HNEH Walcha service manager thanks community for $21,000 donation

Dr Deng Abiem with Walcha Hospital Auxiliary president Phillipa Lawrence and members, Hospital manager Douglas Bellamy and Roy Westfold and Col Jenkins from Walcha Legacy
Dr Deng Abiem with Walcha Hospital Auxiliary president Phillipa Lawrence and members, Hospital manager Douglas Bellamy and Roy Westfold and Col Jenkins from Walcha Legacy

Last night the Walcha Hospital Auxiliary committee officially presented the Walcha MPS staff with a diagnostic ultrasound machine worth more than $29,000.

Walcha MPS Visiting Medical Officer Dr Deng Abiem identified the need for the machine and sourced it after the Hospital Auxiliary committee told him of the substantial amount of money they had to spend.

"The Hospital Auxiliary donated $21, 760 towards this equipment," president Phillipa Lawrence said.

"The Walcha branch of Legacy donated $10,000 of this, while another $10,000 was donated anonymously and we added other funds raised from within our community."

Medical ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging technique based on the application of ultrasound. It is used to create an image of internal body structures such as tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels, and internal organs.

Ultrasound refers to sound waves with frequencies which are higher than those audible to humans and ultrasonic images, also known as sonograms, are made by sending pulses of ultrasound into tissue using a probe. The ultrasound pulses echo off tissues with different reflection properties and are recorded and displayed as an image.

Dr Abiem said the ultrasound scanner purchased by the Hospital Auxiliary was much smaller than other models and will make diagnosis even more accurate for patients with internal organ ailments

"It will be a very useful bedside diagnostic aid because we don't have an x-ray machine so this will help a lot," Dr Abiem said.

"The situations where we might need it would be if someone comes in with a swollen abdomen in pain, and we want to know quickly if they have urine retention. It will also help us find a vein in obese patients. If someone is suffering trauma after an accident, we can identify if there is any internal bleeding."

The ultrasound machine has been with the hospital team for one month, and they have already had an occasion to use it. At the formal presentation, Dr Abiem demonstrated the equipment on one of the Hospital Auxiliary committee members by scanning a vein.

Walcha MPS Health Service manager Douglas Bellamy said it was a significant donation.

This is the biggest single donation for a long time

Douglas Bellamy - Walcha MPS Health Service manager

"This is the biggest single donation for a long time, and it's certainly the biggest 'Im aware of since I've been here," Mr Bellamy said.

"To have a community recognise the value of this, and to donate it, is amazing. I know there have been a number of people involved in the donation and I am always gobsmacked at the wonderful work the auxiliary do.

"The community has got together to buy this equipment which we would not have otherwise had, and it stays in our facility. I think it is a wonderful thing.

"This is a quick way to identify a problem and help the team to deal with it - particularly internal bleeding in trauma patients. To identify urine retention previously, we had to insert a catheter, so now there is a lot less discomfort for patients."

Walcha Hospital Auxiliary president Phillipa Lawrence said the committee was extremely grateful for the two generous donations.

"We appreciate all the support given by the community when we fundraise," said Mrs Lawrence.

"We always welcome new members who are willing to help at functions, cook for stalls, sales, and help raise money to purchase new equipment for our Local Health Service."