"My baby may have died, but I stand here today to sincerely thank you."
These were the heart-rending words of a mother whose 18-month-old baby lost her battle against a rare ailment at the Johannesburg Hospital last month.
Sandy Booysens yesterday thanked the staff at the hospital for taking care of her daughter, Lovondres, until her death.
The usually tranquil ward 467 was abuzz with doctors and nurses hugging Booysens, grateful for her acknowledgement of their often-thankless dedication.
Lovondres had developed a condition that affected a large blood vessel to her heart, which had narrowed, obstructing her air passages, according to Kathy van der Donk, her cardiac surgeon.
"We operated on her and fixed the problem, she said.
"She had no voice because of the operation and we performed a couple of further operations."
Van der Donk said Lovondres had experienced breathing problems and been on a ventilator until she died.
In thanking the staff, Booysens presented them with a framed message accompanying a photo of Lovondres.
"... when she looks down from heaven, she will know all the mommies and daddies she was blessed with in ward 467," read Booysen's message.
Van der Donk and other doctors also received personal gifts and messages from Booysens.
"I am grateful to the loving and caring staff as they did everything they could to save my child," Booysens said.
"They deserve acknowledgement for the hard work they did and continue to do for other patients," she said.