10 April 2014 Volume :2 Issue :18

Father and Daughter Graduate Together

Father and Daughter Graduate Together
Father and daughter, Dr Kantharuben Naidoo and Dr Reshania Naidoo, graduated together from UKZN in the medical field.

Father and daughter, Dr Kantharuben Naidoo and Dr Reshania Naidoo, graduated together from UKZN in the medical field.

Reshania graduated with an MBChB degree while her father graduated with his PhD in Medicine with a thesis titled: “The Ethical Dilemmas of Critical Care Physicians Encountered in the Admission of Patients with HIV Infection to Intensive Care”.

‘With South Africa having one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics in the world, there are 5.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS as a consequence of the delayed implementation of the ARV rollout and failure to control the epidemic,’ said Kantharuben.

‘Vast numbers of people living with HIV/AIDS who seek or need intensive care place a huge burden on precious, expensive and sparse intensive care unit facilities. Critical care specialists as a result are faced with complex challenges when making decisions about the provision of such care.’

The aim of Naidoo’s study was to develop the best practice criteria for admitting HIV-infected patients to intensive care.

The study was conducted using a comprehensive literature review of both legal and ethical frameworks that govern such decisions in South Africa as well as legal precedents and clinical best practice that could inform policy and practice in the country. An audit of ICU beds was also done to form a comprehensive and contemporary review of critical care facilities to place in context the ethical dilemmas faced by critical care specialists in the admission of HIV/AIDS infected patients to intensive care in a resource limited environment. 

Critical care practitioners’ responded to a standardised questionnaire that concerned ethical decisions and the provision of intensive care to five hypothetical clinical case scenarios. ‘It was found that there is limited ICU bed availability in South Africa and the problem is worse within the public sector with widespread variations across the provinces,’ said Kantharuben. ‘Also, the lack of skilled staff for ICU is insufficient for our needs in the public sector. For people living with HIV/AIDS, specific variables influence their survival in intensive care. The benefits of anti-retroviral treatment in intensive care are still being debated.  Clinical prediction tools should be considered as an aid about who to admit to intensive care.’

Reshania is currently serving her internship at King Edward Hospital V111, the same hospital where both she and her father did their medical internship training.

‘My father was my role model from a very young age,’ said Reshania. ‘Seeing him in his white coat when I was small, coming home after a long day of attending to patients - and then on my fourth birthday a gift of a doctor’s set - definitely influenced me!

‘He also used to take me along to hospital from time to time. Aside from that, as clichéd as it sounds, I do not know a profession which allows one to touch people’s lives like Medicine does. I guess you can say both Medicine and research run in the family! My father has always and continues to be my inspiration both in life and Medicine. I am extremely proud of him and if I can achieve even half of what he has in his lifetime I will be very happy.’

Reshania Naidoo is currently a Fogarty Fellow at the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) where she has been conducting research in the treatment of XDR-TB since her third year of study. She was also one of the first undergraduate students at the Medical School to do an oral presentation at an international conference - the Union World Conference on Lung Health and Tuberculosis in Malaysia - during her fourth year. 

Reshania is currently in the process of publishing her research.

-        Zakia Jeewa

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