PATIENTS with certain blood disorders at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital may soon benefit from a new device thanks to the efforts of recovering leukaemia patient Katherine Sinfield.
The 33-year-old, who is the face of the Burton Mail’s ‘Take Five Minutes’ campaign, wrote to the hospital asking it to consider stocking and promoting a product known as a central line holder which could help prevent infection.
A central line, or Hickman Line, is a set of tubes connected to a main vein which reduces the need for needles. The lines are used for the administration of drugs and for blood tests in patients suffering from certain blood cancers and other disorders such as aplastic anaemia.
Katherine said: “Hickman Lines work fantastically from a medical point of view. They can be left in place for months at a time and are used extensively when receiving treatment.
“However, for a patient, they can be extremely worrying as you permanently have two rubber tubes protruding from your chest, which need flushing on a regular basis. You constantly worry about the ‘what ifs’. What if I catch the lines and rip them out or what if they get infected?”
Katherine’s lines were suspected as being the source of an infection when she was rushed to A&E in November last year with a temperature of 39.5C.
This experience prompted her to look more closely at the central line holder device. The simple but effective product is a specially designed pouch which could help to reduce infection risks.
The holder was designed by aplastic anaemia patient Sarah Cheeseman after she was admitted to King’s College Hospital, London, in 2007.
Sarah, 40, from Cheshire, said: “My Hickman Line was difficult to care for and inconvenient to wear. It caught on clothes, pulled on the skin and was problematic to wash with. No pouch, bag or holder was supplied nor available, and this proved frustrating.
“Through talking to fellow patients with Hickman Lines it seemed they all had similar issues. I vowed to both patients and staff that after I recovered I would design a central line holder.”
After being impressed with the invention, Balfour Street resident Katherine contacted Queen’s and wrote to Burton MP Andrew Griffiths.
Mr Griffiths agreed with the benefits of the device and pledged to write to hospital chief executive Helen Ashley.
After talks between the hospital and inventor Sarah, Queen’s has now agreed to help trial and promote the product, making it one of only a handful of hospitals in the country to stock it.
Katherine said: “I’m delighted that my persistence and persuasion has helped to convince the hospital to stock the device.
“There may only be a handful of patients under the hospital’s care with a Hickman Line, but for these few the product will be an invaluable asset.
“As a patient you have enough to worry about without the added stress of worrying about tubes poking out of your chest.”
From washing tablet bags to the hospital ward
THE inventor of the central line holder Sarah Cheeseman explains how the design developed:
“In 2007 I spent six weeks in hospital. During this time I spoke to many patients and nurses about designing a holder, as people were making their own out of washing powder tablet bags – everybody laughed but also thought it was a good idea.
“I kept going over the design in my head but knew it wasn’t quite right. I then thought of the crocodile clip attachment and the shower-proof holder.
“The shower-proof holder was important for me as I used to wrap clingfilm around my Hickman Line, which would always allow water in.
“Once the design was right I started to market the product to hospitals.
“I would be delighted if my leaflets could be in every NHS hospital and for the holders to be on prescription for outpatients, because I believe they are invaluable.”
Hospitals currently involved with stocking or trialling the holders are Kings College Hospital, London; The Christie, Manchester; Royal Marsden, Chelsea; Royal Devon and Exeter Hospitals; Royal Aberdeen; Harrogate and District Hospitals; Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Aylesbury; St James Hospital, Dublin; Spire Hospitals, Cambridge; and now Burton.
The holder also has authorisation to be used in Canada and the EU.
More information is available at www.centrallineholder.com or on 07901 856080.