Chloe – New Zealand’s first patient
In December 2006, ROMAC received its very first New Zealand patient – Chloe. She was an 8-year-old girl from Vanuatu, who had fallen into a bath of boiling water at a young age. Chloe had extensive scars on her hands and the inside of her legs that needed extending to enable her to use her knees and hands. She was accompanied by her mother Helen.
Chloe was initially treated in Auckland by Plastic Surgeon, Dr Martin Rees. She was hosted by the Rotary District Governor at the time, Michael Hill, who raised the money needed for her treatment, with the help of Rotarians in Auckland.
On her return to New Zealand, under the auspices of ROMAC, Chloe was operated on again by Dr Rees at the Auckland Surgical Centre. She was hosted by the Revell family from the Rotary Club of West Harbour.
After her last surgery, Chloe went back to Vanuatu supported by Dr Jean Luc Bader, a Rotarian doctor in Port Vila. She continued her schooling at the French private school Lycee Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio and obtained her secondary school certificate in 2012.
She decided to continue in accounting and management studies and graduated from high school in 2015. She then left Vanuatu to pursue her studies in New Caledonia. In 2019 she obtained a Bachelor degree in Accounting and Management and went back to Vanuatu. She started working as an accountant for AJC, an accounting, audit and business advice firm.
In June 2021, she accepted a job in the Vanuatu Project Management Unit, a government department, as the Finance Management Officer. She met her partner, Vaitea, in 2021. Chloe is now 25 years old, very happy in both her work and personal lives and extremely grateful to her surgeon Dr Rees, and to ROMAC for helping her live a normal life.
In early March, Melenaite underwent 5 hours of surgery at Sydney Children’s Hospital in Randwick. Firstly, she had an operation by Urologist Dr Sarah Guitronich to address a kidney issue. Then she had a 4-hour operation by Neurologist Dr Saeed Kohan to excise the remainder of her teratoma.
At this time, both doctors are very pleased with the outcome of the operations. After two week in hospital Melenaite, with her mum Michelle, are now back at Ronald McDonald House, adjacent to the hospital, for check-ups with the doctors.
William had his last operation on 24 March. All went well with the surgeon, Dr Rajay Rampersad, going back into his right kidney (his better kidney) and finishing the work there before moving to his left kidney and attacking the largest stones with a laser to reduce their size. There is still more work to be done on this kidney so William is booked in for 19 April, for what will hopefully be his last.
Dr Rajay believes that even if that is his last operation, he will need him back later to remove both stents. He also believes William needs to see a Sydney based nephrologist before returning to the Solomons so William is likely to be with us until at least mid-May.
William is enjoying going to school in Canberra and getting out and about doing things but unfortunately, he had an accident on his bicycle recently, which has required dental repair.
Fourteen-year-old Senri from the Solomon Islands is arriving in Sydney on 19 April for burns contracture treatment. His injuries were caused by a bomb blast in January last year. He received initial treatment in the Solomon Islands but the expert surgeons and equipment were not available to obtain a better result. COVID has prevented any earlier assistance by ROMAC for him.
Senri will have his pre-op consultation on 20 April at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick. His surgery to repair burns contractures of his hands is planned for the following Monday.
Also from the Solomon Islands, eight-year-old Ephraim will be treated, mainly as an out-patient at Westmead Hospital, for an eye problem. He will be staying with a family related to his mother, who will be his carer.
Nine-year-old Inia from Tonga has a respiratory condition in which the airways in the lungs are damaged, causing them to become permanently widened. He will be arriving in Sydney with his mother mid-April and he will be treated at Westmead Hospital.