Leeds Hospitals Charity received over £92,000 thanks to funds raised at the 2023 Yorkshire Charity Clay Day last Summer.

The money raised has enabled us to purchase an innovative new ultrasound scanner for Leeds Children’s Hospital, which will be used on some of the region’s sickest children during life-saving surgery.

Each year, over 300 children with a wide range of neurosurgery conditions, including tumours, bleeds and other abnormalities are treated by the specialist paediatric neurosurgeons in Leeds. Many of them will now benefit from this advanced technology, helping to improve their outcomes from surgery. 

Read More: Charity Clay Day event funds new scanner at Leeds Children’s Hospital

The ultrasound machine generates much clearer images, helping to improve the accuracy of treatment and allowing the surgeons to treat even more conditions, including Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) surgery – an operation to reduce or remove leg stiffness in children with cerebral palsy. Leeds is one of only five hospitals in England commissioned to provide this highly specialist treatment.

John Goodden, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Leeds Children’s Hospital, spoke to us about how this funding has made a difference:

“We use this scanner in tumour surgery, emergency operations for bleeds and fluid build-up (hydrocephalus) and I also use it for SDR operations. When performing complex tumour surgery, the improved resolution allows us to better assess the extent of resection before the end of surgery or before going for an intra-operative MRI scan. This helps save time and reduce cost as well as helping us optimise outcome for each patient.”

 “Over the summer, I was also able to use the scanner to operate on several young patients more safely with life-threatening brain bleeds. I had to perform time-critical life-saving emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from the brain. The surgery was so urgent that additional specialist pre-operative scans were not possible.”

7-year-old Freya from Leeds seemed completely well until one day she complained of an eye ache and woke up in the night vomiting. Her parents found that she couldn’t hold her balance and kept falling over. Freya was rushed to hospital where doctors confirmed these were symptoms of a bleed on the brain. Freya was rushed into surgery and her parents were warned that the bleed was so severe that Freya might not survive. 

Freya in hospital recovering after her surgery

With the help of the new ultrasound scanner, during the surgery Mr Goodden was able to quickly confirm the location of the blood clot and the source of the bleed, an irregular tangle of blood vessels called an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Thanks to her proximity to the hospital and the new equipment in the hands of experts at Leeds Children’s Hospital, Freya’s surgery was successful. She spent almost 8 weeks in hospital before continuing her recovery at home.

Mr Goodden said: 

“In a situation like this every second is can make the difference between life and death. The new ultrasound allowed me to accurately locate the blood clot and the source of the bleeding, enabling me to remove the clot without reactivating the bleeding or causing any additional injury.”

Freya’s recovery is slow but from initially being unable to walk, she has made great progress and is now back at school, can walk upstairs by herself and is improving all the time.     

Freya’s mum Nicola said: 

“There aren’t words! I am appreciative of everything they did. Through surgery, the recovery and rehabilitation everyone was amazing. She wouldn’t be here and how she is today if it wasn’t for them.”  

 Freya at home wearing a unicorn headband after successful surgery