Stephen Hawking's family donate personal ventilator to NHS to help with coronavirus battle

22 April 2020, 00:01

Stephen Hawking's personal ventilator has been donated in the fight against Covid-19
Stephen Hawking's personal ventilator has been donated in the fight against Covid-19. Picture: PA

By Amelia Harper

A ventilator belonging to the late Stephen Hawking has been donated by his family to a Cambridge hospital to help treat coronavirus patients.

The family of the late theoretical physicist gave the medical equipment to the Royal Papworth Hospital as it cares for increasing numbers of patients with Covid-19.

Professor Hawking's family said they want to give back to the NHS hospital where the scientist received 'brilliant' treatment as a former patient.

His daughter Lucy said: “Our father received brilliant, dedicated and compassionate medical care from both Royal Papworth and Addenbrooke’s hospitals in Cambridge.

“As a ventilated patient, Royal Papworth was incredibly important to my father and helped him through some very difficult times.

"We realised that it would be at the forefront of the Covid-19 epidemic and got in touch with some of our old friends there to ask if we could help.”

The ventilator is in good working order and has been added to the hospital's arsenal
The ventilator is in good working order and has been added to the hospital's arsenal. Picture: Supplied

It is the latest piece of equipment to be given to the hospital belonging to the late theoretical physicist.

Dr Mike Davies, the Hospital's Clinical Director for Respiratory Medicine, said Professor Hawking had "already returned NHS ventilators he had on loan’’ from the hospital after receiving care there for a number of years.

Professor Hawking had bought the ventilator as an addition to the ones on loan, to give him “more flexibility”, according to Dr Davies.

He added “It was lovely to hear from the Hawking family again and we are so grateful for them for donating this equipment.’

“We are now extremely busy caring for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19 and the support we are receiving from patients, their families and the local community means a great deal.”

The theoretical physicist died in March 2018
The theoretical physicist died in March 2018. Picture: PA

He said that this particular ventilator is “exceptionally good at providing breathing support through a mask and will be put to good use”.

After a quick check from the hospital’s clinical engineering team, the ventilator has been added to its fleet of equipment.

Dr Davies added that the equipment was not the same as an intensive care ventilator, stressing that the “good news is we have enough of those”.

He went on to add that the public donation “may encourage others to look for equipment to return to hospitals”.

While he says the Cambridge hospital has enough ventilator equipment, “If there are those that have CPAP [continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) ventilator] or ventilator equipment at home that they are no longer using then they should contact the hospital that had issued it”.

Royal Papworth is a major centre for the provision of ventilator support and sleep medicine, treating around 50,000 patients each year.

Last year, it became the first UK trust to receive an 'outstanding' rating in all five domains assessed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

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