Poppy's story

Poppy Howell was taken ill with breathing problems at 11 months old. Her mum Jade tells her story…

Poppy on HDU using the Optiflow machinePoppy was admitted to the Children’s Emergency Department at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton with acute breathing problems and an extremely high temperature. The Optiflow machines on the High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Alex, donated by Rockinghorse in 2013, made a huge difference to Poppy’s treatment, as mum Jade explains:

“Having Poppy rushed to hospital was so scary. Her breathing was rapid and wheezy and I thought she was going to die, that is how poorly she looked. Poppy hated having the big oxygen mask over her face so much, it made her cry. She also kept trying to take it off and that first night, I had to stay awake to literally hold the mask in place in case she moved in her sleep and took the mask off. It was a nightmare and so difficult and stressful.

The next day we were moved to the HDU and Poppy was put on to an Optiflow machine. The difference it made to Poppy was immediate and so much better for her. After the initial feeling of the strange nasal tube, Poppy soon forgot about it and with the constant oxygen flow, she soon perked up and felt more comfortable. She could finally get some sleep (and so could I without worrying!).

Poppy was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and was on the Optiflow for three days. During that time she began to eat and play, and could move around normally without having to come off the oxygen which was helping her to recover so well. She could also still have her nebuliser medication without interfering with any of the equipment. Everyone at the Alex was absolutely brilliant – thank you so much!”

Dr Kamel Patel, Paediatric Consultant on the HDU at the Alex explains what a difference the Optiflow machines make, he says:

“Heated, Humidified High Flow Nasal Cannula Oxygen (HHHFNC / Optiflow) has revolutionised what we can do for babies and children with breathing difficulties. Its use in premature babies has been well studied and is now an accepted standard treatment. But its use in infants and children and the differing diseases that cause breathing problems is more difficult to study and so will take some years yet – thanks to Rockinghorse, we are ahead of the game.

The funding from Rockinghorse has allowed us to offer Optiflow treatment to young patients like Poppy. We have now enough experience of this new yet simple technology to use it safely. We have found we can now help more children recover more quickly and with less complication than before. Huge thanks to the Openwork Foundation and to Rockinghorse – together we are making a difference. 

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