Support Our ‘Test for Tommy’ Pulse Oximetry Campaign
Help us provide life-saving pulse oximetry machines in maternity wards across the UKEvery year 1,000 babies leave hospital with their heart defect undetected, potentially putting their lives in grave danger.
Babies born with serious heart problems are at significant risk of disability or even death if not diagnosed before they fall into the early stages of heart failure. Tiny Tickers has now placed 254 pulse oximetry machines across the UK and counting, but we need your help to achieve our ambitions of 330 machines being placed by 2022. Each pulse oximetry machine costs around £725 to buy and place in a hospital, together we can make sure every hospital has access to at least one of these potentially life-saving machines. Just £5 will help ensure that this test is available for every tiny ticker in the UK.
Our Test for Tommy Campaign will further improve early detection rates by placing pulse oximetry machines in maternity wards across the UK.
What is Pulse Oximetry?
Pulse Oximetry testing helps to detect heart defects by measuring oxygen levels (oxygen saturation) in the blood. It uses a light sensor to assess the level of oxygen in the baby’s blood.
This test takes a few minutes at no discomfort to the baby. Not every baby will be born displaying signs and symptoms and with this machine many more life-threatening defects can be detected.
At present, pulse oximetry testing is not a mandatory newborn test within NHS hospitals, and many maternity units do not have the means to introduce these life-saving machines. For these reasons, Tiny Tickers aims to provide Pulse Oximetry Testing kits in maternity units across the UK which can then be used as part of standard newborn tests.
Tommy’s StoryTommy was born on the 22nd January 2015. Despite having an extra scan at 32 weeks, nothing abnormal was detected during Natasha’s pregnancy. He had very cold hands and feet, was disinterested in feeding and slept all the time. Natasha was worried something wasn’t right, but he passed all his newborn tests and Natasha was told there was nothing to worry about.
However, Natasha’s concerns continued to mount. Tommy’s nappies were dry, he was always cold and seemed short of breath. His colour changed from purple to grey and his lips became dark blue when he cried (which wasn’t often). Natasha voiced her anxieties to numerous health professionals, but was repeatedly told there was no cause for concern.
On the 2nd February, at eleven days old, Tommy started to cry and Natasha was unable to settle him. At bedtime, Tommy stopped crying very suddenly and Natasha noticed he wasn’t breathing. They called an ambulance, but there was nothing anyone could do. Tommy had tragically passed away.
Tommy’s post-mortem showed he had a congenital heart defect called, Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). TGA can be corrected with surgery – surgery that has a 99% success rate, if only his heart condition had been detected.
Natasha believes that if Tommy had been given a pulse oximetry test soon after birth, he would still be here today. She says, ‘I can never explain to someone the pain of losing your baby. It’s a pain nobody wants to imagine or ever feel.’
Natasha now campaigns tirelessly for pulse oximetry to be included as part of the mandatory NHS newborn checks. She says, ‘Early detection during pregnancy is the ideal scenario but, as an extra safety net, our local hospital is now using Pulse Oximetry testing as part of newborn checks’.
Our Test for Tommy campaign is dedicated to the memory of baby Tommy and aims to ensure that every baby is given the test that could help save their life. A pulse oximetry test measures the oxygen saturation levels in a baby’s blood. It is quick, painless and a low reading could indicate a heart defect.
We want to ensure that no baby will ever die from an undiagnosed heart defect.
Help Tiny Tickers to place life-saving pulse oximetry machines in hospitals
Tiny Tickers has now placed 254 pulse oximetry machines across the UK and counting, but we need your help to achieve our ambitions of 330 machines being placed by April 2022.
The cost for providing and placing each bedside machine (or 3 handheld equivalents) is £725. Together we can make sure every hospital has access to at least one of these potentially life-saving machines.
To donate towards our pulse oximetry campaign and help ensure that every newborn has access to this test – donate here. £725 will ensure no more babies leave hospital with their heart defect undetected so please help us – take on a challenge, shake your buckets or talk to your employers about how they can help tiny hearts. There are lots of ways your company could get involved, please get in touch if you would like to discuss this in more detail.
More about pulse oximetry as a CHD screening tool in newborn tests