Irish Classic & Vintage Motor Show raising funds for National NeoNatal MRI Scanner
Last year’s Terenure Show successfully raised funds towards to purchase a specialised ultrasound machine for the Neonatal Unit in the National Maternity Hospital in Holles St, Dublin and in 2014 we will be helping the hospital buy its first MRI Scanner. Recently a small group from the IJDC visited Holles St to see how the new equipment would help in diagnosis and treatment of critically ill newborn babies.
The 18th century red brick façade of the hospital is a well known sight to all Dubliners but it is less well known that the interior layout is still has many of the small rooms and narrow corridors of the original Antrim House. The last major rebuild of the hospital was in the 1930’s when it was designed to cope with 3,000 births per year. It is a testament to the staff that they now deliver 9,500 babies in a year, 1 in 8 of all born in Ireland, in such an out dated facility. Holles St is a national referral centre for complicated pregnancies, premature babies and sick infants with 1,500 women travelling from all over Ireland for deliveries there each year. Dr John Murphy explained to us that the hospital offered three specialised units for such cases – Intensive Care, High Dependency and Special Care. Despite this we were shocked to learn that sick babies requiring MRI scans currently had to be transported to Temple St or Crumlin and back. The NMH already has staff trained to operate a MRI scanner and has suitable rooms to locate it and ancillary equipment but the cost of the machine itself has to be raised through private fundraising.
In the High Dependency Unit nurse Hilda Wall introduced Ken Cleary and Rose Sunderland to the parents of baby Odhran, one of a dozen infants there on the day. He was born at 25 weeks weighing just over 500 grammes but after three weeks care his weight was up by 50% even though he would still fit in the palm of your hand. Babies like Odhran require constant medical attention and survive on a specialised ultra sound driven oxygen ventilator. The effort and disruption involved in transferring babies and their equipment to a transport incubator and having an ambulance take them and their mothers and nurses across the city was clear to all.
Unlike CAT scanners which use radiation, MRI scanners are more suitable for infants and the scanner that our car show fundraising will help buy is designed specifically for babies being noise free and having specialised software. This will reduce the discomfort of a scan and will be a huge advance in the treatment of brain problems in particular. The scanner and team will be able to take up to 12 babies each day from Holles St and from hospitals all over Ireland as required. There are plans to move the National Maternity Hospital to a new building in the St Vincents complex in the medium term but the main MRI magnet unit and scanner ancillaries can be moved when required and the software is capable of being updated to keep pace with future developments.
For more information about Helping Holles St please visit The NMH Foundation.