Sunday, 6 June 2021

Zagreb’s Hospital, Repurposed into COVID Clinic, to Get Back to Its Usual Business

ZAGREB, 6 June, 2021 - The clinical hospital Dubrava in the eastern part of the Croatian capital city, which was repurposed into the main hospital for treating COVID patients in the country during the pandemic, will resume its regular services as of Monday.

Doctor Jurica Maraković of the KB Dubrava hospital told the national broadcaster (HRT) on Sunday, that after treating only COVID patients for 217 days, the hospital would get back to its usual business as of Monday.

KB Dubrava's inpatient units and outpatient clinics are supposed to reopen their doors to patients.

Appointments for 300 non-COVID patients have been scheduled to Monday only.

Also, the hospital continues treating COVID patients and currently there are 110 patients hospitalised there. Of them 23 are placed on ventilators.

The reopening of all departments of the KB Dubrava ensues after Croatia started registering a decline in new coronavirus numbers and improvement in the epidemiological situation.

For more on COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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Sunday, 14 March 2021

KBC Zagreb Hospital First in Croatia to Introduce Immunoadsorption Method

ZAGREB, 14 March 2021 - On the occasion of World Kidney Day, observed on 11 March, a medical team from the KBC Zagreb hospital presented the immunoadsorption method allowing organ transplantation in patients in whom such a procedure would not be possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

KBC Zagreb is the first hospital in Croatia to apply the immunoadsorption method to remove specific pathological antibodies in the process of transplantation while preserving the protective bodies in the patient's blood to protect them against infections. In that way, the patient is not exposed to the additional risk of infectious complications, the head of the hospital's Kidney Transplantation Department, Nikolina Bašić Jukić, told a press conference.

This method has enabled us to perform transplantation in two highly-sensitive patients and to save the life of a 30-year-old woman after lung transplantation because of chronic antibody-mediated rejection, she added.

The director of KBC Zagreb, Ante Ćorušić, said that immunoadsorption enables a better medical outcome in transplant patients at the time of the coronavirus pandemic. "This method is slightly more expensive but is much more effective. This is a great success not just for the Department of Nephrology but for the entire transplantation team, including urologists and cardiologists."

At this largest centre for kidney transplantation in Croatia, 43 patients received new kidneys last year. Ten such procedures have been performed this year, and only five patients remain on the waiting list.

The transplantation program was interrupted twice last year due to an escalation of the coronavirus pandemic, as a result of which fewer than average procedures were performed. The annual average ranges between 70 and 80 procedures, the head of the Department of Urology, Željko Kaštelan, said.

To keep up with news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Monday, 14 December 2020

Minister Says Hospital Increasing Capacity to Admit COVID-19 Patients

ZAGREB, Dec 14, 2020 - Health Minister Vili Beros said on Monday that his ministry had sent the KBC Zagreb hospital, the KB Dubrava hospital and the Hospital for Lung Diseases, also in Zagreb, an instruction to urgently take steps to increase their accommodation capacity for COVID-19 patients.

Beros said the instruction was sent in light of the current epidemiological situation and that the three hospitals would also secure additional staff and equipment.

He added that activities related to the reassignment of medical workers and equipment were ongoing, underlining the deployment of additional doctors and nurses to the hospitals in Varazdin and Cakovec.

"At the meeting with epidemiologists on December 11 we analysed the strategy for fast antigen testing in order to put hotpots under control. Today's meeting of the expert group of the COVID-19 response team discussed the need to increase the accommodation capacity of medical institutions and other current problems so as to determine steps to be taken in the coming weeks," Beros said.

He added that the distribution of 100,000 rapid antigen tests from commodity reserves to county institutes of public health had begun and that so far a total of 250,000 had been distributed.

Beros stressed that the number of COVID-19 patients who were being admitted to hospitals had grown mildly compared to last week, as had the number of new patients on ventilators.

"Even though it is resilient and sustainable in terms of organisation, the health system must be protected from maximum strain. Our main goal is to maintain, as long as possible, the centralised treatment of COVID-19 patients, that way we are reducing the possibility of the virus entering more hospitals, which will  make it possible to continue providing regular medical care," said the minister.

He reported that the number of coronavirus infections worldwide had exceeded 72,655,000 and that the number of related fatalities was above 1,619,999.

In Croatia, there are 1,430 active cases among medical workers while 807 are in self-isolation.

Monday, 14 December 2020

Clinical Hospital Sveti Duh First in This Part of Europe to Treat Recently Incurable Eye Diseases

December 14, 2020 – Zagreb's Clinical Hospital Sveti Duh is the only one in this part of Europe to use gene therapy to treat recently incurable hereditary eye diseases that cause vision loss, ranking Croatia among only six countries in the world that use this therapy in ophthalmology.

As Hina reports, Zagreb's Sveti Duh Clinical Hospital, which became a collaborating center of the World Health Organization last year, is the first regional Center of Excellence for implementing gene therapy for hereditary retinal dystrophies. Patients from about 15 countries, of which more than a third are countries within the European Union, will gravitate to it.

Sixth in the world to apply this method

The final diagnosis, in which this treatment method gives incredible results until recently, is done based on genetic testing, and the first patients received therapy this summer.

Thanks to this well-deserved status of a certified Center of Excellence, Clinical Hospital Sveti Duh positioned the Republic of Croatia as the first country in Eastern and Southeastern Europe to apply this innovative method of treating a hereditary disease that causes blindness. Croatia is also the sixth country in the world (after the USA, Great Britain, Germany, France, and Israel) to do so.

The gene therapy treatment procedure is performed exclusively in certified centers of excellence that must meet all clinical, scientific, technological, and personnel requirements determined by strict and scientifically based regulations of the European Union and the EMA.

"Thanks to this certificate and the decision of the Croatian Health Insurance Institute to cover all treatment costs, patients in Croatia are enabled to treat hereditary retinal dystrophies, for which there was no medical solution until recently. These are pigmented retinopathy and Leber's congenital amaurosis, a very rare eye disease caused by a mutation in the RPE65 gene, which results in certain blindness already in the first years of life, and at the latest in the fourth decade. With such patients, timely application of available gene therapy stops the progression of the disease and can lead to a significant improvement in eyesight," explained prof. Dr. sc. Mladen Bušić, the Clinical Hospital Sveti Duh director.

Lifelong effect

Dr. Bušić points out that their patients subjectively notice easier coping in low light conditions. It also makes them feel that the space in which they move is brighter and better lit.

"From a clinical point of view, their subjective impression was confirmed through our tests, by improving visual acuity in low light conditions, improving contrast vision, and expanding the visual field. All of the above allows them to navigate and move in space, and we believe this effect is lifelong," dr. Bušić pointed out.

This achievement is an additional recognition to the Clinical Hospital Sveti Duh, which confirms the highest professional standards of the Clinical Center of Excellence, this time for the application of an extremely demanding and sophisticated therapeutic procedure.

Costs fully covered

A mutation in one of over 260 different genes causes hereditary retinal dystrophies, so it is crucial to diagnose it in time through genetic testing.

It is estimated that up to 1,000 people in Croatia suffer from hereditary retinal dystrophies. Thus, genetic testing of patients is necessary to identify those in whom an innovative therapeutic solution can be applied.

The Croatian Health Insurance Institute (HZZO) fully covers these testing costs and the costs of treatment for all those patients in whom a mutation in the RPE65 gene causes hereditary retinal dystrophy.

Croatia is the first country in the world to make this possible for its insured citizens.

To read more news about Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 11 December 2020

Zagreb Hospital Wins Medical Oscar for Care of Premature Babies During Earthquake

ZAGREB, Dec 11, 2020 - Zagreb's University Hospital Centre (KBC) has been awarded the Ocar of Medicine for its outstanding achievement in medicine and outstanding efforts by medical staff at the Women's Hospital in taking care of patients, particularly premature babies during a strong earthquake in Zagreb in March.

With their selfless efforts medical staff and volunteers managed to transfer premature babies in incubators and their mothers to safety, it was said during the presentation ceremony.

The medical staff at the hospital were honoured for their expertise, organisation skills and huge solidarity shown.

International Medis Awards, better known as the Oscar of Medicine, have been given for seven years to the best doctors and pharmaceutical researchers for their work and achievements.

The KBC Zagreb also received a donation from the Medis pharmaceutical company, namely a device for UV-C decontamination of surfaces, which came just in time during the coronavirus pandemic.

The head of the neonatal ward in the Petrova Women's Hospital, Mirta Starcevic, recalled that there were 26 premature babies in the hospital when the earthquake struck on March 22, eight of them weighing less than 1.5 kilograms.

"That night a premature baby weighing 1,500 grams was born with numerous complications. When the earthquake struck we had to evacuate the building and the biggest problem was how to maintain the children's body temperature. All the doctors who were not on duty that day immediately came to the hospital. I have to say that the situation resembled a proper war zone. The thing that we are most proud of and pleased with is that we did not lose any of the babies in those circumstances, which is absolutely unbelievable," nurse Starcevic said.

The International Media Awards are annual awards presented for the best research by doctors and pharmacists in nine countries: Croatia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Hungary, North Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Croatian Footballer Darijo Srna Donated to Croatian Hospitals

December 1, 2020 – Former captain of the Croatia national football team Darijo Srna and the company Enna Fruit organized the delivery of mandarins to six Croatian hospitals.

As 24sata reports, former Croatia football player Darijo Srna (38) donated 15 tons of mandarins to hospitals in Zagreb, Split, and Osijek. In cooperation with the company ENNA Fruit, which organized the delivery of fruit, Srna delighted patients and staff, which was confirmed from the hospital in Split.

In addition to Srna's donation, the company ENNA Fruit also donated two integral disinfection systems that will be used in the hospital in the Zagreb Arena.

"In challenging times, when we are all facing the COVID crisis, it is important, within our capabilities, to be supportive of those who need it most," said Darijo Srna on the occasion of this humanitarian donation, which, as he says, went to the right hands – in KBC Sestre milosrdnice, KBC Dubrava, KBC Rebro, Clinic for Children's Diseases in Zagreb and KBC Split and KBC Osijek.

"Integral disinfection system is an advanced device for measuring body temperature, disinfection of hands, and footwear with the help of a disinfection mat. This device will provide healthcare workers, doctors, and nurses with a safer stay in the hospital and facilitate the daily fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the causative agent of COVID-19 disease," they said from the ENNA Fruit company as reported by Rogotin.hr.

Darijo Srna has long been known for humanitarian actions, such as the one in 2014 when he bought 20 tons of mandarins, paid for transportation, and donated them to children in Donetsk who were affected by the horrors of war.

"I'm not doing this to have someone say to me: 'Well done, Dario.' This is from the heart and soul of all citizens of Donetsk," said Darijo Srna then.

 To read more news from Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Contracts on EU Funds Worth HRK 73 mn Presented to Health Ministry, Zagreb Hospital

ZAGREB, November 20, 2020 - Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Natasa Tramisak on Friday presented contracts on EU funds worth HRK 73 million for new healthcare projects to Zagreb's Dr Fran Mihaljevic Hospital for Infectious Diseases and the Health Ministry.

"The coronavirus pandemic has raised awareness of the need to invest more in the health system, in Croatia and the EU alike. We are therefore using all available money from European structural and investment funds," Tramisak said at the contract-awarding ceremony.

She said the contracts would help the hospital continue boosting its capacity and procuring new equipment as well as the Health Ministry buy the necessary equipment, such as a linear accelerator for the KBC Rebro hospital.

Tramisak said projects worth more than 3 billion kuna had been agreed for the health system, with 2.7 billion being grants.

The latest contracts are valued at more than HRK 73 million, and almost 100% of the contract value are grants.

The minister said that apart from a HRK 369 million contract signed last week for the procurement of protective equipment, her ministry had asked the EU Solidarity Fund for an additional €39 million if the procurement of additional equipment should prove to be necessary.

The contract for the Health Ministry is worth HRK 23.7 million and will be entirely financed with EU funds.

The contract for the Dr Fran Mihaljevic hospital is worth HRK 50 million, and EU grants amount to HRK 49.6 million. The funding will help adapt part of the hospital infrastructure and almost half of the funds will be used to buy valuable diagnostic equipment, the hospital's director, Alemka Markotic, said.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Croatian Boy Walks After Successful Brain Implant at Dubrava Clinic

The neurosurgery team at Dubrava Clinical Hospital has achieved another success. A 10-year-old Croatian boy from Dalmatia, who was paralyzed due to a rare disease, has received a deep brain stimulator implant. Just three months after surgery, the boy is walking.

After a five-year search, the parents of the 10-year-old boy finally learned about his diagnosis. A rare disease, dystonia, is a condition in which the brain has no control over muscular activity and was the cause of all their son's problems. They sought help from Professor Chudy at KB Dubrava (Dubrava Clinical Hospital), according to Ruža Ištuk/Dnevnik/HRT on January 8, 2020.

Their son underwent surgery three months ago, and they say that the results are amazing. The boy is speaking more clearly, sits without help, can control his movements and walk.

“I feel wonderful. It's like a new birthday for me. I don't know how to describe the feeling as a parent. It's a big deal to have a child who has a (medical) problem, and then everything gets better. It’s phenomenal, said the boy's parent.

croatian_walks_brain_implant_04.jpg

Professor Darko Chudy, head of the Department of Neurosurgery at KB Dubrava, said he expects the boy to become independent and to have the same life opportunities as other boys.

"This stimulator works like a trigger which enables muscles to follow orders," Chudy explained.

croatian_walks_brain_implant_03.jpg

“There’s no better feeling. It motivates you to keep going and become even better at what we do so that our patients are happy and satisfied, said Fadi Almahariq, neurosurgeon at KB Dubrava.

croatian_walks_brain_implant_02.jpg

Veronica Paradžhik, the boy's physical therapist, is also delighted as the improvements are becoming increasingly visible.

"It was only after the stimulator was installed that physical therapy sessions began to show results," Paradžhik revealed.

The boy is now undergoing spa therapy and his condition is expected to further improve.

 

Follow our Lifestyle page to stay updated on Croatian medical advancements.

Monday, 2 December 2019

British School in Zagreb Hosts International Day, Fundraises for a Hospital

British International School in Zagreb hosted their now traditional "International Day", with the goal of raising money and other means, donated to the Emergency Operative Ward of the Surgery Clinic at the Sisters of Mercy Clinical Hospital in Zagreb.

The school announced it on their webpage, and Romina Peritz wrote about it for Jutarnji list. The event had an interesting format: the parents of the children who attend the school prepared the traditional delicacies from their countries of origin, which were then sold and all the funds were collected for the hospital. There were almost 20 countries represented at the food market organized at the school (the teachers' strike didn't affect the event!). The truly international nature of the school was shown: although all of the classes are held in English, the students (and their parents) have arrived to Zagreb from all over the world, from Russia, China, Italy, Middle East and others.

The British International School of Zagreb has started working in Zagreb in 2003, but their sister school, the elementary school Kreativan Razvoj (Creative Development) started in 1995. dr. Martin-Tino Časl, the founder and principal of the school explained that nobody gets asked where they're from in the school (in the negative sense), and the fact that the students arrive from all over the world is a gift for students attending the Cambridge program. There are quite a few Chinese students in the school, and more and more from Russia have been enrolling recently.

Croatian parents also participated in the event, preparing Croatian delicacies, but not just those: some of the South-American parents provided the recipes and spices, so Croatian parents were able to create Peruan and Venezuelan delicacies as well!

The International Day was held in the school in Šestine neighbourhood of Zagreb for the third year running, this year visited by the British Ambassador to Croatia, Andrew Dalgleish. A famous Croatian cellist Ana Rucner and her brother Marijo Rucner performed at the event, and it was a wonderful day for everyone who attended.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Project Terme Blato - Yet Another Hiccup?

The so-called “Terme Blato” project was started back in 2008, and the ultimate plan was to build a large spa centre right next to the never-finished University Hospital building in Blato.

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