Mission Pictures from Cambodia: A Photo Essay by an Australian Perfusionist

OHI2013 257


Space 1

Editors Note:

I received a series of wonderful pictures from a perfusionist in Australia.  They were stunning really- so I asked if there was a story behind them, as I wanted to put them in the Art Gallery- but was too intrigued by the photos themselves.

So I got a response, and a very nice story to boot 🙂

I invite you to meet Mr. Nigel Slade, LCCP…

“Thank you Frank, for your positive comments.

I don’t have titles for each picture, just “helping hands 1”, “helping hands 2” etc, or none at all, or you could provide something?

The back story is rather mundane I’m afraid but please feel free to edit as you wish, I’m not precious about any of it.”

Nigel Slade, ACP, LCCP (UK)

Princess Margaret Hospital for Children

Perth, Australia

A Perfusion Mission in Cambodia

A small team from various hospitals around Australia including a surgeon from India joined together under the Open Heart International (OHI) banner to provide care to children with CHD at the Angkor Children’s Hospital in Siem Reap, Cambodia.


Most of the team are self funded paying for their own flights and accommodation and donate not just their skills and education but also their precious annual leave; a massive commitment (all donations gratefully received).

The main focus of the trip was to give support and education to the local team with the long term goal being the ability of the Cambodian group to independently perform paediatric open heart surgery.

OHI visit Seem Reap twice a year, this being the second visit, and have committed to a five year program with many of the same team members intending to continue their dedication to these future missions.

We performed 15 open heart surgeries over five days, all went very well.

OHI2013 258

The Aussie ICU nurses were amazing, ensuring some very sick children were dragged back from the brink of disaster. Our physiotherapist had the post op kids playing football and other games in the sunshine very soon after discharge from the ICU.

2013-11-01 11.27.24

On the last day of surgery we all sat back, just a little way, and watched carefully as the local team performed the last three cases of the week, all ‘simple’ ADS repairs.


The day after surgery finished ICU was empty, half the kids had gone home and the rest were in the ward playing with their toys donated by the nursing team, watched by their smiling parents.

The local perfusion team performed well, needing very few interventions from myself. Their knowledge base is very good, they just lacked pump hours and exposure, but are otherwise careful and considered in their actions.


As I have found in the past, I feel that I get much more out of these trips than my heroic ego supposes I can give. Cambodia is beautiful country inhabited by beautiful, resilient people. The population have suffered greatly, yet still welcome westerners like me with warmth and affection.

I’m very much looking forward to my return trip in October.

As a side note, I met a Canadian anaesthetist who, coincidently, was volunteering at the Angkor Children’s Hospital during the OHI visit. He told me that before the Khmer Rouge regime there were some 40,000 qualified health care professionals working in Cambodia. At the end of that dreadful regime there were just 40.

that’s it Frank, do what thou wilt.



Space 1



Click image to view or volunteer.

Space 1