KGH raises £8,000 towards vital new intensive care equipment

Caroline Simcoe and David Carson with one of the machines.
Caroline Simcoe and David Carson with one of the machines.

An appeal to buy some new technology for Kettering General Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) has raised £8,000 – with another fundraising event to be held tonight (Friday).

The hospital is gaining momentum in its £20,000 Intensive Voices Appeal target since its launch in March.

As appeal organisers gear up for their next major event – a special charity night called “Sing” due to be held at the Masque Theatre in Kettering from 7.30pm today (Friday) – appeal co-ordinator ICU Sister Caroline Simcoe wants to say a thank you to all those who have helped so far.

She said: “We have had some wonderful support for our appeal by the local community and our appeal is now well on the way towards our fundraising target.

“Ideally we want to buy four of these machines – three for our ICU, where they are most needed, and one to cover other areas of the hospital.

“This technology would help us to transform the way patients can communicate when they can’t use their voice or move at all.

“It enables people to use tiny movements of their eyeballs to devise messages which the computer can speak out loud to their loved ones or enable communication with the ICU staff who are looking after them.

“I want to thank everyone who has attended our events or who has, or is, planning to hold a fundraising event to support us.

“This appeal will help us to support patients – and their families – during the most traumatic periods of their life.”

Tickets for the Sing event are £9 and can be purchased by calling the box office on 01536 414141 or visiting www.masquekettering.co.uk.

The event features the Voices Aloud group and the Seagrave Singers.

You can also text donations to ICUDO8 then £1, £2, £3, £4, £5, or £10 to 70070.

So far there have been a series of fundraising and awareness raising events and individual donations.

These have included: £4,388 from a song and dance event at Corby Grampian Club on March 4, an internal promotional choir event in the hospital’s Foundation Wing on May 26 to launch a text appeal, a £714 donation from the family of an ICU patient following a charity golf day on April 9, a £2,000 donation from KGH’s Trust Timewarpers pantomime group, a £1,000 donation from the MS Society and numerous other donations by both individuals and other organisations.

The appeal’s aim is to buy assistive communication devices similar to that used by world famous scientist Stephen Hawking.

These enable patients to communicate by using their eyes as a virtual ‘computer mouse’ to type messages – using shortcut symbols - on a computer screen which then speaks their message out loud.

The devices – called Tobi Eyegaze from Smartbox Assistive Technologies Ltd – cost £3,000 to £5,000 each and look like a computer tablet, but are not available as standard NHS equipment, hence the appeal.

A Geddington couple have donated £714 to the hospital’s Intensive Voices Appeal in appreciation of the life-saving care a family member received from the hospital’s ICU team at the end of last year.

Shona and Chris Litman organised a golf day on April 9 at Priors Hall Golf Club to raise the money.

Their total was subsequently doubled to £1,428 thanks to a family friend who asked Barclays Bank to match the funds raised through one of its community support schemes.

The Litmans were inspired to hold their event to show appreciation for the life-saving care that Shona’s mother, Julie Jackson, from Geddington, received from the hospital’s ICU department at the end of last year.

Mrs Jackson, 56, was admitted to KGH with a serious infection in December 2015.

The illness led to the amputation of her right leg.

On four occasions Mrs Jackson’s heart stopped but the hospital’s ICU team revived her.  

Mrs Jackson’s daughter, Shona, said: “There is no doubt the ICU at Kettering General Hospital saved my mum’s life.

“They provided excellent care and were always accommodating, professional, and alert to any changes in my mum’s condition.

“Their support has resulted in my mum making a good recovery despite the odds and having had a traumatic and life threatening illness.

“We would like to thank each and every member of staff that looked after her during her time in hospital.”

When the Litmans found out about the Intensive Voices Appeal they immediately recognised how it would have assisted their family at the end of last year.

Shona said: “The Tobi Eyegaze machines that the appeal is raising money for would have been very useful for us.

“Mum could not communicate with us for some time after she woke up and this was quite upsetting for both us, and for her. 

“This new technology is a very good idea. We hope the appeal is a great success and this equipment can help other families in the future.”