Unit in memory of Louisa
PUBLISHED: 15:18 24 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:20 24 May 2010
A NEW hospital unit which allows doctors to diagnose heart defects in babies hundreds of miles away has been named in memory of a little girl from Clevedon. The new Telemedicine Suite at Bristol Children's Hospital was opened yesterday (Tues) by comedian
A NEW hospital unit which allows doctors to diagnose heart defects in babies hundreds of miles away has been named in memory of a little girl from Clevedon.The new Telemedicine Suite at Bristol Children's Hospital was opened yesterday (Tues) by comedian Eddie Large and was named in memory of nine-year-old Louisa Harrington.Louisa died in 2003 after a heart transplant at Great Ormond Street for a rare form of cardiomyopathy, a condition which means blood cannot be pumped around the body because of poorly functioning heart muscle.While waiting 13 months for her transplant, Louisa campaigned to raise awareness of the need for organ donation and to encourage people to talk to their families about becoming donors. Louisa was granted her wish to be a princess for the day and presented the Queen with a floral tribute to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Coronation.Family and friends also rallied round to organise a fun day at Clevedon seafront which raised £15,000, which was used to set up the Telemed Suite.The South West Children's Heart Circle and the charity Telemed have also contributed to the scheme and are supporting links to other hospitals.The Telemed Suite uses ISDN phone line technology to allow doctors to view 'real time' images from other centres, meaning unborn babies or critically ill children born in one hospital can be diagnosed immediately by a specialist consultant in another.The Bristol unit offers a dedicated service for diagnosis for the south west region so that cases as far away as Cornwall can be diagnosed remotely before coming to Bristol for treatment if necessary.This is the first time in the region that telemedicine has been used for real time remote diagnosis of congenital heart disease and could be used to diagnose more than 100 cases a year.The suite has been designed by Dr Andrew Tometzki, consultant paediatric and fetal cardiologist, for use by all specialists within Bristol Children's Hospital.It includes £30,000 of new equipment including a plasma screen and video conferencing equipment.Other centres are now in the process of setting up links with the unit, aided by local charities.Dr Tometzki said: "A baby born with a suspected heart defect would normally have to be transferred to Bristol by ambulance, which is time consuming and very stressful for the patient and family, let alone the expense of critical care ambulances."This facility allows remote diagnosis aiding the intensive care retrieval team in the care of the child at a critical time, though in some cases, hazardous transfer can be avoided altogether."A spokesman for Bristol Children's Hospital said: "It is a very poignant time to open the facility as Louisa's parents, Judith and Alex, remember their precious daughter who would have been 12 years old on May 27.