Back in June we launched our summer appeal aiming to enhance critical care at Royal Brompton.

The aim of the appeal was to raise funds to help build two specialist isolation rooms within Royal Brompton’s intensive care unit to treat our most critically ill patients, and allow for their families to be with them every step of the journey.

A last chance at life 

When a patient comes to Royal Brompton Hospital with severe heart or lung failure – meaning their heart or lungs can no longer perform the functions needed to keep them alive – the intensive care team may decide to place them on an extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine.

ECMO is a remarkable process that mimics the function of the heart or lungs by feeding blood out of the body and through a machine that warms and oxygenates it, before feeding it back into the body. It’s a method used when other life-saving techniques such as defibrillation haven’t worked. It is a last resort – a final shot at life that gives doctors the time they need to get to the underlying cause of the person’s illness.

Ours is one of only five hospitals in the UK that carries out this extraordinary process, which saves the lives of patients from Aberdeen to Abergavenny, Belfast to Brighton. The overwhelming majority of the patients who need this extreme, last-chance intervention survive thanks to Royal Brompton’s expert staff, beating the international average. That means it is truly a world-class service.

Five ways your money helped

  1. By providing enough room for family members, including children, to stay close to their loved ones without feeling ‘in the way’ of round-the-clock medical care.
  2. By providing enough space for all relevant medical staff to be in the room.
  3. By ensuring infectious patients are safely accommodated thanks to innovative air-lock technology and other state-of-the-art ventilation methods.
  4. By providing a much calmer environment for patients and families, through specially designed soft lighting.
  5. By giving family members who might stay on the unit for weeks, even months, privacy in special alcove spaces in each room.