Parents and clinicians are backing our appeal to raise £200,000 for special equipment for babies undergoing MRI scans at Nottingham’s NHS hospitals.
We first launched our Baby MRI Appeal back in January 2020, with an incubator push from the Queen’s Medical Centre to Nottingham city centre. After overwhelming support from the local community, we have now relaunched our appeal and doubled our fundraising target to £200,000, to enable the funding of two sets of baby MRI equipment, instead of one.
This will mean we can fund equipment at both the City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre Neonatal Units, rather than one set being transported between hospital sites.
Dr Don Sharkey, Consultant Neonatologist at Nottingham Hospitals, explains: “MRI scanners are built for bigger people, mainly adults, rather than babies. This appeal will allow us to buy two baby-sized MRI coils, which sit around the baby’s head and allow the scans to be done much closer to the baby, so we get much better quality scans. This will improve the accuracy of these scans and allow us to better advise and support parents about what the future might hold for their baby.”
Each year the Neonatal Units at City Hospital and QMC treat over 1,500 babies, many of whom need to undergo MRI scans. The Baby MRI Appeal aims to fund new equipment and technology, including the special head coils to fit in the babies’ incubators, and software to cut scanning time from 30 to 15 minutes. The ultimate aim is to make MRI scans quicker, clearer and safer for Nottingham’s tiniest patients.
Dr Sharkey continues: “The new piece of software that’s now available is an exciting development, it will really enhance the care we’re able to give to babies here in Nottingham, by making their scans as quick and as clear as possible.”
The appeal is being backed by local parents, including mum Hajnal Greening, whose daughter Charlotte was treated on the Neonatal Unit as a baby.
Charlotte, who is now four, was cared for the on the Neonatal Unit for the first two weeks of her life after she suffered from lack of oxygen at birth. During her time on the unit she underwent a variety of tests and treatment, including the cooling of her body to reduce the risk of brain injury, and a subsequent MRI scan which showed no damage had taken place. She was diagnosed with a number of conditions due to a lack of oxygen during birth, but went on to make a full recovery.
Hajnal explained: “It was an absolutely horrendous time for us, but the staff at the Neonatal Unit treated us with such warmth and gave us so much support. They cried with us when we cried, and later on as Charlotte’s condition improved, they laughed with us when we laughed.
“Every single member of the team, from nurses and doctors to assistants, was absolutely fabulous. There was always someone there asking how I was, not just how the baby was. There are no words to truly describe how wonderful these people are.”
She added: “It can be a frightening experience when your baby has to undergo tests and MRI scans, and I fully support this appeal to make these scans as quick and as safe as possible. It will make a real difference to parents at what is an extremely worrying and difficult time.”