Publish date: 26 July 2022
Many spared further discomfort thanks to the incredible fundraising efforts of one patient
Thousands of pounds donated after an emotional patient plea means that others at the Oncology Unit at North Tyneside General Hospital are now benefitting from a new scanner.
How easy it is to locate a vein can vary from person to person. For Terri Leitch, it was already hard to locate her veins and so some two years into life-extending chemotherapy sessions, it was becoming incredibly difficult to find them, resulting in failed attempts.
Over the course of treatment, which can sometimes span many years as is the case with Terri, it can become even harder to locate vein access to administer treatment. It is unpleasant for the patient in question, but also an unenjoyable experience for staff who are always seeking to minimise discomfort for their patients.
Terri decided to share her story on her own social media and set up a GoFundMe to raise the funds for a an AccuVein® Vein Finderm. The device uses special technology to help healthcare professionals find appropriate veins for safe and efficient IV access.
“It wasn’t fun and sometimes it would take five or six attempts to find a vein, through no fault of the incredible nurses, it’s just a side effect of the treatment. Your veins start to become harder to find and you can end up feeling like a bit of a pin cushion.” said Terri.
“I had been talking to patients from other hospitals in support groups and we got onto how painful it can be, especially as treatment goes on and the veins become harder to find.
“They mentioned they had been able to access these vein scanners and that they had been a godsend and I just knew I wanted to try to get one for this unit because they’re so great at what they do, and this would make it easier on everybody, both staff and patients.”
After sharing her story, Terri was blown away with the response, which saw her raise the funds to purchase the scanner within a week.
“I couldn’t believe it. I shared my story on my Facebook with a link to the GoFundMe, and it just took off from there. People were so fantastically generous. It’s fantastic that it not only helps me, but so many others as well.”
Debbie Fearon, Oncology Unit manager at North Tyneside General Hospital, added: “We can’t thank Terri enough for what she’s done. You don’t know what people’s veins are like until they come, and sometimes they can come for years for their treatment.
“It’s helped everyone, it really has. It helps the patients feel as comfortable as they can with minimal pain as we give them treatment, but it also helps staff carry out the process more quickly and get them through their treatment. It makes the world of difference.”
Brenda Longstaff, head of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Bright charity, said: “We’re so thankful for Terri’s superb fundraising efforts and for bravely sharing her story. It shows how additional equipment can add so much to patient experience.”
Note to editors
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest trusts in the country geographically, providing services to more than 500,000 people across Northumberland and North Tyneside.
Our staff provide care in hospitals, in the community and in people’s own homes. Our facilities include a specialist emergency care hospital – The Northumbria at Cramlington; general hospitals at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck (Ashington); community hospitals at Alnwick, Berwick, Rothbury and Blyth; an integrated health and social care facility at Haltwhistle; an outpatient and diagnostic centre at Morpeth; and sexual health centres in North Tyneside and Northumberland.
We are one of the North East’s largest employers with around 11,500 dedicated members of staff and have been rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission twice since 2016.
Ben O’Connell, media and communications officer, Northumbria Healthcare
Benjamin.O'Connell@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk or 07833 046680.