Anaesthetic Machine Installation and training



Why was it initiated?

Significant deficiencies in anaesthetic equipment were highlighted during the anaesthetic component of MESCH’s “safe surgery for small children” project in Lam Dong Hospital (LDGH), Da Lat Vietnam.  A visit in April 2011 to upskill biomedical technicians facilitated discussion with Dr Hy (director LDGH) and an agreement was reached to improve the quality of anaesthetic practice and equipment.



Standard of equipment in use prior to donation

What were its aims?

Supply six reconditioned ULCO ‘Elite 615” anaesthetic machines from Australia to LDGH
Train staff in their use and maintenance                                               

When did it run?


Who has been involved?

LDGH: Dr Hy, Dr Sinh, Dr Nhuan, Pham Ba Thai.
MESCH: Dr Michel Poppinghaus, Steve Threlfo, La Vu Cuong
Other: Leigh Bryant (Scorpion International) 

What happened?

Eight (8) ULCO “Elite 615” anaesthetic machines were accumulated by, Michel Poppinghaus from a number of facilities: 
Wagga Wagga Base Hospital (Ivan Rose)
Goulburn Base Hospital (Shane Webb)
Blue Mountains Hospital, Katoomba (Pierre D'Cunha)
John Hunter Hospital (Mal Allen)
Lingard Private Hospital (Ian Jones)
Hunter valley Private Hospital (Trudi Bowden)
Helen Cornwell
Warners Bay Private Hospital (Robyn White)

Servicing was donated by ULCO (Kevin Scrimshaw) at their facility in Sydney. Long term storage was donated by Hamilton bus depot (Darren Carey, Lenny Creagh and Greg Brooks). Hudson Building Supplies and Brad Kershaw provided much needed advice and support for international packing to ship to LDGH.   Computertrans (Peter Shelton, Chris Mason-Wells, Robert & Cheryl Armour) donated machine transport between donors, our location (Newcastle, Australia) & ULCO. FREIGHTLINX Haulage provided container haulage and driver to load (at a greatly reduced rate – donated by Maitland Rotary). Scorpion International (Leigh Bryant) provided all logistics and arranged donors for transport between Australia & Vietnam. Through them, Altus logistics Vietnam (Trinh Nam) provided transport and logistics to LDGH. 

We did most of the customisation in Australia prior to packing with the on-site test and commissioning process at LDGH. LR instruments (Kirsty Sinclair) donated test manometers for the machines and a large quantity of spare parts were provided by ULCO to ensure future on-site repairs could be attended to.

La Vu provided significant technical assistance and his communication skills were a key to success of the 2013 visit.

Thanks to the generosity and persistence of the donors noted above and MESCH, 6 machines were ultimately installed in LDGH, 1 in Bao Loc hospital and 1 to a medical centre in Duc Truong district.  

A lot of time was devoted to training on machine testing and fault finding to maximise the service life of the equipment.  Specialised test equipment for use with the gas reticulation systems used in Vietnam, was made, transported to Vietnam and donated to Lam Dong Hospital technical staff. Training in user level machine set-up and daily testing was started for 19 staff from LDGH and outlying centres and the project was finally completed in November 2014 when Steve Threlfo returned for the final follow up steps to use and servicing. He and Hai (the hospital engineer) rewrote the operating manuals in user-friendly Vietnamese. Steve also added to the hospital’s store of spare parts.  Steve has been keen to promote trouble shooting concepts.....a little used idea in the medical equipment maintenance department. This experience has been a new approach for the bio-med service department in Da Lat in demonstrating the importance of upkeep of equipment for staff and patient safety as well as greatly reducing replacement costs.

In addition to the anaesthetic machines and ventilators, five patient monitoring systems were delivered and set up. Due to its age, this electronic equipment is not expected to last very long.  However, while it continues to work it will improve patient management and safety during anaesthetic delivery and hopefully prove the need for this to be continued in the future.









Lam Dong Director of Anaesthetics, Dr Dinh Van Sinh, instructing staff during use of donated equipment, 25/11/2013.



Despite a number of logistical and bureaucratic obstacles during this 3 year project, MESCH did not pay any additional fees or bribes – cementing their profile within LDGH and demonstrating to LDGH that this was possible.
The donation has improved safety and reduced the operating costs of delivery anaesthetics. In addition, provision of mechanical ventilators and monitors has assisted with patient support during complicated surgery.
Hospital staff now know about routine daily testing of equipment
A substantial collection of spare parts and technical knowledge to provide long term on-site support has been supplemented by a manual produced in Vietnamese by LDGH staff - a key indicator of true appreciation and ownership of the donation.

Want to find out more?    Please email

Lam Dong Biomed Engineer, Pham Ba Thai (left). Steve Threlfo (centre), La Vu Cuong (right) at equipment handover ceremony, 28/11/2013.


Wagga Wagga Base Hospital (Ivan Rose) - anaesthetic machine
Goulburn Base Hospital (Shane Webb) - anaesthetic machine
Blue Mountains Hospital, Katoomba (Pierre D'Cunha) - anaesthetic machine
John Hunter Hospital (Mal Allen) - anaesthetic machine
Lingard Private Hospital (Ian Jones) - anaesthetic machine
Hunter valley Private Hospital (C/- Trudi Bowden) - anaesthetic machine
Helen Cornwell - anaesthetic machine
Warners Bay Private Hospital (Robyn White) - anaesthetic machine
Ulco medical (Kevin Scrimshaw) - servicing of anaesthetic machines
Computertrans (Peter Shelton, Chris Mason-Wells, Robert & Cheryl Armour) – machine transport between donors, Newcastle & Ulco
Hamilton bus depot (Darren Carey, Lenny Creagh and Greg Brooks) - storage of anaesthetic machines
Scorpion International (Leigh Bryant) - time, sourcing donors, transport between Australia & Vietnam
Altus logistics Vietnam (Trinh Nam) -Vietnam transport and logistics
Hudson Building Supplies - advice and support
LR instruments (Kirsty Sinclair) - test manometers for the machines
Maitland Rotary - Donation for transport
FREIGHTLINX Haulage - container haulage and driver to load
Brad Kershaw - packing and other assistance


 Lam Dong General Hospital, Vietnam