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PATIENT STORIES

Meet Courtney Lint

No parent wants to leave their child’s hospital bedside when they are in their most vulnerable state

At 8 years of age, Courtney Lint has spent more time in hospital than most adults. When Courtney was born with a shrunken brain and cleft palate he was immediately referred to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital where CT scans identified a ‘shocking’ diagnosis; Courtney has Diamond-Blackfan Syndrome, a rare blood disorder where his bone marrow fails to produce red blood cells resulting in a compromised immune system and an increased risk of developing Leukaemia.

His mom, Levona, arranged with doctors to transfer his treatment to Victoria Hospital in Wynberg as it is closer to their home. Courtney would have the benefit of receiving specialist care from doctors at both hospitals who would consult with each other on a ‘shared-care’ basis.  Since his birth Courtney has been in and out of Hospital for days at a time and since Levona was adamant that she would not leave his side, when possible, doctors allowed her to sleep in the chair next to his bedside. There were however times when the ward was just too overcrowded and Levona was forced to leave her distraught son at night.

A bone marrow transplant would definitely improve Courtney’s condition but it is far too expensive for his family so, for the foreseeable future, Courtney will have to visit Victoria Hospital twice a month for blood transfusions. Despite the out-dated facilities, Levona could not be more grateful to the superb doctors and nursing staff who have become a second family to her son.

Sadly, at the Victoria Hospital’s Paediatric Ward, the patients’ parents often have no choice as the facility does not have enough space to allow parents to stay with their children while they are hospitalised. The new upgraded ward will improve conditions for staff, parents and patients through the increased space for isolation cubicles, the new areas for critical services such as counselling, the parent’s restroom, the new procedure room, the offices and the new ablution facilities. However, what Courtney and Levona are looking forward to most is the fact that finally Courtney can sleep peacefully in hospital knowing that his mom is right by his side.

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