A CHARITY set up in memory a young woman who died of a blood disorder has donated a new piece of equipment to help future patients at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.
NHS staff said they were amazed at the speed with which Oxfordshire group Zoe’s Wish raised £1,500 to pay for a new portable medical monitor.
It has been presented to the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) service and will now help patients at the Zoe Dunn Treatment Bay at the hospital.
Zoe Dunn, from Christchurch, Dorset, was 23 when she died of the rare blood disorder Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, a condition where the blood forms small clots within the circulation, in January 2001.
Afterwards the respite charity Zoe’s Wish was set up by her parents to help and support patients who depend on regular lifesaving treatment.
The new medical monitor, a Carescape V100, is based on a portable stand and staff say it will help free up space and time by monitoring blood pressure and oxygen saturation simultaneously.
Nikki Clouden, 44, from Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire, was the first patient to use it. She suffers from a rare condition called aquagenic pruritus where she has a severe and painful reaction to water.
She said: “It’s like millions of needles being put into me all over. Sweating triggers it as well, so I can’t exercise. It’s very debilitating.”
Mrs Clouden first began to have symptoms 17 years ago and undergoes regular plasma exchanges at the JR which help to keep the pain level bearable.
“It’s this that really has allowed me to lead a normal life,” she said. “It’s not cured it by any means, but since the treatment started the pain has gone down to bearable.”
Sophie Clarke, the lead nurse for specialist therapeutic services in Oxford, said: “The team were very surprised and impressed with the speed by which the charity and Zoe’s family were able to raise the money.
“The machine will make treatments a lot easier for both staff and patients as it saves time and space by performing a number of essential functions simultaneously.
“Patients treated by the NHSBT specialist therapeutic services team at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, have a variety of illnesses which require vital blood products.
“This can sometimes involve lengthy treatment to help to save and improve patients’ lives.
“As well as our appreciation to Zoe’s Wish for its support, it is important that we also thank the blood donors who give up their time to make the treatments possible.”
Zoe’s father Paul Dunn, also from Christchurch, and trustee of Zoe’s Wish, said: “We remember very well the big machines used for Zoe’s treatment.
“The large machinery is quite intimidating especially when you are unwell, so the more that can be done to reduce that, the better.”