The Robert Burns International Foundation has donated equipment to the 2nd Department of Paediatrics at Semmelweis University in Tűzoltó utca every year since the Foundation was established in 1998.
We support other hospitals as well but why have we given continuous annual support to this hospital? The main reason is that the Tűzoltó utca hospital is the principal children’s hospital not just in Budapest but for the whole of Hungary. Children needing special treatment are often transferred here from other hospitals. So it has frequently made sense to help ensure this hospital has the equipment needed to offer the best available support for sick children in Hungary.
On 14 November 2019, Lesley Anne Füzes, Douglas Arnott, András Moldovan and David Thompson representing the Foundation visited the hospital to meet our medical advisor, Professor György Fekete, and senior members of the medical staff of the hospital, to discuss their future needs for equipment and also to see the 2 pieces of equipment purchased by the hospital in 2019 with funds donated by the Foundation.
We were given a demonstration of the EZ Gel Documentation System made by Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. This machine reads and analyses DNA samples taken from patients and produces images and reports. These enable medical staff to review the quality of samples before subjecting them to further analysis. This not only speeds up the analysis of samples but also improves efficiency and reduces cost and waste because samples which are weak can be discarded instead of being subjected to further expensive test processes (before this machine was purchased, there was no way to assess whether a particular sample might produce useful insights before incurring these extra costs).
Prof. György Fekete: the reagents for the later steps in the process are very costly, so it is much more economical to repeat the first, rather inexpensive step than have to repeat the entire sequence of examinations.
The second piece of equipment we saw is a mobile linear probe, an instrument which is used in conjunction with an ultrasound machine. This is a small unit, about the size of a hand microphone, which is easily portable and has extensive capabilities.
Prof. György Fekete: this equipment is mostly used in the Intensive Care unit of the hospital for quick ultrasounds of any child illness.
Its small size and weight make it easier to bring the probe to the child’s bedside (rather than require the child to leave its bed and go to be tested elsewhere) which aids efficiency. It also provides the child patient with a comparatively non-frightening, non-invasive experience as the probe is rolled over his or her stomach.
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The Robert Burns International Foundation (RBIF) is supported by the British Ambassador to Hungary and the Hungarian Ambassador to the UK. The Honorary President of the foundation is Sir Alex Ferguson, former manager of Manchester United football club. In the last 20 years the organisation has raised several hundred thousand euros to help sick and underprivileged children.