George Hospital Doctor Receives Paul Harris Award
25 June 2013
George Hospital Renal Unit is the only state-run renal unit between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. There are currently 37 renal patients undergoing this specialised treatment at this life-saving unit. The dedication and expertise of the people manning the dialysis machines keep the patients in good health until they are able to receive a donor kidney. It is hard work, emotionally draining and requires special inner strength, kindness and a passion for their calling.
The George Rotary Club recently recognised three such individuals at a recent Rotary Club meeting. Donald Goldfain, the club president, was privileged to recognise nursing staff represented by Sisters Maureen Ruiters and Maria Petersen for the unstinting work done in the hospital’s Renal Unit, supporting the patients and assisting the doctors to care for the patients.
A specialised unit such as this is as effective as its leadership and the exemplary record of the unit is due in large part to the leadership and the passion of Dr Marinda Smit to give her patients only the best treatment and guidance possible. Dr Smit, a part-time appointee at George Hospital’s Renal Unit, runs a small complement of specially trained nursing sisters within the unit.
Dr Smit is responsible for the actual hemodialysis procedures done on patients. Hemodialysis patients receive three four-hour treatments per week. The peritoneal dialysis has to be supervised, and all patients on the programme need regular medical checkups. On average, these consultations amount to 70 per month.
Dr Smit is also responsible for the care of the 36 patients that have had kidney transplants and reside in the Eden District. Currently, there are 13 patients on hemodialysis and a further 19 patients on peritoneal dialysis. In the surrounding towns there are five patients on dialysis. Dr Smit provides the medical input for these patients. All patients on the kidney programme require monthly medical follow-ups.
In our region at the moment there are 37 patients on the waiting list for kidney transplants. Chances of receiving a dead-donor kidney are very small. Dr Smit has been active in organising and providing the medical support to arrange living-donor kidney transplants. In the last seven years she successfully organised 23 living-donor kidney transplants.
The George Rotary Club awarded Dr Smit with a Paul Harris Award for her services to the group of renal patients in the George community. This Rotary award is given to outstanding men and women who live up to the Rotary motto of Service Above Self within their communities. Dr Smit now joins the ranks of other Rotary awardees such as Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk, Raymond Ackerman, Ester Watson and Nicole Rimbault, to name a few.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, congratulated Dr Smit on this extraordinary achievement. "We are proud that these skills and commitment have been recognised by the international community. The award once again shows that our health services are acknowledged worldwide. I look forward to congratulating Dr Marinda Smit personally on my next visit to George."
The George Rotary Club is proud of the George community of movers and shakers who get things done and make a difference. Congratulations to Dr Smit and her team at George Hospital.
Paul Harris Award
Paul Harris was a Chicago, Illinois, attorney who founded Rotary International in 1905. A Paul Harris Award is a Rotary International award in which Rotary recognises individuals for making a substantial and tangible contribution towards the betterment of the community. In South Africa a Paul Harris Award is Rotary’s highest award.
The award is one of the highest accolades Rotary can bestow on a person and accompanies a donation of $1 000 or more by the sponsoring club, in the recipient's name, to Rotary International's Annual Programme Fund, which supports Rotary's worldwide programmes.