The newly named Douglas Ferro Unit at St Bernard’s Hospital, named in honour of a former dialysis patient, was unveiled yesterday by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
Mr Ferro was remembered at yesterday’s event honouring his work in the Dialysis Patients and Friends Association. His advocacy for dialysis resulted in the Government looking into the possibility of expanding the number of hours of treatment for patients.
Round Table Gibraltar donated £4,000 to the unit, as Mr Ferro had previously been a member. The Ferro family also donated a sum to the unit.
Mr Picardo acknowledged Mr Ferro as an individual who could “drive change” and said the renaming of the unit would ensure his work is remembered.
“Our society is organised over the basis of structures, there is a government, there is a Gibraltar Health Authority, there are different structures that do different things, but never believe that people don’t matter or that individuals don’t make a difference,” Mr Picardo said.
“It is individuals that drive change and few individuals are as associated to the change in the dialysis unit that is now a reality in Gibraltar than Mr Ferro. His family rightly is very proud of the contribution that he has made before he passed away and the Government was delighted to agree that the dialysis unit should carry his name to always remind us of his efforts and of his work.”
The wife of the late Mr Ferro, Diana, recounted how the day of the September 11 terrorist attack in 2001 was the same day that Douglas’ life also “crashed”.
The couple were in Canada on holiday when his kidney’s began failing.
“He was forced to come back to Gibraltar and eventually leave his job as well,” Mrs Ferro said.
She told how Mr Ferro was on dialysis three times a week and it was a “complete life change”.
“Out of every bad situation something good comes out and Douglas dedicated his free time to many things around Gibraltar in the fields of sport, banking and finance, and charity work,” she said.
“The one that was most dear to him was the Dialysis Patients and Friends Association because it related so much to what he was going through.”
Minister for Health, Neil Costa, told the attendees of friends and family it was essential that people in the community should receive the best care possible.
He added patients should receive this care in Gibraltar and not have to travel across the border to Spain three times a week to receive treatment.
“Having consulted with the Chief Minister we are looking at expanding the service from three times a week to five times a week,” Mr Costa said.
“Such has been the success of the advocacy made by Mr Ferro that we are almost now at capacity, so we need to increase a number of hours that we provide for our dialysis patients.”