Please view our cookie policy that explains what cookies are and how they are used on our website. This also provides you with a guide on how to disable cookies, but please be aware that parts of the site will not function correctly if you disable them.

By closing this message, you consent to our use of cookies on this device in accordance with our cookie policy unless you have disabled them.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Long stay intensive care patient presents innovative thank you gift to hospital

Long stay intensive care patient presents innovative thank you gift to hospital

Posted on Thursday 25th October 2012
fleck presentation

Fleck presenting the monitor to Dr Fiona Graham and staff from ICU along with Tina Soman (far right) from Deltex Medical

A former patient who undertook a remarkable charity challenge to say thank you to staff on the Intensive Care Unit at West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven has returned to the hospital to present them with an innovative monitor which can help reduce the amount of time spent in hospital after surgery.

Fleck Ditchburn (63), who has Motor Neurone Disease (MND), was pulled to the top of a Lake District mountain in his wheelchair by family, friends and members of Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team to raise funds for an oesophageal Doppler monitor for the unit.

The effort to conquer Blake Fell raised more than £7,500 towards the monitor which will enable Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients to undergo less intrusive procedures.

The mountain pull took place almost one year after Fleck was admitted to ICU with a collapsed lung and pneumonia. He went on to stay in the unit for 175 days.

Fleck, formerly an ICT teacher who ran marathons for a hobby, explained how the condition radically changed his life following his diagnosis in March 2009: “I have no movement because the neurons that control my muscles are totally destroyed,” he said.

“In April 2011 I realised that my breathing was beginning to be affected with the deterioration of my chest muscles. In June 2011 I was admitted to West Cumberland Hospital with a collapsed left lung and pneumonia. Following two painful, sleepless nights on general wards, I was admitted to ICU. Consultants, doctors and nurses gave me little chance of survival but through their skill, determination and care, I am here to tell my story.”

Fleck was finally discharged to his home in Lamplugh almost six months later in December 2011. Having previously been a keen fundraiser, he was determined not to let his illness stop his good work and went on to conquer both Skiddaw and Blake Fell.

The CardioQ-ODM, which has been purchased with the money Fleck has raised, is an oesophageal Doppler monitor which is used to assess the amount of blood pumped by the heart with each beat. It can be used in patients undergoing major or high-risk surgery, or for other surgical patients who may require invasive cardiovascular monitoring. Delivery of the monitor means West Cumberland Hospital is helping to deliver the national drive to implement ODM across the NHS.

Tim Taylor, UK Sales Director at Deltex Medical, the manufacturer of the monitor, said: “Deltex Medical is delighted to hand over this CardioQ-ODM to West Cumberland Hospital and would like to congratulate Mr Ditchburn on his heroic fundraising efforts.

“The Government has identified fluid management monitoring as a priority for the NHS and, thanks to Mr Ditchburn and his supporters, patients in West Cumberland can now look forward to a quicker and more comfortable experience of care.”

Dr Fiona Graham, Consultant Anaesthetist at West Cumberland Hospital, said: “The monitor offers many advantages for both our patients and the NHS. The staff in ICU would like to thank Fleck for his incredible fundraising efforts in order to raise the money needed for the device.”