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December 2017

Claire Cericki Christmas Donation
Claire and her family donating gifts to the neonatal unit team.

December 23

Generous fundraiser teams up with her triplets to share some Christmas cheer at the neonatal unit

A generous fundraiser has teamed up with her triplets to share some Christmas cheer with families whose babies have been born prematurely.

Claire Cericki, 39, from Danbury, and her boys Kuzey, Koray and Ayaz, who were born in 2015, visited the neonatal unit at Broomfield Hospital on Friday, December 22, to deliver presents for the babies, their parents, and hampers for the team. They were joined by the triplets’ older siblings, Yaren, 12, and Kaya, 6. 

The family has raised £1,750 to benefit the neonatal unit, with a raffle to be held early next year. Claire’s fundraising endeavours featured a quiz night at Mace Playce Soft Play Centre in Chelmsford on World Prematurity Day, November 17, (£836), her older boys Kutay, 10, and Kaya, 6, organising a sponsored dance off at Woodham Walter Primary School (£800), and a raffle at the triplets’ nursery, Busy Bees Springfield (£120). 

She said: “I know just how incredibly difficult this time is and it’s even harder at Christmas.

“I wanted to help and say ‘thank you’ for caring for Kuzey, Koray and Ayaz. We had lots of help from the companies that the boys are ambassadors for on Facebook and Instagram, donating prizes and gifts for the babies in the unit. Also a big ‘thank you’ to all of the local companies who supported us with goods for the hampers for the staff and parents.

“The boys will be three in January – at this time I’m organising their birthdays and Christmas. I have six children and in three weeks we have five birthdays. 

“This year felt like the right time to be able to give something back to the neonatal team.” 

The trio are nicknamed The ‘Piplets’ and you can find out more about them on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/teampiplets) or Instagram @the_piplets.

End of Treatment Bell Ceremony

December 23

Children’s oncology team launches series of initiatives to tell young patients’ stories of “strength, honour and hope”

The children’s oncology team at Broomfield Hospital has launched a series of initiatives to improve young patients’ experience in hospital and tell their stories of “strength, honour and hope.”

The children’s oncology unit has become the 125th unit to receive an ‘end of treatment bell’ internationally, kindly donated by Sarah and Victoria from Perfect 10 Beauty, alongside beginning to offer ‘beads of courage’, chemotherapy ducks and colourful hospital pyjamas with designs to engage children.

Two patients, Oscar Roberts and Phoebe White, attended the official launch event with their families on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at the children’s outpatients department, where the audience witnessed the emotional moment that they celebrated the end of their course of treatment, spanning more than two or three years.

Dr Ranjith Joseph, consultant paediatrician and oncology lead, said: “This signals the end of Oscar and Phoebe’s long journeys in their treatment.

“The beads of courage programme, sponsored by charity Be Child Cancer Aware, catalogues our patients’ journeys – every bead tells a story of strength, honour and hope. The chemotherapy ducks and hospital pyjamas make our young patients’ time in hospital more fun-filled and interesting.

“The children received purple hearts and certificates along with special certificates for their siblings and beads, plus a bottle of champagne for their parents to mark the occasion.

“I am extremely grateful to the charities who donated us the bell, the beads of courage, chemotherapy ducks and the hospital pyjamas, and the staff nurses and play specialists who have worked on it.”

Colleagues from across the hospital attended the event, with Lyn Hinton, director of nursing, lighting the lamp and Dr Rachel Thomas, deputy oncology lead, beginning the event with a prayer. Dr Ellie Makings, medical director, then asked everyone to close their eyes and make a wish as she cut the ‘end of treatment’ cake.
This was followed by the official launch of the programmes and presentations to the families. The children then recited the poem signalling the end of their treatment and rung the bell.

Dr Joseph also thanked Oscar Roberts’ family and friends for their generous donation of £550 worth of vouchers from Smyths, which will be used to buy toys for both Phoenix Ward and the children’s outpatients department. In addition, the family donated three iPads to Phoenix Ward to replace one that was broken, which Dr Joseph described as “a great way to kick-start the oncology children’s cancer charity fundraising.” 

Children’s Oncology Fundraising Appeal

Dr Joseph said: “There is a dedicated team at Broomfield Hospital looking after children and families with different kinds of cancer and there is a lot more that can be done to improve the way care is delivered. For parents, hearing the news that their child has cancer is unbearably painful. Indeed, it is often worse for them than the child, and it is important to help the family through the worst of times. 

“The children’s cancer team at Broomfield would like to do more locally to raise funds and awareness. This will begin with a cake sale, followed by other fundraising ventures. If anyone would like to donate to the children’s cancer charity fund, please contact fundraising coordinator Charlotte Jefcoate on 01245 514860 or fundraising@meht.nhs.uk.”

There will be three more children finishing treatment in the new year who will also have similar ceremonies to mark the end of their cancer treatment.  

Six-year-old Oscar Roberts’ Story

Oscar’s mum, Laura, said: “Oscar was diagnosed on September 4, 2014 at the age of three.

“He had been poorly beforehand but I never really thought anything of it until he started complaining of stomach pain and was sleeping and limping a lot. I went to the doctors who referred me to Broomfield who explained that his spleen and liver was enlarged so needed to stay in for blood tests. 

“That evening they asked me to come outside and we went into a small room where two doctors explained to me about his white blood cells and I just didn't really understand what they were saying at the time, it wasn't going in so I just asked “what are you trying to tell me?”. Then they said, ‘Mrs Roberts, we think Oscar may have leukaemia.’ My world collapsed - not in a million years did I think my child would have cancer. You never think it will be yours.

“From here we were sent to Great Ormond Street Hospital, where they confirmed it with a bone marrow aspiration. Then we went straight into a massive, frightening roller coaster ride.

“He had a portacath fitted after a few days of being in GOSH as his little veins couldn’t take any more and neither could I, the pain of them trying to find veins for drips and taking bloods was too much - he was so upset, it was awful. He had to have blood transfusions and he was put on steroids. 

“Broomfield has been our main port of call and they have been fantastic. The nurses all look after Oscar when he has been there – he’s a little charmer.

“Doctor Thomas and Dr Joseph have been amazing; it’s like going to see family. They are so good with Oscar - it’s lovely and we going to miss them loads now. Debbie Whitehouse looked after Oscar and was the only nurse able to access Oscar’s port without him screaming and kicking off.

“Everyone has been fantastic and everyone knows us when we go to Phoenix Ward and the outpatients department.

“Ringing the bell was a long time coming and when he did it I can’t explain how it felt, I feel so happy but it’s like now everything is starting to sink in and it’s really emotional and I think we have been so lucky.

“Going forward from here we have a lot of making up to do and I intend to make the most of every day with my family, they are my whole wide world and when something like cancer affects you or your family it makes you realise no one is invincible as much as we think we can protect them when it’s out of your hands and there is nothing you can do you realise how precious life and they are. Never take things for granted and if you love someone, tell them every day.”   

Six-year-old Phoebe White’s Story

Phoebe’s parents said: “From a formerly healthy, happy girl who probably visited the GP twice in her life, during mid 2015 we returned to the GP many times over the course of a month with various symptoms, including extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, respiratory infections that would not go away, skin rashes and towards the end, a jaundice colouration.  

“Phoebe then collapsed on the street with a febrile convulsion. This was very frightening, as she had a seizure, her eyes rolled back in her head and bubbles came out of her mouth. She took quite some time to regain consciousness. After an ambulance ride to Broomfield a blood test very quickly determined that something was seriously wrong.  

“We then travelled by ambulance to Addenbrooke’s, Cambridge, where we received the terrifying news that Phoebe had leukaemia. Everything was a blur, and it was difficult to take the huge amounts of information in. Luckily there was a lot of support around, and written information to go through at a later date when our heads were clearer. The parents on the ward also provided invaluable support for one another, the whole way through the treatment process.   

“Phoebe remained a brave trooper throughout the whole treatment process. She was very trusting and willing to go through anything asked of her - we are very proud of her. We found that if we were honest with Phoebe and prepared her and supported her well, she would be willing to go through all sorts of painful and frightening procedures, with a minimum of fuss. We just had to give her time sometimes and the understanding and friendly approaches of many staff were a very important part of this. 

“The medical team, as well as inpatient and outpatient nursing team and play specialists, have always made Phoebe feel at home, welcome and well cared for. Many of them remember Phoebe’s name, as well as important parts of her life, which makes her feel at ease every time she returns to the hospital.  

“Our family have had mixed feelings about ringing the bell. Phoebe was very excited as she is very glad that her treatment has now ended. We, as her parents, are obviously glad of this also, but also anxious that she remains well and that this truly is the end of treatment for her. There are many difficult memories and feelings which get pushed down during treatment, in order to just get on with it, survive every day, and make Phoebe’s life as normal and enjoyable as possible during a very difficult time.” 

INFORMATION: For more information about the end of treatment bell ceremony, please follow this link: https://vimeo.com/244022783?ref=em-share.

Surgical Robot First Case
Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan with senior surgical fellow Mr Priyantha Siriwardana performing the procedure. Inset: Mr Kadirkamanathan at the console.

December 11

Consultant upper GI surgeon Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan carries out first operations using new “intuitive” surgical robot

Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan, consultant upper GI surgeon at Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, has carried out his first operations using the new “intuitive” surgical robot, the da Vinci Xi.

The patients were two women in their 20s who suffer from gastroparesis. This condition led to them being unable to eat normally and vomiting on a daily basis. Both had lost a significant amount of weight and were experiencing difficulties with continuing their university education as a result. 

They underwent an operation to insert gastric pacemakers, involving intricate suturing of electrodes into the stomach. 

Mr Kadirkamanathan said: “The robot made it so much easier to perform the procedure. The robotic part of the procedure only took 30 minutes. The surgery was done through three, eight millimetre cuts. Both of the patients went home the next day.

“The use of the robot was very intuitive. It was very comfortable for the surgeon, easy to use, very precise surgery and a very good short-term outcome for the patients. I believe that robotic surgery will be the way that operations are carried out in the future.”

‘Our Charity’ is calling on the community to rally together for our £1.5million appeal to fund the upgrading of the robotic surgery service at Broomfield Hospital, including a state-of-the-art new surgical robot and the continued use of surgical robotics. 

There is significant evidence that demonstrates a number of advantages for patients who have benefited from surgery with the surgical robot compared to conventional surgical techniques including: 

 •0% perforation rate for Heller’s Myotomy (compared to 12% rate – European trial)

•Shorter hospital stays

•Immediate effects within recovery

•Precision surgery (overcoming limitations of laparoscopic surgery)

•Articulation beyond normal manipulation

•Naturally occurring tremors filtered out by computer software

Your support will put Broomfield Hospital firmly on the map as surgical innovators in Essex.

You can donate to our appeal, ‘Rally Together for the Robot’, here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/midessexhospitals/surgicalbot.

Sarah Donachie eye gaze fundraising
Trust chairman Nick Alston, CBE, DL, (back row, centre) with Yvonne Carter, charities manager (second from left) and the MEHT team with the eye gaze machines.

December 8

Family raises more than £32,000 for equipment to help ‘locked in’ patients to communicate in memory of cherished husband and father

A family has raised more than £32,000 for equipment to help ‘locked in’ patients to communicate in memory of cherished husband and father Gerard Donachie.

Gerard, who was 39, suffered a massive brain stem stroke on November 17 last year and was ‘locked in’ for the two weeks prior to his death on December 1. He left behind his wife, Sarah, and two young sons, Callum and Fin. 

Following his passing, his family embarked on a fundraising mission in his honour. The equipment includes an eye gaze machine, which gives patients who are ‘locked in’ the ability to have their pupil movements tracked to a screen where they can select letters, words or phrases to improve their ability to communicate. 

Their endeavour was so successful that the GICU team were able to purchase a second eye gaze tracker, three iPads, a special reclining chair for patients, and other rehabilitation equipment. 

On Thursday, November 30, the Donachie family formally presented the eye gaze trackers to the hospital and were met by trust chairman Nick Alston CBE, DL, plus the ITU and Burns Unit teams at an event held at the Medical Academic Unit (MAU). It was an opportunity for the teams to express their deepest gratitude to the Donachie family for their kind fundraising and for them to see a demonstration of the machines that will help others. 

Sue Parrotte, senior sister on GICU, said: “Thank you to Sarah and her family, this will really benefit other patients and help them to communicate their needs to the nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, and to their families.”

Yvonne Carter, charities manager, added: “It is truly astonishing that at such a difficult time, Sarah, her children and their family, plus their legions of supporters, have exceeded every fundraising target they set for the appeal.

"Their incredible kindness and thoughtfulness will help so many other patients and their families and we are immensely grateful.”

Clare Francis and Angela Hatchard donation
Angela, front row, far left, with Clare, front row, second from right, with their supporters and the chemotherapy unit team.

December 8

Sisters raise more than £2,000 for the chemotherapy unit in thanks for “exceptional” care

Two sisters have raised more than £2,000 for the chemotherapy unit with the support of their family and friends.

Clare Francis, 40, from Rayleigh, was inspired to embark on her fundraising journey after her sister, Angela Hatchard, 42, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April this year.

Clare had 17 inches of her hair cut off on July 27, for which her supporters rallied together to reach the fantastic fundraising total. She donated her hair to be used to make wigs for children who have suffered hair loss.

Angela has now completed her chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. 

Clare said: “What started as just an idea to support my sister through her treatment became a wonderful experience and it meant I could help other patients along the way too. The target was smashed on the first day and the donations came flooding in. We are overwhelmed by everyone's kindness and generosity and can't thank everyone enough.  

“The medical team are exceptional at what they do and it's quite obvious how much they really do care. It brought a tear to my eye, how they are willing Angela to beat this cancer, as they are for the rest of their patients.

“Angela and I both felt it was equally important to make as many people ‘breast aware’ as possible. Knowing our story has been shared, it's fair to believe that the understanding of ‘breast awareness’ has been well promoted. Given the feedback we've received, it makes us happy knowing that the message has been heard.”  

Angela added: “Initially finding out I had cancer came as such a shock and filled me with terror and fear for the future. But as I gradually digested this diagnosis, I felt I had a duty to talk about this and to remind women and men to be aware and to check themselves. 

“The staff at the chemotherapy unit have been totally amazing. They made my experience easier to cope with, often having a laugh and a joke. I can’t thank them enough.”  

INFORMATION: You can still support Clare and Angela via: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/locks-and-locks-of-love.

December 7

Patients benefit from refurbished discharge lounge thanks to charitable donations

Patients who are awaiting discharge from hospital can now benefit from improved surroundings thanks to charitable donations.

On Monday, December 4, trust chairman Nick Alston, CBE, DL, attended an event to officially open the discharge lounge, alongside colleagues from across the trust.

The Friends at Broomfield Hospital donated £10,000 to the renovation project, with a further £5,000 from monies given to ‘Our Charity’. 

The room has been updated with new, comfortable reclining chairs and tables and has been decorated with artwork depicting local scenes, painted by Hatfield Peverel Art Group member Jim Cole. The titles of the pieces are Canal Boat Rocky’s Roost at Sandford Mill, Pump Cottage on Writtle Green, Relaxing by the Stone Bridge, Castle Hedingham Station on the Colne Valley Railway, Canoeing on the River Chelmer, Chelmsford City High Street on a Wintry Day, Costa Therapy at Broomfield Hospital and Walking the Dog at Hylands Park. Hilary Treadwell, of Springfield, has kindly donated a selection of blankets.

The money has also been used for patient amenities, magazines and refreshments.

Yvonne Carter, charities manager, said: “Thank you to the Friends at Broomfield Hospital and to our generous donors for your contributions to this wonderful project.

“It is fantastic that with your support, we have been able to refurbish the discharge lounge and make it a much more pleasant environment for people leaving hospital.”

December 6

New hand trauma and assessment unit at the St Andrews Centre officially opened by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director for NHS England

The St Andrews Centre team were delighted to welcome Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s national medical director, to open the new hand trauma and assessment unit on Tuesday, December 5.

The state-of-the-art facility, located at Broomfield Hospital, will offer a dedicated treatment space for patients who have suffered hand trauma.

Colleagues from across the trust attended to mark the opening of the unit, where Professor Sir Bruce led the official ceremony, including the unveiling of the commemorative plaque and ribbon cutting, alongside an opportunity for a tour of both the burns unit and the hand trauma unit.

Mr Manu Sood, consultant plastic surgeon, said: “I think we should acknowledge the contributions of every single person in this place today. 

“We need to take this forward, it’s an exciting and a great opportunity for us. We will want to achieve greater things and reach greater heights as a result of establishing this place. 

“Professor Dziewulski has worked with the trust to establish this and I think all of us owe him a debt of gratitude for making this happen. Without his drive, without his vision, without the energy that he put into this I don’t think that we would be standing in this unit today.” 

Professor Sir Bruce added: “It has become clear to me that the way places are run and the leadership that they have determines their success in our National Health Service and I have also been aware of the endeavours that have gone on here.

“It is a great privilege for me to be here and for some of my colleagues from NHS England, thank you very much for the opportunity and well done on everything that you have achieved – there is no doubt that you are on the map.”

In addition to attendees from MEHT, both past and present staff members, and colleagues from NHS England, patients who have undergone treatment for hand trauma were also invited.

This included John Rushton, a former postal service manager who is now an involvement representative for North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT). John lost all of his limbs to sepsis following complications from a common cold which progressed to pneumonia back in 2014. He described being “rebuilt” over a period of a year, undergoing 26 procedures.

Mr Rushton, 44, began his treatment at Basildon Hospital, before he was cared for by the St Andrews Centre team. 

“I had an amazing experience at the St Andrews Centre – all of the doctors, nurses and HCAs were fantastic. 

“One HCA in particular, Angela Dawson from Stock Ward, just wouldn’t give up on me when I was having a really bad day and I just didn’t want to live. 

“Consultant plastic surgeon Mr Adam Sierakowski also did some amazing reconstruction on my hands.

 “It is brilliant to see this facility open – it is well-needed,” he said.