A happy day for all involved
A happy day for all involved

Vital laparoscopy tower donated to Portimão Hospital

“This will be an improvement that we cannot even quantify,” says Portimão Mayor, Isilda Gomes

A vital laparoscopy tower was donated on Friday (January 27) by the Algarve’s Rotary clubs to Portimão Hospital, marking a successful end to more than a year of efforts to raise the €100,000 needed to purchase the equipment.

The all-in-one unit will allow surgeons to carry out “countless less invasive procedures guided by a video camera”, making the procedures much easier and allowing for a much quicker recovery time for patients.

As Portimão Mayor Isilda Gomes said, “this is an improvement that we cannot even quantify.

The laparoscopy tower
The laparoscopy tower

“When I was 12 years old, I underwent surgery to my appendix and spent over 15 days at Guarda Hospital. With this tower, patients will be able to return home the next day or even on the same day – it’s a huge evolution,” Gomes said at the ceremony, which saw the Rotary clubs delivering the equipment to the hospital.

“For those who do not know, spending a night in a hospital bed costs many thousands of euros, which means we are saving money which can instead be used to further equip hospitals and health centres in the region,” the mayor added.

The project was backed by every single Rotary club in the Algarve: Lagos (which presented and leads the project); Praia da Rocha; Portimão; Lagoa International; Silves; Porches; Albufeira, Estoi Palace International; Almancil International; Faro, Loulé; Olhão; and Tavira.

Portimão Mayor Isilda Gomes
Portimão Mayor Isilda Gomes

The project was presented by Rotary Club Lagos, following the same procedure carried out by every Rotary club which contacts local institutions at the start of the Rotary year to find out what their biggest needs are.

Last year, the club decided to contact the Algarve University Hospital Centre (CHUA), which identified the laparoscopy tower as the most urgently needed piece of equipment.

“People were doubtful when we presented this project because they assumed the State would buy the equipment if it was so important. And what we tried to explain was that CHUA has many needs and that the SNS (national health service) went many years without investment,” explained CHUA administration board president Ana Varges Gomes.

“But we knew that a laparoscopy tower could be transformative. It will allow a parent who needs to continue working to support their family to undergo a surgery and be ready to go back to work in around a week, whereas before they would spend around 10 days in hospital and around a month at home before being able to return to work,” Gomes said.

But the laparoscopy tower may do more than just improve the quality of medical care provided to patients.

“You may have achieved more than that. It may very well help attract more doctors to the Algarve. Doctors want to go where there is more technology, where they can do their job to the best of their ability, and it is these devices that attract doctors,” the CHUA administration board boss said.

Ana Varges Gomes, president, CHUA hospital administration board
Ana Varges Gomes, president, CHUA hospital administration board

Paulo Martins, vice-governor of Rotary D1960 (which represents the D1960 district of the national Rotary group), was also in attendance and praised the “absolutely fantastic” project that was developed and which will “change lives”.

“It shows how important it is for Rotary clubs to work together as a team, along with local councils and sponsors,” he said, adding that they made “what seemed impossible become possible”.

The head of the laparoscopy tower project, Anabela Bonin, was also delighted to see this “completely crazy” idea come to fruition.

“The project was accepted by all Rotary clubs, not without some reservations due to the high cost (of the tower). It was very difficult, but we did it,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ana Varges Gomes added that the laparoscopy tower would be put to work right away at the hospital’s surgery ward.

By Michael Bruxo
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