Henry’s birthday – 15th September 2019 (he would have been 13)

BBC Points West
BBC Points West

On 15th September 2019 Henry’s parents Bob and Laura donated a vein scanner to Gloucestershire Hospital Children’s centre. This donation of £3000 came from Henry’s memorial fund. Alex Lovell from BBC Points West (who Henry infamously ‘took the microphone from’ on Children in Need, has remained in contact with Bob and Laura, and she came personally to film the presentation.

On many occasions, in Gloucester hospital they had struggles to find a vein to fit a canular for Henry. This became increasing more excruciating for him as his small veins began to collapse from so many medical procedures. In Birmingham Children’s hospital specialist cardiac ward, they had a vein scanner to help the process. The handheld scanner shines a green light when held over the skin, and all of the veins show as black shadows, assisting staff to ‘find a good vein. Henry was determined that they should have one in Gloucester.

The presentation was shown on BBC Points West throughout the day on 15th September.

Radio Gloucester

Mark Cummings
BBC Radio Gloucestershire

Bob and Laura were up early to join the Mark Cummings show on Radio Gloucester. The team at Radio Gloucester have become firm friends having worked with Henry in 2015 and 2016. Radio Gloucester have continued to keep in touch, and are always pleased to hear an update on fundraising activities. As always with Henry, there was a story to tell about the scanner….

‘Willygate’ (the vein scanner story)

Whilst living in Birmingham Children’s hospital hoping for a transplant, henry’s veins were becoming increasingly difficult to access, and it was decided to give ‘better access’ for drugs, he was to have a ‘long line;’ fitted. In short, this meant accessing a vein in his arm, and feeding the line right up through his veins until it reached his chest (carefully avoiding his heart). Ordinarily, given his complexities, this would have been done under a general anaesthetic, as it was a painful and tricky procedure. As Henry’s heart was struggling so badly, he bravely agreed to have the operation awake (with no sedation). Prior to the procedure, it was imperative to prepare him thoroughly to avoid infection. He placed his arm through a hole in a plastic sheet, with the sheet forming a seal around his arm, and the ‘apron like’ plastic sheet covering his body to keep him sterile. At this point the vein scanner was used to locate the vein, ready to guide the line through. Perking up with mischief at the sight of the scanner, he asked for a try of this intriguing machine. We should have known better…

Having spent 20 mins ‘sterilising him from top to toe’, he held the scanner, put the sterilised hand into his underwear and started to scan his nether regions for veins! The lovely (and ever patient Doctor) shrieked ‘Oh No!’ You’re going to need 5 days flucloxacillin (antibiotic) now. This didn’t deter him a bit. Having previously been told that any major event (such as the Watergate scandal) has the word ‘gate’ at the end, when finished, he went around the ward for several days asking if they had heard about the ‘Willygate’ incident.

It seemed completely fitting at all levels, that the vein scanner was a fitting tribute to him at Gloucester Hospital. We’re pleased to report, that it was found to be so valuable, that the hospital are even considering a second one, as it is in so much demand. Henry would say, ‘I told you so’!