It is with great excitement that I am sharing the news that Dr Dirk Maree (Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon) will be joining the team of our new practice. Dirk has been a central part of the team managing head and neck oncology, and reconstruction cases since I started in private practice in 2008. He qualified as a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon from The University of Pretoria in 2006 and has a private practice based in Centurion.
He will be joining us at least once a month for joint consultations of head and neck cancer patients, facial reconstruction patients, as well as follow up of patients previously operated. With his addition to the practice, Wilgers Hospital is now a single point of service for our patients needing head and neck surgery. With our focus on meticulous planning and preparation, and the multidisciplinary management of these complex resections and reconstructions, it means that the time from first consultation to surgical management of these patients is shorter, without compromising the patients’ thorough workup.
After the initial consultation at my rooms, the patient is referred for appropriate special investiga-tions and consultations arranged with all the required specialities. These patients are also presented on Monday mornings at the Wilgers Oncology Centre and a decision made on adjuvant/neo-adjuvant therapy. A combined consultation with Dirk and myself will then be arranged with the pa-tient to finalise treatment planning, with the input from all the other appropriate specialities already consulted.
The vision I had as a registrar to bring together all the resources in a single location for the complex management of the head and neck cancer and reconstruction patients has become a reality in the last few months! The dream of working together in a team of multiple specialities to provide these patients with reconstruction that will give them the best quality of life possible, is certainly not just a dream anymore.
Moving a specialist practice is not a decision anyone would take lightly, but I am able to look back at the last few weeks and I'm happy to know that the support and service to these patients from Life Wilgers Hospital is of world class standard. The large scope of ancillary specialities and services available at Wilgers Hospital makes the service to these patients far superior to what I have been able to offer in the past. Although something seemingly simple, these patients don't have to worry about visiting the other members of the team at different hospitals/locations anymore, giving them and their families time to come to terms with their diagnosis, and the intended management thereof. The availability of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in the hospital, where three of my patients are cur-rently being treated, is only one example of a service that is now available on site.
Take a look at our new website, www.theface.co.za, if you haven't visited it yet. There is a wealth of information in the “useful information" section, where patients can download all the forms and necessary documentation needed for their first consultation. There is also a very comprehensive information booklet on head and neck cancer from the Irish Cancer Society that can be download-ed in .pdf format.
Dirk and I will be the first in the country to use a very specialised piece of equipment in the monitor-ing of our head and neck patients. We can't wait for Wilgers Hospital to let us know that it has ar-rived! Keep a lookout for our next newsletter.