Six-year-old finally undergoes successful heart surgery

November 3, 2021

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) affects approximately 1 in every 1 000 children in South Africa annually. Given the disease burden, there are often backlogs where children in the public healthcare sector can wait years until they receive treatment. The situation in the Eastern Cape is particularly dire.

The Pelo Foundation is a non-profit organisation that raises awareness and funds for children with CHD to receive treatment. In September 2021, Busamed Paardevlei Private Hospital partnered with the Pelo Foundation to give six-year-old Chenelle Nimrod lifesaving surgery to repair a hole in her heart. Chenelle had been on the waiting list in the Eastern Cape for three years. She is the first child under the partnership to receive surgery.

Dr. Michael Janson (Cardiothoracic Surgeon) performed Chenelle’s surgery supported by a skilled team: Dr Adele Greyling (Paediatric Cardiologist), Dr Sean Booysen (Anaesthetist) and Mr Johan Pretorious (Perfusionist).

“We successfully repaired an Atrial Septal Defect for Chenelle. This will significantly improve her quality of life. I hope that there will be many entities that will support the initiative so that we may assist in treating more children. The heart is an amazingly created organ and its intricate design still amazes me after all my years in the field of Cardiac Surgery. To play a part in improving the function of diseased hearts, is a task I feel very privileged to undertake and I hope that I pursue this calling in a way that honours the gift that the Lord has blessed me with,” Dr Janson said.

Dr Christelle de Jager Busamed Group Clinical Manager stated that “Our team was happy that Chenelle’s operation went well, and it was an achievement for the Cardiac Unit to perform this surgery as part of the growth in Paediatric Cardiology at Busamed Paardevlei Private Hospital. We hope to continue to grow the unit and assist many more children by contributing to improving their quality of life”.

Dr de Jager added that “The vision for Cardiac Care at Busamed Paardevlei Private Hospital has always been to grow the unit into a Centre of Excellence, with increased capacity, and covering the full range of cardiovascular needs of the local community. With the support of well-established and new partnerships with experienced specialist we are able to advance our Cardiology Unit to offer patients a full spectrum of quality care, supported by professional nursing and complemented with the latest technology.”

For more information on The Pelo Foundation, please visit their website at: https://pelofoundation.org.

Dr Janson completed his postgraduate qualification in Paediatric Cardiovascular Surgery at the University of Alberta, Canada. In 2013, he was appointed Head of Department of the Cardiothoracic Unit at Port Elizabeth’s Provincial Hospital and worked to expand the department’s services to include regular congenital cardiac surgery. In 2015, Dr Janson relocated to the Western Cape and went into private practice at Busamed Paardevlei Private Hospital. Since 2020, he has a part-time consultant position at Tygerberg Hospital. Having worked extensively in both the public and private healthcare sector, Dr Janson has had the privilege to manage a wide spectrum of cardiothoracic surgical pathology.

Dr M Jason