Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham is a regional centre for Neuroscience and Major Trauma, housing the largest single-floor Critical Care Unit in Europe.
For many patients at QEHB, particularly those who have suffered major head trauma, the transfer to Radiology is not without risk. These patients need to be disconnected from the ventilator and bedside monitoring, laid flat and then transported 2 floors down for the scan. When the scan is complete, the process happens in reverse. UHB Charity is launching an appeal to raise £325,000 to purchase a portable CT scanner.
The portable CT scanner will allow radiographers to perform urgent scans for critically injured patients at their bedsides. Typically, a scan is requested when a patient’s condition is worsening, and therefore when they are at their most unstable, they are likely to be reliant on ventilators and monitoring equipment. Although all staff involved in taking patients to radiology are highly skilled, any movement of a critically ill patient carries risks.
Approximately 150 patients a year will be able to use the portable CT scanner, allowing crucial treatment to reach them sooner, not only potentially saving their lives, but improving their quality of life post-injury as head injuries can cause life-long disability if the brain sustains permanent damage. For some patients, who are in a severely unstable condition currently miss out on CT scans altogether and are instead treated ‘blind’ as the risks associated with transport are too high.
The portable CT scanner is an example of care coming to the patient, a principle upon which QEHB prides itself.