USCOM saves a life in the UK
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
February 18th, 2010
NEW EQUIPMENT AT CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL HELPS SAVE LIVES
Nottingham’s Children’s Hospital has benefited from new, state-of-the-art equipment that helped save the life of a six-month-old baby within hours of being installed.
The £15,000 for the Ultrasonic Cardiac Output Monitor, or USCOM, was donated to Nottingham University Hospitals Charity by Councillor Barrie Cooper, the former Mayor of Rushcliffe.
Councillor Cooper chose NUH Charity’s Children’s Hospital fund as his ‘Charity of the Year’ during his year of office in 2008-09, and raised a total of £15,439.20.
The USCOM, which provides a non-invasive way of measuring the heart function of sick children, was installed in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Queen’s Medical Centre on January 16th.
One of the first patients to benefit from the machine was six-month-old Abbie Sisson, who was rushed to hospital on January 16th with suspected meningitis.
Her mum, Charlotte Pattison, 23, from Nottingham, explained: “Abbie just wouldn’t wake up so we called NHS Direct and they sent an ambulance and she was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre. Then a rash started to appear.
“When she got to the hospital she was hooked up to a load of monitors and then she was taken to intensive care where we didn’t see her for two and a half hours. Then the consultant came in and said she only had a small chance of survival. There are no words to describe how we felt.”
Abbie was diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia, the blood poisoning version of meningitis, and was given just a four per cent chance of survival.
Dr Patrick Davies, Consultant in Paediatrics, treated Abbie and used the newly-installed USCOM to help find the right treatment for her.
Dr Davies explained: “The USCOM works by measuring the speed, volume, and force of blood flow coming out of the heart, which enables us to exactly define how hard the heart is working, and which aspects of its work the heart is struggling with.
“Once we know this, we can give the patient drugs to help the heart to support the patient’s blood pressure. We have a range of drugs we can use, which all have different actions. Previously, we had to use guesswork to choose the right drug - now we can be sure of what we use.
“Abbie was extremely unwell when she arrived with us with meningococcal septicaemia and was probably within minutes of a cardiac arrest. On admission, her percentage chance of death was calculated at 96%. Use of the USCOM machine helped us define the best treatment for her, and to make sure we had the right dose of the right drug at the right time.
“Abbie responded excellently to treatment and knowledge of exactly what was happening with her heart was an integral part of her treatment. We obviously don’t know what would have happened without the machine, but the more we know about these patients, the better.”
Mum Charlotte said: “Abbie made it through the night and then in the morning the consultant said he was amazed she had made such a good recovery so quickly.”
Abbie made a full recovery and is now back home with Charlotte, who said: “You would never know now that she was so ill – she’s giggling and really happy and absolutely perfect. The staff in the ward were absolutely amazing. The consultant, Dr Patrick Davies, was so fantastic – he has done so much for our family.”
Councillor Cooper visited PICU and met with Charlotte and Abbie after the baby’s recovery. Explaining why he chose to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital, he said: “I had lots of requests from lots of different charities and it was difficult choose but we thought we would like to do something for children so that’s when I got in contact with the hospitals charity.
“We were invited to visit the QMC and saw some of the children in the wards and that made our mind up.”
Fundraising events run by Councillor Cooper included concerts, lunches and a quiz night.
Nottingham University Hospitals Charity exists to support the work that takes place at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital campuses.
Donations to the charity are used to enhance patient care at NUH by providing specialist equipment, medical research and staff training.
To find out more about NUH Charity, to make a donation or to get involved in fundraising, go to www.nuhcharity.org.uk.
Two photographs are attached – one of Barrie Cooper and Abbie Sisson, the other, from left to right, shows Charlotte Pattison and Adam Sisson, their daughter Abbie Sisson, Jean Cooper and her husband Barrie Cooper.
Charlotte Pattison is available for interview and photographs on request – please contact Samantha Hughes, NUH Charity Promotions Officer.
Nottingham University Hospitals Charity
0115 9691169 extension 59946
NUH Charity supports the work that goes on at Nottingham University Hospitals Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital campuses. Donations to the charity are used in four key areas:
- improving patient care
- enabling medical research
- purchasing equipment
- providing additional education and care for staff
The NHS provides core funding, but donations to NUH Charity really make a difference to patient experience by providing extras.
With almost £3 million in generous donations every year from all sectors of the community, NUH Charity has been able to work closely with Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to provide these extras, making a significant difference to patients, their families, and staff within all areas of our Hospitals.
Last financial year, this money was used to support initiatives such as the purchase of new curtains for all clinical areas of the Trust; a youth room; a complementary therapy service for children; specialist nursing and midwifery training; an ultrasound scanner for problematic pregnancies; a number of items of equipment to assist in the treatment of Prostate Cancer and urological diseases; a robot used by researchers looking for ways to diagnose earlier breast and other cancers; staff awards ceremonies; as well as funding vital research and generally enhancing patient and staff care.
NUH Charity welcomes enquiries from the media about the appeals it runs, the generous gifts it receives and how donations are helping patients, their families and staff throughout NUH NHS Trust.
Our registered charity number is 1059049.
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