New ECG machine at Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital thanks to family’s generosity

Sally and Sean Dexter
Sally and Sean Dexter

A new electrocardiogram (ECG) machine to detect heart abnormalities has been made available to patients at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, thanks to one family’s fundraising.  

Jimmy Dexter was just seven years old when he passed away suddenly in April 2011 from a hereditary heart condition. His family’s fundraising efforts have now ensured that children will no longer to have to leave Sheffield Children’s Hospital for their ECG tests.

Mum Sally, 47, from Woodsetts said: “Sheffield Children’s Hospital has helped us over the years to put our minds at ease over our two other sons, by running extensive tests on their hearts”.

“At one of these appointments, I asked why they didn’t have an ECG machine in Outpatients. They said it would make a huge difference to patients, so we contacted The Children’s Hospital Charity, who told us we could fundraise for the equipment”.

The 12 lead electrocardiogram (ECG), costing close to £6,000, allows medical professionals to detect and treat any abnormal heart problems. It works by checking the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity. 

Sensors are attached to the skin are used to detect the electrical signals from the heart each time it beats. The equipment helped reassure the family that Jimmy’s younger brothers were both healthy.

Dr Rupa Talekar, Consultant Paediatrician in Cardiology at Sheffield Children’s Hospital said: “Children who needed ECG's previously had to walk to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. For those children who are in a wheelchair, in pain or those whose carers have medical problems of their own, it can be difficult”.

“The Dexter family have made a huge contribution to help our service, we are very grateful to them and thank them on behalf of the Trust and the children who will benefit from using the ECG”.

In total, the Dexter family have raised over £26,000 for The Children’s Hospital Charity since Jimmy passed, largely through the Jimmy D Memorial Cup, an annual football match and sports auction.

The fundraising is shared equally between Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the specialist Embrace transport service, which transferred Jimmy to Sheffield following his sudden collapse.

“Embrace were amazing, when we were transferred from Bassetlaw Hospital. It was the only way because they had all the specialist equipment in the ambulances. This is our way of saying thank you.” Sally added.

Dad Sean, 48, who has also taken on the London Marathon to raise funds, added “We couldn’t have raised all this money without a wonderful set of people behind us and we would like to thank everyone who has helped us with the Jimmy Dexter Memorial Cup and supported us in any way raising the money”

Jessica Storer, Head of Fundraising at The Children’s Hospital Charity said “The Dexter family have done so much to help make Sheffield Children’s Hospital even better for the thousands of patients who come from all over the world for our specialist care.

“To raise over £26,000 in Jimmy’s memory is an incredible achievement and we’re really grateful for all of their support”.