A little light and a big difference

27 January 2021

Your donations to Evelina London’s Christmas appeal have helped to cover the cost of special illuminating equipment, Wee Sights, and an ultrasound scanner that will make staying at hospital a little less scary for young children.

Wee Sight, courtesy of Royal Philips
Wee Sight, courtesy of Royal Philips

Every year, Mountain ward sees over 22,000 children, from tiny babies to teenagers. It’s home to the High Dependency Unit (HDU) and cares for children with illnesses ranging from asthma, pneumonia and meningitis. Regular intravenous access is essential for fluid and medication along with regular blood tests to help treat these children.

But taking blood and inserting tubes such as cannulas for drips in tiny babies is no easy task. Because children’s veins are much smaller than adults’, sometimes inserting tubes or taking blood causes blown vessels, where the needle passes through to the other side causing bruising. If no veins are visible, doctors may have no choice but to make several attempts to try and find a vein.

While doctors do their best to make sure their little patients are comfortable, getting intravenous access can cause a lot of distress to young children and their families.

You have helped to transform care for years to come. Generous donations from people like you have helped your hospital buy special illuminating equipment called Wee Sights and an ultrasound scanner that will make staying in hospital less daunting for younger children.

With this new equipment, doctors can now find even the smallest and most challenging veins. A Wee Sight is a bright LED light that can be shone through a child’s hand or wrist to illuminate ‘invisible veins’ for the insertion of tubes or needles. They are painless, harmless and cause no distress. In fact, a lot of children enjoy seeing their glowing fingers!

Using an ultrasound scanner is another way to make young children and their family feel more comfortable in the hospital. This piece of equipment makes it easier to spot small and hidden veins and allows staff to accurately visualise even deep blood vessels. They can be a lifesaver when there are literally no veins to see.

Baby Matilda using a Wee Sight
Baby Matilda using a Wee Sight

Matilda’s story

Your donations will make a big difference to children like Matilda. Ten-month-old Matilda has a bowel condition called Total Colonic Hirschsprungs (TCH) that has resulted in over half her bowel not working as it should. The condition is caused when certain nerve cells are absent.

“When we found out Matilda had TCH, it was a complete shock,” says Matilda’s mum, Meghan. “It was terrifying not knowing what’s going to happen to your baby. But the staff at Evelina London have been amazing.”

Following two operations, Matilda needs regular intravenous treatment at Evelina London. However, because she is so young, doctors and nurses found it difficult to find her veins and insert needles accurately from sight alone.

“At first, the doctors and nurses found it hard to find a vein on Matilda,” recalls Meghan. “On one occasion, they tried to put in a cannula a number of times before finding a vein. This was stressful for both Matilda and for me as her mum.”

But thanks to people like you, your hospital has bought illuminating equipment like the Wee Sights and ultrasound scanner. Now intravenous procedures like taking blood and inserting tubes are straightforward, successful and a lot less scary for young children like Matilda.

“It’s reassuring for everyone when the equipment is used,” says Meghan. “Seeing needles inserted into Matilda so often can be really stressful but with the help of the lights and scanners the process is much faster and smoother.”

“Thank you doesn’t entirely convey what support from Evelina London’s community means to us,” says Dr Anna Finnemore, Consultant General Paediatrician on Mountain ward. “For me, I am saying thank you for believing in us, for seeing what we are trying to achieve and for enabling us to keep trying.”

“Donating to this hospital, where children and families really are at the heart of what we do, not only supports them but also supports us, the staff,” she added. “Your backing gives us the belief and the resilience to keep pushing forward. And for that, we all thank you.”

Your support makes a world of difference. Donate today to ensure a brighter future for more children like Matilda.