A new portable echocardiogram machine, which measures a patient’s heart and blood vessels, has been delivered to the Clark Clinic at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children following two record breaking charity auctions at local agricultural markets.
In December last year Richard Powell, from Keady, whose daughter, Grace, has Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) spearheaded a fundraising drive in his local community.
Richard’s daughter, Grace, who is now eight, was diagnosed during a neonatal scan and underwent surgical procedures at three and six months of age, before undergoing major heart surgery at the age of five. This culminated in a massive community response with marathon runners, local school and community events however an overwhelming amount of the final total came from Markethill and Ballymena Livestock Markets, in association with Glenoe Valley Young Farmers. They held two charity auctions with the aim of raising money for Children’s Heartbeat Trust, the charity which supports the work of the Clark Clinic and provides support to the families of patients.
Over two nights the markets shattered all expectations and the final amount raised through Mr Powell’s fantastic fundraising efforts was just under £100,000. This huge amount has allowed Children’s Heartbeat Trust to purchase a new portable echocardiogram machine for the Clark Clinic at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children which was delivered this week and patients are already seeing the benefits.
Using the machine, which is a Philips Affiniti 70 Ultrasound System, will mean that the clinicians can now use the echo machine at the patient’s bedside right across the hospital with the same high image quality of the fixed machines, rather than having to move the patient. It gives increased flexibility for the team, with added comfort and convenience for patients, all of which will help reduce stress and waiting times.
Echo machines enable clinicians to image the heart structure and function, giving diagnostic information to diagnose Congenital Heart defects and to follow up these patients using the information from Echo to assist with their management and care.
Speaking at the launch event, Katherine McDonald, Interim Chief Executive of Children’s Heartbeat Trust said: “We are delighted that the Clark Clinic now has a state of the art portable echocardiogram machine for use across the hospital.
“This equipment will mean that clinicians can undertake work at the bedside of children, rather than having to move them across the hospital, which will play a role improving treatment by cutting waiting times and reducing stress.
“We are grateful to Robert Powell and the two livestock markets in Markethill and Ballymena, as well as Glenoe Valley Young Farmers, for the incredible work they did to raise the money to purchase this machine. Their enthusiasm to make the charity auctions a success will bring benefit to hundreds of heart children being treated at the Clark Clinic.”