Mum helps Sick Kids combat children’s fear of needles

Mum-of-two Lisa Quarrell visits the Sick Kids to donate the vein finder device. Picture: contributed
Mum-of-two Lisa Quarrell visits the Sick Kids to donate the vein finder device. Picture: contributed
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A big-hearted mother has given the Sick Kids a special gadget to combat children’s fear of needles.

Lisa Quarrell is a familiar face at the hospital after her brave son, Cole, was admitted to the paediatric neurology 
ward when he was two to 
receive treatment for epilepsy.

Cole was just three months old when he first started suffering seizures and his later treatment has left him with a dislike of needles.

Moved by her son’s plight, Lisa raised more than £3000 to pay for a special device which keeps distress to a minimum by making it easier for clinical staff to find veins.

Cole, now three, was admitted to the Sick Kids to undergo a lesionectomy – brain surgery used to relieve seizures in people with epilepsy – on his left temporal lobe.

On top of epilepsy examinations, he had blood taken twice a day – an ordeal which proved to be extremely stressful not only for the youngster but also for mum Lisa and dad David.

Lisa, 34, said: “It was very difficult to find Cole’s veins as they would collapse a lot of the time.

“The trauma of this made Cole extremely needle-phobic. Twice a day, we would have to hold him in place for up to 20 minutes until we could find a vein and get the blood sample that the nurses required.

“It was heartbreaking for me to watch Cole experience this level of fear over the needles and I was desperate to do something to help the nurses and other patients have an easier time when it came to this essential treatment.

“When the Ward 7 nurses told me about the AccuVein device it seemed like the perfect solution and I knew I wanted to fundraise for this great piece of kit.”

Lisa, from East Kilbride, raised the money through a casino night and ladies’ afternoon tea. She’s also planning to host a ceilidh in September and a 
fitness competition to raise money for more equipment.

The device shines a special light over a child’s body to reveal the veins located 
underneath the skin. The technique allows nurses to carry out any needle-based procedures more quickly and accurately than ever before, vastly improving what is a traumatic experience for so many children.

Lisa said: “It’s amazing the difference one small instrument can make to a child’s experience in hospital and I’m so happy to see the first AccuVein device I fundraised for it to go to good use in Ward 7.

“I’m hoping to fund a further four devices in the next few months so that more children than ever before can benefit.”

Roslyn Neely, chief executive of the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, said: “We believe that nothing should get in the way of being a child. This includes small procedures like injections, blood samples and cannulation which can be extremely stressful for young children.

“We’re extremely grateful to Lisa and her entire family for their help in bringing this equipment to the ward floors.”

john.connell@edinburghnews.com