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Last year MedEquip4Kids provided new lung suction machines for ISCAN (Integrated Service for Children with Additional Needs) in Tameside and Glossop, which supports 655 children in the community with disabilities and complex health needs. Some of the children require regular suction treatment to keep their lungs clear of mucus and to allow them to breathe more easily.

The standard suction machines used are bulky and difficult to transport if the child needs to travel. They are also noisy when in use and may keep the child awake during overnight treatment, which can also disturb the whole family. MedEquip4Kids equipped the service with a smaller, more lightweight model of suction machine that operates quietly and is less intrusive.

One of the children to benefit from the new equipment is six-year-old Heidi Land, who has complex needs as a result of hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) at birth. HIE occurs when there is a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain, during or shortly after labour, and can cause injury to the brain.

Heidi’s mum Sarah says: “Having the new suction machine has been great for us and Heidi. It’s much smaller and less noisy than the other ones, and so makes it easier to get out (when Covid allows!) Heidi has complex needs so this new suction machine fits in to a bag on her chair really easily. She needs suction several times an hour, so having it handy is necessary for us.

“We managed a trip to the seaside last summer. Heidi loves fresh air and being outdoors. The suction machine wasn’t too heavy as we took Heidi’s wheelchair across the sand dunes! Thank you to those who have made this possible. It might not sound much to some people, but it makes a huge difference to us.”

Sarah runs a charity called Peeps, which is the only UK charity dedicated to providing information and support for families affected by HIE. You can find out more about Peeps and HIE here.

We would also like to say a special thank you to our fabulous young fundraisers, 10-year-old Ruben and Elena Evans-Guillen, who helped raise the funds to provide the suction machines. The twins took part in the 2020 Superhero Winter Wonder Wheels challenge and also enabled us to win a grant of £1,000 towards the project from the Persimmon Community Champions scheme.

Dawn Bennett-Painter, Lead Complex Needs Nurse at ISCAN says: “The hard work and determination of both children has enabled other children to have the opportunity to get outside more with less bulky and heavy medical equipment. The selfless determination of these mini fundraisers has meant that other children are able to enjoy activities and be part of their local communities.”

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“Infections of the central nervous system need urgent and appropriate treatment. Most laboratory methods can take from 24 to 48 hours for diagnosis of bacterial meningitis and three to seven days for diagnosis of viral meningitis or encephalitis. The new equipment will mean we can get results of these tests in around an hour. We’ll be able to inform the clinicians of a positive result, allowing targeted therapy and reassurance to the patients and families. Just as important is the reporting of negative results, which may enable treatment withdrawal and possibly a shorter hospital stay.”

Dr Pradeep Subudhi
Consultant Microbiologist
Royal Bolton Hospital

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