Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Hospital, Saipan

The Swinfen Charitable Trust received a private donation made on behalf of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Hospital, Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands so we thought we’d provide some information on this great hospital, in a place most of us have probably never heard of!

Although situated in an idyllic tropical paradise, the CHCH is resource limited, sometimes basic equipment is hard to come by and the medical professionals use all their skills and initiative to solve complex issues, which is where Telemedicine comes in: SCT provides access to consultants and specialists from all over the world, 24/7.

And a message from our donor:  “Although it is technically a US territory, the Northern Mariana Islands are remote and physically isolated, making referral for specialty care difficult or impossible.  40% of our residents are also not US citizens and thus ineligible for many services those on the mainland can take for granted.  The SCT consultants have provided us with an invaluable service, often superior to that which is available in rural mainland America”.

For more information visit the CHCH Facebook page and

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Hospital, Saipan
Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Make donations with #easyfundraising

Did you know that whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday – you could be raising free donations for The Swinfen Charitable Trust?

There are over 4,000 shops and sites on board ready to make a donation – including eBay, Argos, John Lewis, ASOS, and M&S All you need to do is shop:– and it won’t cost you a penny extra to help us raise funds.

To raise donations for free, go to:

Every time you shop online, go to easyfundraising first to find the site you want and start shopping.

After you’ve checked out, the retailer will make a donation to The Swinfen Charitable Trust at no extra cost to you whatsoever!

There are no catches or hidden charges and The Swinfen Charitable Trust will be really grateful for your donations.

Thank you for your support

Arabella’s New Haircut

Swinfen Telemedicine Trustee Arabella Mayo has had her hair shaved off in support of her father, Lord Swinfen one of the founders of The Swinfen Charitable Trust.

I have shaved my head! for The Swinfen Charitable Trust because I wanted to support my father through chemo.

Arabella is unable to visit Lord Swinfen with the current Coronavirus restrictions in place, she has taken the brave step of having her head shaved, as a mark of support as he undergoes chemotherapy, one of the potential side effects of chemotherapy being a loss of hair.
A JustGiving donation page has been set up, with all funds going to the Swinfen Charitable Trust.

You can donate to the Swinfen Charitable Trust from the home page, or via Arabella’s Just Giving page.

Thanks to Charles: husband, hairdresser and fellow trustee and Elizabeth: daughter and photographer.

Valerie Smith-Orr, Order of Australia Medal Award

One of the Nursing specialists who is a referrer with the Swinfen Trust’s Telemedicine system is Nurse Valerie Smith-Orr, working in the Philippines.

Valerie has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the general division in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours List ‘For service to the international community through nursing’.

Val Smith-Orr was born and raised in Yorkshire, UK. She completed her post graduate training at the famous McIndoe Unit at Queen Victoria Hospital where she received her badge in Plastic Surgery.

In 1990, Val emigrated to Australia and became a citizen in 2000. She attended the University of Sydney in 2003 and graduated with a Certificate in Health Science. In 2005, she started her Masters Research at the University of Queensland (UQ). However, shortly after, her life plans changed when she took a trip to the Philippines.

In 2006, Val arrived in the Philippines for a six-month stint, collecting data for her research at UQ.  Her topic of study was “feeding children with cleft palate in a developing world” and involved interviewing mothers to see what methods they used to feed their children.

When she initially began her research, she had over 200 families participate. One child was a tiny baby girl weighing 2.7 kg (5.9 lbs), the size of a newborn, except she was several months old.  The girl was very malnourished and quite blue in colour.  Val thought the girl would die in her arms.

The child’s family agreed to allow Val to care for her for one month. After two weeks of care, one night, the baby girl stopped breathing, and Val managed to keep her alive through external airway resuscitation (E.A.R).  The baby survived and has been in Val’s care ever since.

Val started Triple B Care Projects after she began helping patients in need in her small kitchen.

An Indian Case of Beta Thalassemia Trait

By Lynda Bardell

Dr Elizabeth Searle works at a hospital in Jharkhand, India. In August 2019 she referred one of her patients to the Swinfen Charitable Trust. Dr Searle was worried about this 27-year-old lady who was 23 weeks pregnant with her second child. The lady had travelled from a remote jungle area and was feeling unwell. She was anaemic and her haemoglobin was falling despite her taking prescribed iron supplements. The oral supplements were causing uncomfortable and potentially risky side effects. Fortunately, her unborn child appeared to be developing normally.

Further blood investigations showed this young lady had Beta Thalassemia Trait which was increasing her anaemia with potential risk to her health and her unborn child. The patient’s first child was born almost two years previously by caesarean section after labour difficulties. Consequently, the patient was expected to deliver her second child by caesarean section again. As the lady lived in a remote area, if there was a problem during the pregnancy or especially at caesarean section, a blood transfusion would not be available unless she was able to move to a large medical facility in a city. The family had no means to facilitate this. Dr Elizabeth required expert advice on whether a blood transfusion was the only safe way to raise the patient’s haemoglobin and what implications the diagnosis of Beta Thalassemia Trait would have on the pregnancy and the unborn child.

Dr Elizabeth reached out to the Swinfen Charitable Trust via the telemedicine referral link. The next day she received advice and information from two of the Trust’s consultants who concurred that pregnancy outcomes and obstetric complications should be no different for her patient than those in the general population. The consultants continued to support Dr Elizabeth, with advice and suggestions, as she managed her patient’s medical complications throughout the remainder of the pregnancy.

A message came from Dr Elizabeth just before Christmas to report that the lady had undergone emergency caesarean section at 37 weeks and had a healthy 2.6 kg girl. Both mother and baby were doing well. All Swinfen volunteers involved in the referral were overjoyed at this wonderful news. Without the Swinfen telemed link available to Dr Elizabeth in India the outcomes for this mother and baby may have been quite different.