The Péterfy Sándor Street Hospital, located in District 7, is one of the larger hospitals in Budapest with nearly 1,600 beds, where patients can be treated for an array of ailments and conditions. The Péterfy Sándor Hospital has been operating since 1848, which also makes it one of Budapest’s older hospitals.

The RBIF has been working closely with the hospital for a number of years, with its focus being on the improvement and provision of facilities and equipment on the neonatal wing, which treats and cares for newborn children, primarily premature babies. Despite the dedication of its workers, patrons and benefactors the hospital still struggles to provide the most up-to-date and holistic care for its patients. So one of the RBIF’s priorities is to support the neonatal wing by helping to equip it with the required technology, in order to ensure the comfort and survival of many of the prematurely newborn babies they receive.

The neonatal wing is run by Dr Gabor Baross who, with the support of his team, can deal with anything between 500 – 600 premature babies every year. Given the wing can only accommodate 20/30 babies at any one time, if one was to say the wing is running at capacity, it would be somewhat of an understatement. Dr Baross also explained that to compound this problem, it is getting harder and harder to recruit and retain skilled and qualified nurses, to care for the newborn babies, as they are being tempted to leave Hungary and move abroad.

 

What defines a premature baby who needs the help of Dr Baross and his colleagues? A premature baby is anything weighing between 500 grams to 1 kilogram. A baby born under 500 grams has a 20/30% survival rate, and then only a 30% chance of being healthy. Once a newborn is brought to the wing Dr Baross ensures he/she is checked extensively, and then placed in one of the incubators – presuming there is free capacity. Depending on the diagnosis, the baby will then spend anything between 4 weeks to 4 months within the confines of this incubator. Dr Baross welcomes visits from the parents, but this needs to be managed carefully as there can be up to 5 incubators in 1 room, meaning circulation space can be at a premium.

 

As a direct result of your generous help and contributions in 2018, we were able to buy and provide Dr Baross with eight top of the range bedside monitors, which is excellent news given our target was five. This has greatly helped the unit, and made the monitoring of the babies’ welfare far, far easier, as these new machines can measure blood pressure ECG, temperature and blood oxygen levels using one lead only. The older version required 4 machines with 4 separate leads. Not only was this inefficient, but it made holistic diagnosis / check-ups more complicated and timely.

 

What next? The hospital asks the government for support every year, but so far it is only patrons like the RBIF and others who provide them with support. The objective for 2019 is to acquire 3 or 4 more monitors as well as provide support for the wing to construct parent rooms. Despite Dr Baross winning an award for the most “Baby Friendly Hospital” in 2018, the department is still tired and limited. There is some redundant space at the end of the wing which can be converted into spaces for parents to stay with their babies. Currently there are 2 rooms (for mothers only) and fathers can only visit for a few hours every day. Fathers are not allowed to stay the night, primarily due to capacity reasons. Clearly this proposed construction for further parent rooms is (almost) prohibitively expensive, but with the support of the RBIF’s sponsors and guests there is always hope.