News

Hawkesbury Hospital nurse joins life-saving mission to the Solomon Islands

Hawkesbury’s Ben Wright joined an Australian team of neurosurgeons, anaesthetists and nurses on a medical mission to the Solomon Islands to perform lifesaving brain surgeries on patients with complex neurological issues. 

28 Nov 2023

Hawkesbury's operating theatre nurse Ben Wright (pictured right) with Hawkesbury District Health Service Director of Mission Integration John Sweeting (pictured left) The team worked closely with medical staff from the National Referral Hospital in Honiara to conduct diagnosis and surgeries on eight patients who would ordinarily not have access to this type of treatment in the Solomon Islands. 

Ben Wright, a registered nurse who works at Hawkesbury Hospital’s operating theatre said that he always had a keen interest in aid work and when asked to join medical mission, embraced the opportunity. 

“I had previously worked with the co-founder of the team, Dr Narko Tutuo at Nepean Hospital assisting him with neuroanaesthesia, so was thrilled when he asked me to join the team,” he said.

“My inspiration comes from Christian teachings, particularly the parable of the Good Samaritan and I saw this mission as an opportunity to put that into practice.”

“It is such a privilege to bring healing to those who would not otherwise have access to this kind of life-saving neurosurgical treatment.”

Ben said that during the medical mission, the team were able to observe the many challenges faced by medical professionals working in the Solomon Islands. This was also the first time that neurosurgery has been performed in the island nation. 

“The doctors and nurses at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara were overwhelmingly hospitable towards us,” he said.

“Their dedication to patient care under extremely difficult circumstances and with limited resources was remarkable.”

“One highlight of the mission was witnessing one of our patients recover rapidly after having a large brain tumour removed. They had been very unstable and needed a lot of intervention during the surgery but recovered amazingly well.”

“Thank you to Hawkesbury District Health Service for loaning vital medical equipment and assisting with the purchase of medical consumables. Without these resources, we would not have been able to perform these procedures safely and effectively.”

“Big thank you also to the Rotary Club Richmond for their generous donation which supported our mission work.”

Hawkesbury District Health Service Chief Executive Officer Strephon Billinghurst said that he was proud of Ben and the valuable contribution he made in providing healing, care and hope to those in need.

“Ben exemplifies our mission and values and we are pleased to have supported him in pursuing this important work,” he said.    
 
Following the success of the trip the medical team, known as the Aelan Neurosurgical Team, plan to provide ongoing support to the National Referral Hospital in Honiara. This includes embarking on more trips to enable patients with neurosurgical issues, access to life-saving care and surgery.  
 

You may be interested in