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International Nurses Day 12 May

Message from CEO and MD Primary Care Division

Monday, May 14 2018

  • Message to nurses from Dr Richard Friedland, CEO of the Netcare Group. Click here
  • Message to nurses from Dr Billyy van der Merwe, MD of Netcare’s Primary Care Division and Hanli Oosthuizen, National Nursing Manager at Medicross. Click here
  • Netcare salutes nurses who touch countless lives with their care – on and off duty. Click here
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Rusty the Rhino brings fun healthy foods to Netcare paediatric patients

Bravery certificates, colouring in and playful crockery aim to cheer young patients

Thursday, June 22 2017

An innovative paediatric catering programme is being officially launched at Netcare Unitas Hospital with celebrity chef and father-of-two, Rueben Riffel.

The ‘Rusty the Rhino’ programme, developed by the Compass Group and Medirest, Netcare’s catering service supplier, will be introduced at all Netcare hospitals with paediatric wards countrywide.

Pic: ('Rusty the Rhino' gives Thapelo Maila a high five at the national launch of a new paediatric catering programme at Netcare Unitas Hospital.)

“The programme heralds a new approach to paediatric catering in that the enticing menus offer nutritious meals designed to appeal to junior palates while the friendly rhinoceros character is expected to make the hospital experience more pleasant for children,” says Jacques du Plessis, managing director of Netcare’s hospital division.

“When children are admitted to hospital they invariably feel anxious about being away from home. At Netcare hospitals we strive to make our paediatric wards a welcoming environment for our young patients. In our experience, children who are unwell and are in the unfamiliar surroundings of a healthcare facility often require a little extra coaxing to encourage them to eat, as maintaining good nutrition is a very important part of their recovery process,” explains Du Plessis.

The Rusty the Rhino programme is initially being introduced at Netcare N17, Netcare Ferncrest, Netcare Krugersdorp, Netcare Linksfield, and Netcare Unitas hospitals. Next month Rusty will arrive at Netcare Olivedale Hospital and will be available at other Netcare hospitals with paediatric wards soon thereafter. Celebrity chef Reuben Riffel, who is an ambassador for Medirest, says that he is delighted to be involved in the launch of this exciting new children’s programme at Netcare hospitals.

“I have always been passionate about good food, as it is such an integral part of our daily lives and can enhance almost any experience. Being a father myself, I know that children are often very particular about which foods they are prepared to try,” he notes. “Rusty the Rhino brings a new element of fun to meal times for children in hospital. Presentation of food is extremely important, and the meals will be served on trays and crockery decorated with Rusty the Rhino’s smiling face. The age-specific menus are designed to be healthy yet enticing for children and include ‘kiddie favourites’ with a wholesome yet tasty twist,” Riffel explains.

Rusty the Rhino, the mascot for an innovative paediatric catering programme being introduced at Netcare hospitals, and celebrity chef Reuben Riffel bring smiles to the faces of young patients, Amanda Sumbane and Jay-Tee Gaoseb at Netcare Unitas Hospital during the national launch of the programme.

“The rhinoceros was chosen for the programme because children in South Africa know and identify with a rhinoceros,” says Dolf Smook, general manager of Medirest.  “At the same time the rhinoceros character also aims to foster an interest in this endangered species and promote conservation consciousness in the young patients.”

Smook says that to add to the excitement of mealtimes, meals will be served by staff members wearing Rusty the Rhino branded aprons and caps. As part of the programme, young patients will receive special Star Award stickers as reward for taking their medicine and eating their meals. Rusty the Rhino colouring in materials and other fun activities are part of the programme to keep children entertained while in hospital. On their discharge, each child will also receive a ‘bravery award’ certificate.  

 “We are extremely pleased to welcome Rusty the Rhino with his big smile in our hospitals. We look forward to seeing the smiles of our young patients as they enjoy the special children’s menus and fun activities during their stay at Netcare hospitals,” Du Plessis concluded.


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Hospital Division
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, or Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za or meggan@mnapr.co.za

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Special message to Medicross nurses on International Nurses Day

Follow the links to view message and video

Friday, May 12 2017
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Private hyperbaric oxygen therapy service now available in Western Cape

A hyperbaric oxygen therapy service, the only such private facility in the Western Cape

Wednesday, April 26 2017

A hyperbaric oxygen therapy service, the only such private facility in the Western Cape, was recently opened at the Tokai Medicross and is available to treat a range of medical conditions, the Medicross group announced today.

Dr Jonathan Rosenthal, a medical practitioner who specialises in hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and heads up the new facility at Tokai Medicross, says that while hyperbaric chamber treatments are commonly known as being used for the emergency treatment of decompression sickness (the bends), a potential danger of scuba diving, it has a greater and well-established role in the therapy of a number of other conditions where reduced tissue oxygenation is the underlying pathology.

“While the centre is certainly available to treat divers who suffer the misfortune of decompression sickness, the great majority of our work involves the treatment of other medical conditions such as serious infections and wounds resulting from diabetes or radiation injury,” adds Dr Rosenthal, who holds post-graduate qualifications in diving and underwater medicine.

Dr Rosenthal explains that HBOT involves the patient breathing 100% pure oxygen in a chamber where the atmospheric pressure can be increased under regulated conditions. This enables blood oxygen levels to be temporarily raised to massively increased levels to support healing of problems underpinned by low tissue oxygenation, thereby promoting healing and assisting in combatting infection.

“Oxygen is normally transported throughout the body by red blood cells only. With HBOT, we can dissolve oxygen directly into the blood plasma thereby enabling the oxygen to reach areas where circulation is diminished or blocked as a result of injury or disease,” he points out.

“This increase in the oxygen levels in the blood speeds up cell repair, assists the body to fight off certain bacterial infections, reduces swelling and stimulates new blood vessels to develop in areas where tissue is damaged.”

“In diabetes, by way of example, blood circulation to the extremities of the body can become a problem, and in serious cases, this can result in the development of gangrene in the limbs, which can be life-threatening. HBOT can be used in appropriate cases to improve oxygen flow to the limbs, accelerate wound healing and reduce the risk of gangrene.

“However, almost more important than the temporary super-normal oxygenation is the fact that HBOT causes the small blood vessels to regenerate permanently within damaged areas facilitating lasting improvements. This is particularly important in cases where diabetes and radiation therapy, which is used as a cancer treatment, has damaged the small blood vessels or microvasculature.”

The HBOT centre uses a Hyox monoplace chamber, which is pressurised with medical grade oxygen administered via a face mask typically for about 90 minutes per treatment. Located at Tokai Medicross, the HBOT centre enables easy access to all of the facilities and services on offer at the facility including access to the onsite X-ray department. Treatments are undertaken from Monday to Friday between 8 am and 5 pm.

The therapy takes approximately two hours and is typically carried out over several days depending on the condition being treated, says Dr Rosenthal. Transcutaneous oxygen measurement, a non-invasive method of measuring the level of oxygen present in the tissues below the skin, is also undertaken at the centre and is useful in evaluating patient suitability.

The hyperbaric team consists of unit head Dr Rosenthal, hyperbaric physician Dr Zaahier Kamedien, and highly experienced nursing sister, Nikki Brandt, who assists with the daily management of the unit. “The team is passionate about hyperbaric medicine and in addition to HBOT expertise, have a wealth of experience ranging from internal, casualty and ICU medicine to diving and submarine medicine,” notes Dr Rosenthal.

“Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been proven in controlled trials to be beneficial in a large range of different medical conditions and it is most gratifying that we are now able to offer these to the members of the community at our new centre. In addition, this field of medicine is fundamentally changing the approach and management of certain medical conditions and presents exciting prospects for the future.”

Conditions treated
Dr Rosenthal says that all therapies provided at Tokai Medicross hyperbaric oxygen treatment centre are undertaken in accordance with international guidelines for evidence-based HBOT treatment. The centre provides treatment for the following conditions:

  • Air or gas bubbles (embolism) in the blood
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Non-healing wounds such as a diabetic foot ulcer
  • Gas gangrene (clostridial myositis and myonecrosis)
  • Crush injury, compartment syndrome and other acute traumatic ischemias
  • Decompression sickness
  • Arterial insufficiencies
  • Severe anaemia
  • Intracranial abscess
  • Necrotising soft tissue infections
  • Refractory osteomyelitis (a bone infection that has not responded to previous treatment)
  • Delayed radiation injury (soft tissue and bone necrosis)
  • Compromised grafts and flaps
  • Acute thermal burn injury
  • Sudden deafness (idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss) 


Issued by:           MNA on behalf of Medicross Tokai
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:        (011) 469 3016
Email:                   martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za and pieter@mnapr.co.za

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Public acknowledgement for Medicross’ service excellence

Medicross acknowledged by the public for their service excellence

Friday, April 7 2017

Medicross family medical and dental centres in the Pretoria/Tshwane region won the 2016 Pretoria News Readers’ Choice Award for best medical centre, as voted for by the newspaper’s readers in Pretoria and surrounding areas including Midrand, Brits, Rustenburg and Warmbaths.

Medicross centres in the Pretoria/Tswane region comprise Medicross Carlswald (Midrand), Constantia Park, Gezina, Pretoria North, Pretoria West, Queenswood, Saxby and Silverton.    
The Pretoria News Readers’ Choice awards acknowledge companies across a number of business sectors which distinguish themselves in terms of excellence and quality of service.

Medicross Bloemfontein was the winner in the healthcare category of the Bloemfontein Courant’s  Best of Bloemfontein Readers’ Choice Award 2016. This is the second consecutive year that Medicross Bloemfontein has won the award. Winners across a number of categories are determined by the results of a reader survey, and the aim of the awards is to celebrate, recognise and reward local excellence.

Congratulations to the staff members, our healthcare partners and the leadership at these Medicross centres. These awards speak to your consistent dedication to our Netcare values of care, dignity, participation, truth and passion and to service excellence, and serve as inspiration to all at Medicross.


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Clicks opens pharmacy front shops in Netcare hospitals.
Wednesday, February 1 2017

Netcare is bringing you more convenience by introducing Clicks stores at each pharmacy located in Netcare Hospitals countrywide.


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Specialist team separate conjoined twins at Centurion hospital

Paediatric surgeons optimistic for twins’ future

Monday, January 23 2017

A pair of conjoined twins from Big Bend in Swaziland today underwent a successful six-hour separation operation at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centurion, Gauteng. 

The twin girls, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane, who together weighed 4.21 kilograms at birth, were born joined at the abdomen on 2 January to 19-year-old Bongekile Simelane and her husband Mbongeni Sihlongonyane.

Pic: Conjoined twins, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane born joined at the abdomen on 2 January this year, with their mother 19-year-old Bongekile Simelane, minutes before they underwent their separation surgery at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centurion.

Speaking ahead of the procedure, paediatric surgeons Dr Mariza de Villiers and Dr Paul Stevens agreed that the twins had a good prognosis. “This type of conjoined twins are known as omphalopagus twins, which means they were joined at the lower abdomen and do not share a heart,” they noted.

“Pre-operative assessments indicated that the babies also did not share any other vital organs. This considerably improved their chances of surviving the surgical separation and will also contribute greatly to them leading healthy lives going forward,” said Dr De Villiers.

The Shilongonyane girls are the second set of conjoined twins that Drs De Villiers and Dr Stevens have separated, and are the first to have their separation surgery done at Netcare Unitas Hospital. The paediatric surgeons were assisted by Dr Francisca Van Der Schyff and Dr Kagiso Batka.

Proud parents Bongekile Simelane and Mbongeni Sihlongonyane photographed with paediatric surgeons Dr Mariza de Villiers and Dr Paul Stevens who led the surgical team at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centurion this morning.

The two gorgeous little girls, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane, being prepared for separation surgery today at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centurion.


Dr De Villiers said that the twins were joined only by a bridge of skin, which made the operation simpler than if they shared vital organs. “There are always considerable risks when separating conjoined twins, but we have been cautiously optimistic all along that the operation would have a good outcome for both twins,” she observed.

“The fact that there was a skin bridge between them, meant that there was sufficient skin to close the resultant surgical wound on each baby without the need for plastic surgery.”

According to Dr Stevens one of the main challenges the surgical team anticipated ahead of the procedure, related to the anaesthesia. “The twins were conjoined in such as way that they are facing each other. Intubation for such tiny babies is delicate enough, but as their faces are so close to one another and they are not able to be placed on their backs to be intubated for anaesthesia, this was a great deal more complicated than usual.”

As a result, four anaesthetists participated in the procedure, with each twin being cared for by two anaesthetists for the duration of the surgery. The doctors worked in two distinct teams, identified by their pink and purple surgical scrub caps. The all-female team of anaesthetists consisted of Dr Henrika Rossouw, Dr Sandra Spijkerman, Dr Marleen Odendaal and Dr Jeanri Smith. The little patients were matched to their team by wearing corresponding colours and were connected to their own, colour-coded anaesthetic machine.

The initial stage of the procedure, which was dedicated to getting the anaesthetic just right for the surgery, took more than three hours, which meant that it took almost half of the total theatre time. The twins were officially separated at noon today and the rest of the surgery was completed just before 14h00 this afternoon. ”

The all-female team of anaesthetists: Dr Henrika Rossouw, Dr Sandra Spijkerman, Dr Marleen Odendaal and Dr Jeanri Smith, who were tasked with one of the greatest challenges faced by the surgical team who separated conjoined twins, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane. The twins were conjoined in such as way that they were facing each other, making the delicate task of intubating the little babies a great deal more complicated than usual.

A study in soulful concentration as Dr Henrika Rossouw prepares baby, Uyihlelile Shilongonyane for anaesthesia.


Uwenzile and Uyihlelile were born by caesarean section. Bongkile and Mbongeni are also parents to twin boys aged two. According to Bongkile until the seventh month of her pregnancy she had no idea that she was about to give birth to a second set of twins. “At first I was not happy to hear that I was expecting twins for the second time,” she recalls. “However, once they were born everything changed. After their birth I was at first not worried as I thought the babies were only attached at the umbilical cord.”

“I love my babies so much,” said a tearful and nervous Bongkile as the babies were taken into theatre.

The young couple drew considerable strength from Portia Mabuela, an enrolled nurse at Netcare Unitas Hospital, who has become very close to the family. Even though she was off duty, Portia came in specially to be with the family during this challenging time. “Bongkile was concerned about the well-being of their babies, especially as she could not be with them in theatre and was unable to feed them as per their normal feeding schedule,” said Mabuela.

“We are all so impressed with the ease with which this young mother has been handling her conjoined babies, considering the difficulty in doing something as basic as picking them up,” commented general manager of Netcare Unitas Hospital, Robert Jordaan.

“The operation involved a team of eight doctors and a theatre team of 11 nursing professionals. Most of the team members were women,” he added.

“This is a proud moment for Netcare Unitas Hospital and especially for our team of expert doctors and nurses who participated in this operation. What happened here today represents a milestone in the medical history of our facility.”



Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Unitas Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za, or pieter@mnapr.co.za

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Netcare celebrates 20th anniversary

Netcare celebrated the 20th anniversary

Friday, December 9 2016

On 6 December, Netcare celebrated the 20th anniversary of the company’s listing on the main board of the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE).  
Since then, Netcare has grown from five hospitals in South Africa into a leading private healthcare provider with 114 hospitals in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Lesotho as well as operations  in Mozambique.   

Netcare 911 was founded in 1998 and, with 85 bases countrywide, is now the largest pre-hospital emergency services provider in SA. In addition, National Renal Care is the largest private provider of dialysis services in SA, with 796 renal dialysis stations in 62 dialysis units. Netcare also has 88 Medicross primary healthcare centres and 14 day clinics, 87 pharmacies, five public private partnerships and seven oncology centres throughout SA.  

Read more here

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New Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital officially launched

Building on South African medical heritage, state-of-the-art, multi-disciplinary facility looks to the future

Tuesday, December 6 2016

The Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital yesterday opened its doors to patients in its new home, a custom-designed 16-storey facility on Cape Town’s foreshore incorporating state-of-the-art medical technology.

“With the opening, our vision of a world class healthcare facility reflecting the spirit of excellence, innovation and sanctity of life cherished by the hospital’s namesake, Professor Christiaan Barnard, became a reality. We look forward to this new chapter in the hospital’s unfolding story, which has thus far been rich in leading-edge medical advances,” says Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare.

The hospital’s official launch was celebrated on Saturday, 3 December 2016, to coincide with the 49th anniversary of the world’s first human heart transplant, and tribute was paid to this historic moment in world medicine at the event.

The launch was attended by a number of dignitaries including the MEC for Health in the Western Cape, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Cape Town deputy mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson, members of the late Professor Barnard’s family, and surviving members of the first human heart transplant team, among others.

MEC Mbombo and the deputy chairperson of the Netcare board of directors, Thevendrie Brewer, unveiled a plaque dedicated to the memory of Professor Barnard in the hospital foyer. The plaque reads: “Professor Christiaan Barnard achieved international fame for expanding the boundaries of medicine. Barnard was not only committed to furthering medical science, he was also deeply committed to patient care. In this exhibition Netcare honours Barnard the man, and pays tribute to the principles he stood for: science in service of humanity, and patient care in service of the individual. This exhibition is also for all the unsung champions of the healthcare profession. Those who dedicate their lives to these principles; serving the health and wellbeing of the individual to make our world a better place.”

Events leading up to the first heart transplantation are also acknowledged in the artwork and artefacts on display throughout the hospital, as is the work of the team who assisted with it.
“The broader role of Mr Hamilton Naki, an uneducated man with extraordinary surgical skills, was at the time hidden from the limelight due to the exclusionary policies of the apartheid regime. We have sought to give Mr Naki the appropriate recognition through the narrative of the hospital’s artwork,” Dr Friedland noted.
“It is our firm belief that the pioneering spirit and medical endeavours for which Professor Barnard is remembered will be carried forward at the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital,” he added.

Unveiling the plaque at the official launch of the new Netcare Christiaan Memorial Hospital are, from left to right: Armin Barnard, Deirdre Visser, the deputy chairperson of the Netcare board of directors, Thevendrie Brewer; the Western Cape Health MEC, Nomafrench Mbombo; Lara Barnard, Christiaan Barnard, Karin Berman and Netcare CEO, Dr Richard Friedland.


The contribution of those surviving members of the team involved in the first transplant was recognised at the event with the awarding of the Christiaan Barnard Gold Medal to Dr Cecil Moss, Tollie Lambrechts, Georgie de Klerk and Dene Friedman.

A fifth member of the team, Dr Joseph Ozinsky, was sadly not well enough to attend the event and the award was accepted on his behalf by his son, Max Ozinsky. The Christiaan Barnard Gold Medal was also posthumously awarded to Mr Hamilton Naki, and was accepted by his son, Sizwe Naki.

One striking feature on display in the new hospital is Marco Cianfanelli’s sculpture, Threshold, which is suspended from the roof in the foyer. At the official launch, Cianfanelli described how his sculpture captures the moment when Louis Washkansky, the recipient of the donor heart, had his ailing heart removed and Professor Barnard stared into the empty chest cavity of a living patient.

Cianfanelli also created a large portrait of Professor Barnard which also contains a collage of many portraits of Barnard which were painted by patients of his and sent to him as a sign of their gratitude.

“Ultimately, the sculpture is an impactful expression of hope, the potential for recovery, and the systems of support that allow for healing to occur,” Cianfanelli explained.
Dr Friedland thanked all of the stakeholders who have so hard worked to breathe life into the dream of developing the healthcare facility to world class standards. “As we welcome patients to this new centre of healing, the legacy of Professor Barnard and other medical pioneers will live on through the care and hope that that our hospital represents to them,” he concluded.

Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za or pieter@mnapr.co.za


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New hospital a living tribute to South African heart pioneer, Christiaan Barnard

Art installation and other exhibits reflect spirit of his and other medical pioneers’ remarkable endeavours

Friday, November 25 2016

On 3 December 2016, the 49th anniversary of the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital will embark on a new phase in its history as it officially launches a new state-of-the-art purpose-built facility situated on the Cape Town foreshore.

“Professor Christiaan Barnard achieved in medical history the equivalent of man’s first landing on the moon,” says Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare.

“In the history of medicine and surgery, the first heart transplant, which has since become a commonplace procedure, will always be recognised as one of the seminal pioneering surgical innovations of all time.”

Speaking at a media briefing ahead of the opening of the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, Friedland said the new purpose built hospital is intended to be a living tribute, not only to the late Professor Barnard, but also to other pioneers of important medical innovations in South Africa, as well as to acknowledge the hope offered by modern medicine to patients the world over.

“The development of the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital represented the ideal opportunity to celebrate Professor Barnard’s incredible medical feat while recognising the very painful backdrop of the shameful and exclusionary apartheid system at the time of his achievement,” he noted.

According to Friedland, given the prominent landmark position of the hospital on the Cape Town foreshore, close to the ICCC and highly visible from the highway, the development presented a unique opportunity to contribute to this iconic urban landscape. “We saw this as an interesting challenge to perpetuate the legacy of Professor Barnard in a modern and highly specialised multi-disciplinary hospital dedicated to optimising the treatment and care of patients,” Friedland explains.

Netcare approached acclaimed artist, Marco Cianfanelli and the late Jeremy Rose, who will always be remembered as the architect behind some of South Africa’s most famous museums, heritage and public art projects. Their brief was to create a world-class legacy project with an international, timeless quality, which enhanced the overall look and feel of the hospital without compromising its functionality.  The position and height of the hospital, its view of the city, mountains and harbour, had to be taken into account while optimising the abundance of natural light to improve patients’ wellbeing and overall hospital experience.

Friedland stated that Professor Barnard’s legacy of excellence and innovation in South African medicine lives on at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, where world-class specialists continue to achieve ‘firsts’ in medical advancements supported by cutting-edge medical technology to optimise clinical outcomes for patients.

“The rich legacy of Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital and its historical place in the world of medicine includes, among others, robotic cardiac procedures for the treatment of heart arrhythmia, da Vinci robotic-assisted surgery used for the treatment of prostate, bladder and kidney cancers, as well as the HeartWare ventricular assist device (HVAD) and Berlin Heart device that are implanted to help restore circulatory function in patients with severely compromised heart function, who are awaiting heart transplantation,” he added.

Friedland said: “We were not seeking to create a museum, as that already exists at Groote Schuur, but rather a subtle, sophisticated and nuanced recognition of the first heart transplant and other medical innovations, whilst acknowledging the irony that this global clinical milestone occurred in the context of a backward and exclusionary political system.
“In understanding the wider context of apartheid and the times of the 1960s, the exhibition speaks to human potential, determination and hope in the face of injustice and perceived impossibility.”

“We had to, at all times, take cognisance that a hospital is a place of healing and care, as well as being an environment that may evoke feelings of vulnerability and anxiety in patients and their loved ones. Broader themes of compassion, care, and the importance of treating people with dignity and respect, are illustrated through graphics, quotations and exhibits throughout the hospital.
One of the most captivating works of art on display in the hospital is Marco Cianfanelli’s sculpture, Threshold, which is suspended from the roof in the foyer. This imposing work of art captures the moment that Louis Washkansky’s heart was removed and Professor Barnard stared into an empty, living human chest cavity. Barnard saw potential, hope, faith and perseverance. He later recalled, “At that moment, the full impact of what I was doing hit me”.

It was this notion that inspired Marco Cianfanelli's sculpture - an archway, the threshold where the arrangement of linear profiles represent the incremental expansion of the moment in time where the impossible suddenly becomes possible.

“The sculpture pays homage to the physicians whose dedication to the care of their patients has seen the invention and implementation of technologies that allow for lifesaving procedures to be performed, and recovery to be intently monitored and analysed,” says Cianfanelli. “The gentle ripples in the plywood structure also suggest the waning of one source of energy, and simultaneously the latent potential of another. Ultimately, the sculpture expresses hope, the potential for recovery, and the systems of support that allow for healing to occur.”

The hospital carries this theme further with a series of exhibits within the central core of the building. The exhibits are on the sea-facing and mountain-facing windows of the lift lobbies from the ninth to the sixteenth floors, with each floor carrying a variation on the central theme. The design also incorporates glass cabinets with original artefacts on display.

“Professor Christiaan Barnard achieved international fame for expanding the boundaries of medicine. He was not only committed to furthering medical science, he was also deeply committed to patient care. With the exhibition Netcare honours Barnard the man, and pays tribute to the principles he stood for: science in service of humanity, and patient care in service of the individual.”

While commemorating Professor Barnard, the displays in the hospital recognise other notable medical practitioners and healthcare innovations. “The exhibition is also for all the unsung champions of the healthcare profession. Those who dedicate their lives to these principles; serving the health and wellbeing of the individual to make our world a better place,” explains Friedland.

Keeping to Netcare's commitment to the Barnard family in honouring the achievements of Professor Barnard, prescribes that the exhibits describe the enormous significance of what he achieved, the role that his team played in his success, but also very importantly give an account of, and acknowledge, the damaging and negative socio-political context in which they practiced.

The artwork and displays should inspire in patients and visitors, a sense of confidence that they are being attended to by medical practitioners whose practice is rooted in a legacy of excellence.
“State-of-the-art, contemporary and optimally functional, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital represents a unique opportunity to honour Netcare’s commitment to commemorate the extraordinary achievement that was the world's first human heart transplant, and the man who pioneered this ground-breaking technique. The dedicated and trusted team of professionals who supported him, some of whom continue their practice to this day, are an integral part of this history, and many superb insights come from their recollections of the event,” says Friedland.

The complexity of perpetuating Barnard’s legacy in a state-of-the-art designed, multi-disciplinary hospital requires that the exhibition spaces are contemporary in their aesthetic, and are harmoniously integrated into the working spaces of the hospital.

“It was Netcare’s vision to develop a world-class healthcare facility that reflects the excellence, innovation and sanctity of life that is synonymous with the legacy of the hospital’s namesake. It is our desire that the medical endeavours, pioneering spirit and dedicated focus on patient care for which Professor Barnard is remembered will be carried forward within the walls of the brand new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital,” Friedland concludes.


Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za or pieter@mnapr.co.za

•    More about the artist

Marco Cianfanelli was born in Johannesburg in 1970 and graduated with a distinction in Fine Art from the University of the Witwatersrand. He has won numerous awards, including the ABSA L’Atelier and Ampersand Fellowship. Cianfanelli is renowned for his bold public art pieces and large sculptural works.

He was a member of the design team for Freedom Park, South Africa’s national monument to freedom, and his fragmented portrait sculpture, Release, forms the centrepiece of the Nelson Mandela Capture Site in KwaZulu-Natal. Cianfanelli’s large-scale public works can be seen in South Africa, the Middle East and the United States. His artworks can be found in public and private collections across the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.


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