Chester Chest arrives at Watford

Chester Chest

Chester Chest has arrived at Watford Hospital! Chester is a special piece of equipment for training staff about the safe use of intravenous lines when caring for children with cancer.

Children requiring chemotherapy treatment may need to have frequent intravenous medications and multiple blood samples taken. When they receive their diagnosis they will have a central line inserted, which is a line that feeds directly into one of their large veins and stays in situ throughout their treatment. Staff can then use these lines for blood sampling and to administer multiple medications, including chemotherapy.

Chester Chest is a lifelike model of a human torso, and helps the oncology nurses demonstrate the three different types of central lines we see with our paediatric oncology patients:

Hickman lines – which go into the patient’s chest
Portacaths – which sit under the patient’s chest
PICC lines – which are inserted into the patient’s arm

The new equipment was made possible thanks to 13-year old Ethan and his family who started fundraising following his diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia last September. Michelle Taber, Ethan’s mum, explained how the fundraising came about: “We were devastated by the news of Ethan’s illness. It’s been a crazy, emotional time since, but the support we’ve received on Watford’s Starfish Ward and from the Teenage Cancer Trust at UCLH has been wonderful. Ethan’s big brother Patrick decided he wanted to support Ethan by shaving his head with him and, along with his twin brother Ciaran, we decided to turn this into a full charity day and raise money to support the charities who have supported us.

“We had a full fun packed day and evening in November and, along with the head shave, we had an auction, raffle, tombola, pool and FIFA tournaments, with a race night in the evening. We were bowled over by everyone’s generosity and have been able to buy not only Chester Chest but some patient chairs and foot stalls too. We are so pleased that we could help more children like Ethan.

“Ethan amazes us every day with his strength and positive attitude and whilst he has a long road to recover we are all feeling positive”.

Helen Farmer, paediatric oncology specialist nurse, said: “Chester is so useful in helping to train staff in how to use the various central lines. They can then be more confident when treating our young patients.  And because it is portable, it has the added benefit that we can take it to schools when we visit to demonstrate line safety. We would like to say a huge thank you to Ethan’s family and friends who have so tirelessly raised the funds for Chester Chest and the special furniture that is being donated to the ward; which simply wouldn’t be possible without their kindness”.