In June, Gradian’s customer service was put to the test at St. Jean de Dieu Hospital in Tanguieta, Benin. While operating on a patient using the Universal Anaesthesia Machine (UAM), the surgical team noticed an error message on the UAM’s automatic ventilator, which kept them from properly ventilating the patient. The anesthetist immediately contacted Homintec – Gradian’s distributor in Benin – to report and troubleshoot the issue. But this was an error in the software supporting the ventilator and Homintec didn’t recognize the message, so they needed to act fast to figure it out.

They quickly contacted our Biomedical Engineering Manager, Ismael, via WhatsApp to ask about the error. Remembering that the UAM in question was using older ventilator software, Ismael knew the solution: the anesthetist had to turn off the ventilator, push the manual bellows down a few centimeters and then turn the ventilator back on. So from our office in New York, Ismael passed this feedback along to Homintec (in English), who relayed it to the anesthetist (in French), who made the fix. Within minutes, the ventilator was functioning smoothly and the surgical team at St. Jean de Dieu was able to complete the operation. Gradian updated the UAM software the following day, and we haven’t heard of any problems since.

“I admired the availability and timeliness of Homintec,” said Victor Naroumbo, the equipment maintenance manager at St. Jean de Dieu. “I told him and the technical team of the UAM congratulations for this troubleshooting.”

In this case, it wasn’t a medical or technical intervention that was needed to make surgical care possible; it was timely, bilingual communication between the health provider, his equipment technicians and the manufacturer – or what we at Gradian call customer service.

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