12 September 2017 At the hospital

New equipment helps sick kids breathe easier

Queensland children living with respiratory conditions will now be able to breathe easier thanks to the donation of a state-of-the-art respiratory device to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, the Children’s Hospital Foundation has funded the purchase of a MetaNeb machine to help children with respiratory conditions treated at the Queensland Children’s Hospital every year.

The Queensland Children’s Hospital is only the second hospital in Australia to offer the MetaNeb therapy. The device provides bursts of pressure inside the air passages, called “intrapulmonary percussive ventilation”, which helps to clear the airways of children with conditions like cystic fibrosis (CF), asthma, bronchiolitis or pneumonia.

It uses oxygen flow to provide pressure during breathing, ensuring that air really fills the small passages and gets in behind lung secretions.

Children’s Hospital Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Rosie Simpson, said the donation would help ensure kids with serious respiratory conditions receive the highest quality of care to help them get better and go home sooner with their families.


“With the support from donors like the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, we can help give sick kids access to the most advanced clinical programs and state-of-the-art equipment money can buy, to make their stay as comfortable as possible and get them home sooner.

“Hospital admissions can be highly stressful for families – especially those in rural and remote areas who need to travel to Brisbane for treatment. By providing this therapy that is both non-invasive and proven to reduce the length of stay in hospital and the risk of re-admission, we can greatly improve the quality of life for these families,” Ms Simpson said.

The donation will help support children and young people with CF like 15-year-old Morghan Parsons who recently experienced first-hand the benefit of the system.

Cystic fibrosis is the most common life-threatening genetic condition in Australia. Repeated infections and airway blockages in children with CF can cause irreversible lung damage and even death.

Despite both hospital and home exercise and airway clearance physiotherapy, Morghan’s health issues recently declined and when her cough wouldn’t clear, she was re-admitted to QCH for treatment.

Breathing tests showed her lung capacity had dropped by 25 per cent and doctors soon discovered that the upper lobe of her left lung was completely blocked, so the air was not getting through.

Although doctors were able to remove part of the blockage under general anaesthetic, Morghan’s mum, Amanda said it wasn’t until they tried the new therapy over several days that her airways started to clear.

“Morghan’s breathing just wasn’t getting better and we were facing even more time in hospital. The MetaNeb treatment worked really well and was able to get oxygen into some places in the lungs that weren’t easy to reach. Thankfully, Morghan started to improve very quickly and we were able to go home soon after,” she said.

“We’re grateful to the Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Humpty Dumpty Foundation for donation of the MetaNeb machine – it made all the difference to Morghan’s treatment and allowed us to go home sooner.”

After 16 long days in hospital, Morghan was finally discharged, with her breathing tests almost back to normal. Morghan’s now back at home with her family on the Gold Coast and will continue to receive MetaNeb treatment as well as ongoing physiotherapy at home.

To help the Children’s Hospital Foundation continue to fund vital medical equipment to improve the outcomes of kids with respiratory illnesses donate now.