Standing next to a portrait of her son, Meenal Rana clutched a hand to her chest as she spoke of Dr Malay Rana’s tireless work for his fellow Cystic Fibrosis (CF) ‘warriors’.
At just 27 years of age, Malay passed away after a struggle with CF, having dedicated his too-short life to treating patients and colleagues with kindness.
This legacy will endure following the opening of the the CF Specialist Service ward in Westmead Hospital.
“This plaque has been dedicated in his memory – this specialised ward was one of his dreams and we are just following through on this dream,” Meenal said.
“He achieved so much in his 27 years – as you can see in the dedication on the plaque. He achieved so much, but he wanted to do so much more.
“We hope that these words inspire other CF warriors and their carers to keep fighting for their health and pursuing their dreams.”
Sadly, stories like Malay’s are not uncommon – such was the previous dire outlook for CF diagnoses, paediatric support was the main focus of infrastructure and treatment options.
NSW Health Minister Ryan Park was joined by Member for Parramatta Donna Davis to mark the official opening of the $65 million facility at Westmead Hospital, which is the first CF Specialised Service in Australia.
This pioneering investment in both patients and research marks the dawn of a new era for CF diagnoses and patient care.
Federal Minister for Health Mark Butler said the purpose-built ward in the Westmead Health Precinct will provide essential support and treatment for people living with this common genetic disorder, which impacts approximately 3,600 Australians.
“This dedicated facility will provide highly specialised care and treatment for adults living with cystic fibrosis,” Mr Butler said.
“There is no cure for CF but treatment has come a long way, and with an improvement in treatment comes an increase in the life expectancy of people living with the condition.”
Mr Park said the new facility will provide more pathways for patients with cystic fibrosis to receive specialised treatment for this complex condition.
“This facility will go a long way in improving treatment outcomes for those in our community with CF,” Mr Park said.
“The 16-bed inpatient unit has four airborne infection isolation rooms and a specialised outpatient unit which will make a world of difference to patients and their families, with expert staff focused on cystic fibrosis able to deliver more personalised care.
“This will also provide us with opportunities to enhance our research capabilities to better understand and treat the disease in future for those living with the condition.”
The contemporary outpatient unit features 10 consultation rooms, four single rooms for day-stay patients, a procedural room and a dedicated research area for clinical trials and diagnostic services.
Western Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive Graeme Loy said the CF Specialist Service is another great example of health innovation within the Westmead Health Precinct.
“People with cystic fibrosis are now living longer than ever before thanks to massive improvements in treatment and care,” Mr Loy said.
“This new facility offers an exciting opportunity to carry out new research and clinical trials and offer patients world-leading treatments for this disease.
“There are still many like Dr Malay Rana, who lost his life at just 27 years old, who need specialised services and continued research to provide quality and quantity of life.
“Dr Malay was a strong advocate for people living with CF and was dedicated to raising community awareness and campaigning for improved speciality services within NSW and now here we are today, opening this facility in his honour.”
Dr Malay’s family were involved throughout the planning and design stages of the project and valuable insights were provided, creating person-centred inpatient and outpatient services tailored to the needs of CF consumers.
Member for Parramatta Donna Davis said the ward will enhance the already extensive suite of healthcare services that are available at Westmead.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity this specialist service brings to those living with cystic fibrosis across the region,” Ms Davis said.
“This purpose-built ward will build further on what the incredible Westmead Health Precinct already offers as a major centre for education, research, innovation and jobs.”
CF is a genetic condition affecting the lungs and digestive systems because of a break down in the exocrine system that is responsible for producing saliva, sweat, tears and mucus.
The Westmead Health Precinct is one of the largest health, education, research and innovation precincts in Australia and is a key provider of jobs for the greater Parramatta and western Sydney region.
More than $3 billion has been committed by government and our precinct partners to upgrade and expand the Precinct’s health services, education, research and innovation facilities over the coming years.