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'Heartwarming': Rotunda doctors raise €80,000 through public donations for vital hospital equipment

The funding will go towards an echocardiography machine in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

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DOCTORS AT THE Rotunda Hospital in Dublin have raised almost €80,000 following donations from members of the public to replace vital equipment at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. 

The unit looks after sick and premature babies at the maternity hospital and uses an Echocardiography Machine – or heart ultrasound machine – to take around 750 scans a year, which are then used to diagnose and treat the newborns.

The page was set up two weeks ago and up to yesterday raised around €25,000 through the gofundme page. But after doctors spoke publicly about the need for new equipment, that figure tripled and has now exceeded the €76,500 goal originally set. 

“We’re completely overwhelmed and astonished by the massive response we had from the public, especially over the past 48 hours,” Afif El-Khuffash, consultant neonatologist at the NICU said. 

“We’ve exceeded the target and we’ve decided to keep it open until the original date we planned until the 14 January and any additional donations will go towards purchasing other vital equipment for the unit.”

El-Khuffash said donations came from people as young as “eight years old, who donated their birthday money” to support the drive for new equipment. 

He yesterday explained to TheJournal.ie that the current machine in use for these scans was not reliable and would be out of use within six months. 

“The current machine we are using was purchased in 2008 and that was all from donations,” he said. 

“I think we have about four to six months left before we really have to replace the machine.

“What would happen is there would be a step back in the care we can provide to our most vulnerable patients. A lot of patients, some of them critically unwell will need to be transferred to Crumlin to receive those scans and don’t like moving babies across the city to get diagnostic studies.”

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At the time, a spokesperson for the Department of Health said that the HSE is responsible for delivering and managing healthcare infrastructure but the Department “has been advised by the HSE that it is not aware of an application [for funding] for this project”. 

A statement from the Rotunda said: “The Rotunda Hospital Foundation is extremely grateful for the support from the public and their generous donations so far.

“It is heartening, especially during the Christmas season, to see the outpouring of warmth and respect for our hard-working NICU team who are providing the best care to our most vulnerable patients.”

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