Groote Schuur Hospital, one of the city’s most iconic institutions, marks its 80th anniversary this year.

To celebrate, the hospital will commemorate the moments that have brought it fame and secured its place in the records of South African medicine.

The hospital opened its doors in 1938 and has gained international recognition as the training ground for the best doctors, surgeons, and nurses. It’s most famous for carrying out the world’s first open-heart surgery, conducted by Christiaan Barnard in December 1967 on 54-year old Louis Washkansky. Washkansky lived for eight days before he died of pneumonia.

Last year, parts of the hospital were transformed into a museum to relive that moment in 1967. In December 2017, renowned medical experts and doctors from across the world arrived at Groote Schuur to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the surgery.

Much has changed over the past few years at the hospital. In 1979 it underwent a major facelift to increase its capacity. The building of the new hospital took approximately six years to complete. The L-Block building was completed in 1985 and was used to house equipment required to treat cancer patients. “It is impossible to ignore that this isn’t always an easy task to fulfill, especially in the current financial and socio-economic environment,”  CEO of Groote Schuur, Dr Bhavna Patel said.

Patel was appointed as CEO of the hospital back in July 2013 and said that regardless of all the obstacles, she and her team have managed to refine and continuously develop its core competencies.

The hospital has constantly aimed to provide world-class health care to its patients. In February 2017, 400m world-record holder Wayde Van Niekerk along with information and communication solutions company T-systems donated a patient management solution to the Newborns Groote Schuur Trust. The Trust was founded in 2008 and raises additional funds to assist the work done by the Neonatal Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital.

In other news from Groote Schuur Hospital: 

–  On March 29 2016 the team performed an open heart aortic valve replacement on a female patient from Khayelitsha.

– Taylor Baker was born without ears  – an ENT specialist at Groote Schuur Hospital provided Baker with specially-made silicone implants in February 2017. The artificial ears do not work like traditional ears but it sends sound directly to the cochlea in the inner ear via the skull. Each ear costs an estimated R62 000.

– World record holder Wayde Van Niekerk donated R500 000 to the premature baby unit at the hospital

– A R281-million forensic pathology service is expected to be built at the entrance to Groote Schuur Hospital in the Observatory area. The 23-month project will replace the current mortuary in Salt River. The three story facility will include 26 autopsy tables, four dissection suites and 360 refrigerated spaces for corpses.



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