Life for one small boy living in Milton Keynes is about to change for the better. Sam (not his real name, but we need to preserve confidentiality) was born with a severe heart defect. Now, several operations later, he still has to attend hospital on a weekly basis to have his blood tested. Because Sam has had to have new valves in his heart, he must take warfarin each day to prevent blood clotting around them, which warfarin does very efficiently. Unfortunately it needs to be monitored on a regular basis, since so many things can change the rate of clotting within the blood. For a boy of Sam's age, this means a weekly trip to the warfarin clinic, where he waits with mum for a sample to be taken.
Sam has learning difficulties as well as several other health problems, which means that he is not the easiest child to look after, so going to have the test has become an ordeal for the whole family. This is about to change. Sam's doctor contacted the Children's Heart Federation to ask for a home monitoring machine for Sam. Now, thanks to a grant from Milton Keynes-based DaimlerChrysler UK Limited, a machine has been ordered for Sam. After his mum has learned to use the machine safely, it will go home with Sam for a weekly finger prick instead of doctors needing to take blood from a vein. The Children's Heart Federation has been supplying these machines to children all over the country, but can only do so as and when funding becomes available. The Federation’s Director, Shirley Law said: "We are extremely grateful that this donation from DaimlerChrysler is leading to such a happy outcome. We ordered the machine as soon as we had the promise, so very soon the weekly trip to the hospital, which disrupts schooling and means that the family cannot take a holiday, will be a thing of the past. These machines really do enable sick children to enjoy childhood despite their problems. Thank you DaimlerChrysler UK!"Published 7 May 2003