31 May 2023

Ultrasound machine benefits cancer patients

Andrew Dossett is the clinical lead advanced medical practitioner for acute oncology at University Hospital Southampton.

“Our unit is one of only 12 regional cancer centres in the UK, serving a population of around 1.7 million people. I work specifically in the Acute Oncology Service where we urgently see patients who need emergency care for their cancer, or following treatment, need to be admitted straight to the unit.

It is time critical in these situations to access patient’s veins to draw blood and to administer medication.

Sadly, those undertaking chemotherapy will experience shrinkage of their veins, and it can be difficult to find a healthy vein following the number of tests patients have to go through.

Currently, when we can’t gain access to veins, or have had multiple attempts, we will contact the anaesthetic department to use their ultrasound machine.

By using the ultrasound machine, we can find viable veins at different depths under the skin, not necessarily visible to the human eye.

Now, thanks to Southampton Hospitals Charity and Macmillan, we have bought a new £14,000 ultrasound machine so we can do this within our unit. This will ensure that, following training, we can access the veins faster, meaning less discomfort for our patients.

I’m excited for this new enhancement of our service. Thank you for making this possible.”

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