Marianna’s generous donation makes a huge difference to cancer care in Northampton

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£90,000 donation from Marianna Carpenter funds revolutionary equipment to enhance cancer care

Marianna Carpenter is one very special lady and thank you really doesn’t do justice to the incredible generosity she has shown for Northampton General Hospital. Marianna very kindly donated £90,000 to the hospital via Northamptonshire Health Charity, which has enabled the Obs & Gynae department to purchase a piece of state-of-the-art equipment that is revolutionising the way surgeons can operate on patients.

Northampton General Hospital is one of only two NHS hospitals in the entire Midlands region to possess the Pinpoint Fluorescence Imaging Laparoscopic and Open Surgery Camera, putting them two to three years ahead of other local NHS Trusts in terms of the enhanced level of care that we can provide for patients with endometrial and cervical cancer.

Consultant Gynaecologist, Mr Alexander-Sefre said, “Pinpoint allows patients to avoid major surgery, have a quicker recovery and fewer side effects. This is excellent news for our patients. All Thanks to Marianna’s generosity.”

Northampton Gynaecological Oncology centre provides a subspecialist surgical and oncological service for nearly 300 women with gynaecological cancers per annum. The centre also receives referrals from Milton Keynes University Hospital covering Northeast Buckinghamshire. A comprehensive, multidisciplinary surgical approach dealing with advanced-stage disease, various chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments as well as novel targeted therapies are all located near the centre. This service has been praised for the provision of patient-centred holistic care as a result of passionate teamwork by the nursing, administration and medical staff involved.

Mr Alexander-Sefre and his team organised a special afternoon meeting for Marianna and her partner, Ken Thurston so that they could thank Marianna in person but also so that the huge impact on patient care the equipment provides could be demonstrated for her.

It was fascinating to learn more about the many ways the equipment can offer significant enhancements utilising fluorescent imaging thanks to a full demonstration delivered by Andy Bayliss, Territory Manager at Stryker UK.

The equipment is designed to provide surgeons with real-time visualisation of tissue perfusion and lymphatic vessels and nodes during a variety of surgical procedures. Its laparoscopic and open field camera will be used within gynaecological cancer surgeries for the identification of lymph nodes and channels with a new technique for identifying and removing the sentinel lymph node.

The new technique will allow for more enhanced and targeted surgery reducing potential adjunctive therapy and the complications associated with the former way of operating such as lymphoedema. Additionally, the new technique has been proven to significantly reduce operating and recovery times meaning should radiotherapy be required following surgery, this can begin sooner providing even better patient outcomes.

The equipment uses a near-infrared laser to excite a fluorescent dye called ICG which is injected into the patient. The light emitted by the excited ICG is detected by the camera and then displayed on the surgical monitor. It allows clinicians to target critical anatomy that you would not be able to see with the naked eye for enhanced and targeted therapy.

The advantage of the open field camera, SPYPHI, which comes as part of the equipment Marianna’s donation funded and itself costs around £30,000, is that it can be used in many other surgeries outside of gynaecology, such as colorectal, general surgery, and for reconstructive surgery within breast surgery, head & neck and even for aiding with amputations as well. This means that even more departments and patients can benefit as a result.

Chief Executive Officer at Northampton General, Heidi Smoult said, “We are extremely grateful to Marianna for her incredibly generous donation which has allowed us to purchase a highly innovative, state-of-the-art Pinpoint Fluorescence Imaging Laparoscopic and Open Surgery Camera which will enable our gynaecological surgeons to undertake more targeted surgery which will reduce complications and recovery time to greatly improve patient outcomes. It is very humbling when people like Marianna make such donations for the benefit of others and the impact of this cannot be over-estimated, Marianna is indeed a very special person and her actions will have a long-lasting impact here at NGH”

The cost means that many other NHS charities are working hard to raise the money to be able to fund this special equipment for the hospitals they support. The fact Northampton General has been able to purchase it so quickly is all thanks to Marianna’s philanthropy because she wanted to give something back to the local hospital following the care she received from the Obs & Gynae department over the years. It is also very important to Marianna to help all those people in the local community who will pass through the hospital and now be able to benefit from these advanced ways of operating.

Robert Powell, Charity Fundraiser said, “We appreciate that the high costs of innovative equipment such as this mean that it cannot be covered by the NHS budget. As it provides an enhancement to standard operating procedures that are above and beyond, we are eternally grateful to Marianna for making her donation to us which means we were able to fund the equipment for the department.”

Marianna previously donated £4,000 to the charity in 2019 which enabled Mr Alexander-Sefre and his team in Obs & Gynae to purchase a laparoscopic training simulator. The simulator has been helping to train junior doctors for operations, including such procedures as stitching up internal wounds.

It is only thanks to Marianna’s generous donation for this game-changing equipment that these particular enhancements to patient care are being made at Northampton General Hospital for people in Northamptonshire. She has made a real difference! This is why Marianna is a very special lady and to who, our whole county will be grateful for many years to come.