Shunt Donation Project – REEEEEESULT!

12 Apr

If you’ve just jumped in, you can read about my Shunt Donation Project (no. 6 on the List) here.

And if you’re wondering what this ‘F-List’ I keep banging on about is, you can read about that here.

Ooooh, I am HAPPY today!  I spoke to Mr Mallucci at Alderhey hospital yesterday (his name is pronounced ‘Mal-ooch-ee’ but I managed to call him Mr ‘Malakee’ in our first conversation.  Oops.  I also managed to call him smack in the middle of a very important board meeting.  Double oops.  This did not, however, put him off talking to me and he was so helpful I couldn’t express my gratitude to him enough.  As you probably know by now, Number Six on my ‘F-List’ (kind-of-bucket-list-but-for-approaching-forty: for the proper name just replace the ‘b’ of ‘bucket’ with an ‘f’ for ‘forty) is a project I’ve been planning during my thirties when I’ve been well enough and actually out of hospital/the operating theatres long enough to plan it.  I want to get children and infants in developing countries where hydrocephalus is a very real – and very ignored – problem, with often next to no facilities or care available to them, treated.  So to start with, I’m trying to set up a regular shunt donation programme from the UK to enable these desperately poor countries to at least have equipment available to them to actually perform the surgeries when neurosurgeons are able to get to them.

The Codman-Hakim valve can be implanted in children and either fixed (so the amount of fluid drained is set permanently) or programmable (the amount of fluid drained can be controlled, as shown in the picture).

The Codman-Hakim valve can be implanted in children and either fixed (so the amount of fluid drained is set permanently) or programmable (the amount of fluid drained can be controlled, as shown in the picture).

Mr Mallucci is a neurosurgeon at Alderhey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool and I sent an email to his secretary a few weeks ago explaining who I was, what I wanted to do and why.  I then asked if he could help in any way.  Turns out that he can.  He told me that he was very keen to get on board and has already spoken to Codman (Codman Hakim is a major supplier of shunt valves in the UK).  He said that Codman, like him, were very keen to participate and sounded very positive about setting up a donation system.  He is speaking to them again (I think today) but said to me to leave it to him and he’ll get a first batch of shunts over to me asap.  If hugs could be given over the telephone, he would have got a bear-sized one.  Finding that first open door is a major step forwards; now that it looks like both Codman and Alderhey Hospital will be on board, it should make it easier to get other neurosurgical units and shunt manufacturers (I have all their details – there is no escape) to participate.  So this weekend I shall be completing my email list of all the other neurosurgical units and surgeons I need to contact and keeping everything crossed that they are as keen as Mr Mallucci and Codman….and if that works then I may actually get to start on Number Seven on my F-List.  Who knows…..but today is a good day.  God bless kindly neurosurgeons and shunt manufacturers.

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One Response to “Shunt Donation Project – REEEEEESULT!”

  1. midnitechild April 13, 2013 at 3:30 am #

    I’m so glad to hear that people are starting to get on board with your mission. Way to go!!

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