Dr Robert Tam and Dr Douglas Wall chat in theatre at the Sunshine Coast Private Hospital about open heart surgery and the benefits to the Coast.
Dr Robert Tam and Dr Douglas Wall chat in theatre at the Sunshine Coast Private Hospital about open heart surgery and the benefits to the Coast. John McCutcheon

Coast's first open heart surgical case completed

AMASSING a top surgical team is like cherry picking a sporting team.

You go after the players of the highest order.

Ending a two-year planning process, the Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital made history this week, carrying out the first ever cardiac surgical case.

Prior to this week, patients needing this life-changing surgery would have to travel to Brisbane, away from loved ones.

Two procedures have successfully been completed already, an aortic valve replacement and a bypass operation. A third procedure will commence today.

The hospital's team of four cardiac surgeons - Dr Douglas Wall, Dr Robert Tam, Dr Homayoun Jalali and Dr Trevor Fayers - are some of the best in their field.

The steady hands of Doctors Wall and Tam were the ones to create history on the Coast.

"We have been planning this for a long time and it is good to get started," Dr Wall said.

"It can be nerve-racking. It is big surgery, risky surgery. But to go two this week is a good start.

"Now patients can have the same surgery offered in Brisbane other than transplantations. This is a huge positive for patients and families.

"But the procedure is only one part of the process. You can do a very nice operation and still get a bad outcome if the team is not right."

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Fortunately, the team is of the highest order.

"It wasn't difficult, because we have an experienced team, a credit to Doug for picking the right people," Dr Tam said.

"Good outcomes come from having a good team. There is a huge part of getting the job done.

"And a lot of time and training has gone into getting people up to speed to deal with this particular patient group who need cardiac surgery."

Hospital CEO Oliver Steele praised his team for making this possible.

"This has truly been a team effort with practically all departments across the hospital working together to ensure the successful start of our cardiac surgery program.

"They've been very careful with who they're brought in, recruited very well. We as a hospital and the Coast are very lucky."



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