exist, to make the impossible possible.
JJ is enjoying the life of retirement in the country town of Cowra by regularly playing golf and doing a few odd jobs here and there to keep himself busy.
“Danny’s passion and dedication to ensuring we do the very best for our patients, families and teams being at the
forefront of everything we do will be his lasting legacy.” - Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals general manager Sue-Anne Redmond
Staff from Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospital wanted to do something unique to farewell WSLHD chief executive Danny O’Connor.
They took his love of Hawaiian shirts to a new level and found their loudest tropical shirt and wore it to his retirement.
“It’s really going to make a world of difference for me. I’ve been given a new lease on life.” - Patient Heather Schevenhoven
Doonside resident Heather Schevenhoven was the first patient in WSLHD to receive a leadless pacemaker. It attaches directly to the heart wall and does not need thin wires or leads.
The pacemaker, which is the size of a large vitamin and weighs less than a coin, does not require the creation of a surgical “pocket” under the skin. This reduces potential complications and it also slashes the recovery time.
The procedure offers hope to patients who may not have been able to receive a traditional pacemaker.
Professor Peter Castaldi was a man who played many parts in the Westmead Hospital story – all of them important and all of them achieved with the consummate skill and attention to detail that all who knew him expected.
First and foremost, he was appointed our inaugural Professor of Medicine and had responsibility for medical care when the hospital first opened its doors. Professor Castaldi set the tone for high quality care, high quality education and high quality research in one location in the west of Sydney where there had previously been only small local district hospital care.
Professor Castaldi passed away after months of ill health. He bore this with dignity and privacy, to the end a distinguished physician, an inspiring and thoughtful leader and a man to whom we all owe a great debt of gratitude for creating the healthcare system in western Sydney that we work in today.
“Hospital Week is a great way to book-end the 40 years that Westmead Hospital has been serving NSW, and to look forward to the redevelopment taking us through the next 40 years.”- Westmead Association President Professor Dominic Dwyer
Australia’s leading health minds came together at Hospital Week (August 29-31), where more than 100 presentations showcased the latest in medical advancements and health research. New treatments and future insights into organ transplantation, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, emergency medicine and cancer were all on display.
Westmead Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) launched the Heart to Heart program to help parents and their baby cope with separation.
The program involves soft fabric hearts are worn against the parent’s skin to absorb their scent. When parents cannot be close to their baby, the heart can be placed with the baby, so they know the parent is always with them. The familiar scent of the mother helps provide a calming environment for the baby. Pictured here is Westmead Hospital NICU mother Nora Parvez and her newborn Kai Parvez.
“We’ve seen the construction work and looked at artists’ impressions of patient rooms and other spaces, but this is a chance for people to actually stand inside a replica operating theatre or staff station and get an understanding of what it will look like in the new building.” - Westmead Hospital general manager Brett Thompson
The Westmead Redevelopment team’s new prototype rooms are getting the first official visitors, with the WSLHD Board and key executives from across the Westmead precinct checking out the new space.
The prototype rooms, designed to be identical replicas of some of the spaces inside Westmead’s new hospital building, have been under construction for several months.
“Our digital theatre is fully equipped for complex surgeries … Blacktown Hospital is a very special building and we’re ready for what the future of healthcare brings.” - Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals director division of surgery and anaesthetics Professor Michael Edye
Professor Edye supports the advances of the technology introduced to Blacktown Hospital in particular the digital theatre which provides many benefits to clinicians and patients.
More than 9,000 patients undergo surgery at Blacktown Hospital every year.
More than 300 people frock up for the 2018 WSLHD Quality Awards. Trophies are awarded, champagne is sipped and we celebrate our finest advances.
WSLHD health services welcomed more than 130 new migrants and refugees at a Hello Doctor display in Mount Druitt. The showcase included services for drug and alcohol, mental health and cervical screening to encourage newly arrived migrants to undergo regular health checks.
And the Refugee Women’s Health Expo held in Blacktown was an opportunity for refugee women from western Sydney to learn about health and lifestyle services.
“In a place like Mount Druitt Hospital you’ve got Australians now able to access important medical treatments.” - Prime Minister Scott Morrison
The community of western Sydney will now have greater access to important scans from Mount Druitt Hospital’s state-of-the-art MRI machine. The Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard visited Mount Druitt Hospital to announce that the facility’s MRI machine will be Medicare-licensed.
Auburn Hospital is the first health facility in New South Wales to go live with eFluids, an electronic system for fluid orders and drug infusions.
Instead of using paper, clinicians will be using an electronic fluid balance chart for intravenous fluids to manage medications.
Blacktown, Mount Druitt and Westmead Hospitals will get their digital upgrades in 2019.
For the past 13 years Auburn Hospital’s Barbara Chapman and Western Sydney University’s masters student Alex Roberts have been waging their own war on waste. Together they are making a difference not only for the environment but for people struggling in the developing world by recycling millions of cans and bottles through their Cans for Kids project at Auburn Hospital. Building on the success of the project, staff have been collecting and redirecting reusable items.
Auburn operating theatres first orthopaedics knee patient.
Nicholas Nahloos was treated by physiotherapist, Jaclyn Allwood.
“Having Type 1 (T1) diabetes, you’ve got to be so careful with what you are eating, every day, you’re constantly reading food labels to look at sugar content, carb content, you name it.” - Corporate Communications Policy and Strategic Planning manager Nikki Woloszuk
Working in corporate communications at the Western Sydney Local Health District, Nikki puts her skills as a Policy and Strategic Planning Manager to use in her own life. Nikki require daily injections of insulin and regular blood glucose readings. She now has an online blog which is a go-to for those with diabetes, looking for some tasty options.
“It’s a big surgery, this knee replacement one - very rewarding as well, the patients feel the results straight away. Normally the patient is able to walk the same day after surgery” - Dr Bu Balalla
Theatre staff at Auburn Hospital prepare for a knee replacement surgery. The surgeons wear suits similar to ‘astronauts’ which grab the attention of other nursing staff within the surgical ward.
Surgeon Dr Bu Balalla manoeuvres the tools with grace, his hands move in a hypnotic pace to find the best angles for the procedure. Like an artist, he sculpts bones with precision. The patient’s knee is repaired.
A medical device to prevent jaundice in infants and which projects a blue light has been donated to Blacktown Hospital’s special care unit. Jaundice is a yellowish discolouration which can appear on the skin and the white area of the eye. If jaundice is not treated correctly, there can be devastating effects such as cerebral palsy, deafness and/or brain damage. Here registered nurse Neil Santiago cares for baby Prasad.
“We believed clinical care is best delivered with teaching, training and research. That was the mantra of our founding professors of medicine and surgery, the late Professor Peter Castaldi AO and Professor Miles Little.” - Westmead Hospital’s clinical immunology director and a Westmead ‘original’ Professor Graeme Stewart
Built on a former race track and populated by young staff bursting with enthusiasm and energy, Westmead Hospital officially opened its doors on 10 November, 1978 to patients.
On Saturday, 10 November, 2018 we celebrated 40 years of success and achievements with the hospital’s first-ever baby born and some of the longest serving staff. The celebrations coincided with the hospital’s open day and a visit from the NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
Everyone enjoyed the historical video and memorabilia including nursing uniforms and medical equipment.
“The greatest change I have seen is in the culture of safety. In anaesthesia, there have been new drugs, new equipment and new ideas since anaesthetics revolutionised surgery in the 1800s. Back then, it was like a miracle. Now, anaesthesia is increasingly becoming an exemplar of what a culture of safety looks like.”- Head of anaesthesia and perioperative medicine at Westmead Hospital, Dr Mark Priestley
Dr Mark Priestley’s connection with Westmead Hospital began in 1983.
“The unWired Project has the potential to transform lives. It is going to connect with young people’s love of devices and technology to bring us to the frontier of mental health monitoring and treatment.” - WSLHD executive director mental health services Associate Professor Beth Kotze
In an Australian-first pilot in western Sydney, wearable devices will be texsted as a way to support young people with severe mental illness.
WSLHD Youth Council member Stephanie D’Souza showcasing the wearable device on her left wrist, sits here with Associate Professor Kotze.
The device will measure a patient’s activity and give them and their carers feedback on their level of stress, to support early interventions.
The program, called the unWired Project, has been made possible thanks to a donation from the Balnaves Foundation.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas especially in the maternity ward at Westmead Hospital, with these three little wrapped presents that anyone would want under their Christmas tree.
Naughty or nice? Everyone agreed on ‘nice’.