The best of care in and out of the Hospital

The day your newborn leaves hospital to go home is a day every parent remembers. Anne Papadimitroulis had to wait 20 months before she could take her youngest son Dimi home from the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

However, without having access to loan equipment from the Hospital, Dimi would have spent many more months of his young life away from his family’s home.

The WCH Foundation funds medical equipment both in and out of the Hospital, so children like Dimi can go home and be with their family sooner.

Dimi in June 2013 after spending 300 days in Hospital – Dimi in March 2014 just before leaving to go home.

Dimi’s mum, Anne, shared the incredible story of her son and what it meant to their family to have him home.

Dimi was born seven weeks premature. An operation at just three days old revealed Dimi had a serious bowel condition and needed special food through an IV drip and later a feeding tube through his nose. He was also diagnosed with a chronic lung disease and needed constant oxygen to help him breathe freely.

This equipment could only be accessed from within the Hospital.

The first months of Dimi’s life were difficult, the life-saving equipment in the intensive and critical care units at the Hospital was vital to his survival.

“It was hard when Dimi lived in the Hospital – but we really didn’t know any different. The staff were so amazing with him. I would be there all day with him and when he’d fall asleep, I’d head back home – make dinner for the family and be there again when he’d wake up,” Anne said.

At Easter of 2014 Dimi was finally able to be discharged. A milestone only possible thanks to a portable Optiflow Oxygen Humidifier on loan from the Hospital. The equipment warmed oxygen to make it easier for Dimi to breathe.

“Coming home was an Easter I’ll never forget! It made a huge difference to our lives because we were finally home as a family, together, instead of spending birthdays and Christmases in Hospital,” Anne said.

“It was scary at first – there was a fair bit of equipment we needed but it meant no more running around and our family was finally together.”

Dimi and his mum Anne.

Dimi was finally with his family and able to go to the beach, the park and join in family events – all the things he had missed out on while being in Hospital.

In 2019, Dimi recently started school and incredibly has also taken his first unassisted steps.

Although Dimi no longer requires the oxygen equipment during the day, he still uses an oximeter (this measures the oxygen levels in the blood) and requires oxygen at night. He has check-ups at the Hospital every three months, and Anne goes to the home equipment centre once a month to collect his oxygen and feeding supplies.

“It makes me a little tearful thinking about all the hard times we all went through, I remember being told he may never come home and live a normal life. Dimi has never given up, and neither have we,” she said.

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