Professor Rajendra Bhimma with Greys Hospital
Medical team examine a 10-year old Kidney

If you love the TV medical series, Dr House, you would have enjoyed watching UKZN’s Professor Rajendra Bhimma get to work at Greys Hospital’s Paediatric Renal Clinic during an outreach programme.

Once every three months, Bhimma can be found at the clinic helping doctors treat children with difficult and complicated kidney diseases.

‘These visits to the clinic also help reduce the referral rate to Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) where only six beds are allocated for children with complex and severe kidney disease.  So this helps both doctors and patients because it brings these services closer to home,’ said Bhimma.

While he would like to increase the frequency of his visits to the clinic, it is a luxury he cannot afford as there are staffing constraints to consider.

As soon as Bhimma walked into the hospital, consultants and registrars were already waiting for him with their files at hand. As a Paediatrici Nephrologist, Bhimma specialises in cases of children ranging from birth to adolescence.

Dr Harris (HoD of the Renal Clinic at Greys Hospital) said most of the patients that Bhimma treats come from the local and surrounding rural areas including Greytown, Underberg, Dundee, and sometimes from further outlying areas as Greys Hospital is the only tertiary referral hospital in the KZN Midlands.

The Clinic is run weekly by Harris and Dr Suliman. The two doctors always earmark complex cases to be presented to Bhimma when he visits the renal clinic.

‘Professor Bhimma looks at about five to 10 cases if it is not too busy, but the numbers sometimes go up to 20,’ said Harris.

As soon as we arrived in the hospital, Suliman presented her complicated cases to Bhimma so that he could advise on further treatment. Bhimma quickly offered expert advice, also prescribing the required treatment. He did not only offer medical advice, but provided advice on how to counsel the family.

He focused on five files on this particular morning, presented by Suliman; with complicated cases ranging from chronic kidney disease, liver and kidney disease and metabolic bone disease as a consequence of chronic kidney disease in children.

He also saw a number of patients from the outpatient clinic including a 10-year-old patient who physically resembled a three year old due to her growth being severely stunted from her chronic kidney disease.  The child was brought in by her grandmother and had a complicated liver and kidney problem with multiple cysts in both the kidneys and liver.