The corridors of Durban’s landmark Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital were abuzz with excitement as the local ‘grande dame’ of hospitals commemorated its 125th jubilee recently, with doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals and patients all joining in the celebration.
Commenting on the anniversary, Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital general manager, Heinrich Venter said: “We are delighted and proud to be celebrating this very special occasion. The hospital has made a great contribution in the community over the years, with staff having cared for and touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients and their families.”
“Today the hospital remains a beacon of hope for the people of Durban and indeed from further afield, who continue to rely on its specialised, world-class healthcare services. The 125th anniversary is a milestone for the hospital, and it is most gratifying to know that we are a part of such a rich legacy.”
One of the oldest hospitals in the country, Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital developed from humble beginnings as it was initially established in 1892 by nine Augustinian sisters from France as a sanatorium to treat tuberculosis patients.
The regional director of Netcare’s coastal region, Craig Murphy, says that ‘The San’, as it is often affectionately referred to, has become an integral part of the community, which it has served with distinction and dedication, and has played an important role in the development of private medicine within KwaZulu-Natal.
“The 464-bed facility is widely acknowledged to be a premier private hospital in the province, and has won numerous external awards for service excellence over the years,” he notes.
“The medical practitioners, other healthcare professionals, nurses, administrative and services staff who have worked at the hospital through the years deserve praise for their dedication, commitment, professionalism and the outstanding levels of care that they have provided to patients,” observes Murphy.
“The hospital has been a constant and reassuring presence for the sick and injured in the greater Durban area,” affirms Dr Leon Rajah, an orthopaedic surgeon and chairman of the hospital’s Physicians Advisory Board. “While rapidly advancing technology has allowed us to provide better and better care, we remain committed to always maintaining our caring human touch.”
Ruth Naude, a recently retired registered nurse who served in the paediatric ward of the hospital for 35 years, remembers her time at the historic facility with the greatest fondness.
“When my son was born prematurely and diagnosed with Down syndrome, the support, understanding and love received from the entire hospital was wonderful, and this certainly helped to get me through a most difficult time.
“I once nursed a critically ill baby girl who had lost her hearing due to meningitis. Her parents returned to see me when she was two years old, and again after she had matriculated and was about to enter university, to let me know how well she had progressed. These were among my most rewarding and memorable occasions of my time at the hospital.”
ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon, Dr Walter R Hackmann, says he is proud to have been a part of the St Augustine’s family for the past 50 years.
“I feel most privileged to have spent my entire ENT career at this outstanding institution and grateful to have had the assistance and co-operation of managers and staff members throughout my time at the hospital,” he observes.
“I have always felt confident and reassured by the excellent levels of care provided by the facility to my patients and the citizens of the City of Durban.”
Venter says that Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital has shown a high degree of innovation throughout its long history. In 1982, a full body scanner – highly sophisticated technology for its time — was introduced.
Another significant milestone included performing the first laser angioplasty in KwaZulu-Natal. In 2000 Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital became the first hospital in Durban to open a hyperbaric medicine centre to treat conditions such as air or gas embolism; decompression sickness and carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning, among others.
“Working in a hospital environment requires engaging with people when they are at their most vulnerable. It is only thanks to the compassion and kindness of those who have worked here throughout the years and also today, that Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital has built up a reputation for quality care and service excellence,” he adds.
“We at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital will strive to uphold and deliver on Netcare’s values of care, dignity, participation, truth and passion, and this is evident in the commitment and professionalism that the staff and doctors bring to their work every day,” he concludes.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of the Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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