People who have life-threatening but undiagnosed heart conditions could soon benefit from the tireless fundraising efforts of a Frome couple.
Shirley and Dave Wort, of Westwood Drive, have donated a new electrocardiograph (ECG) machine to Frome Victoria Hospital’s minor injuries unit.
It was presented to lead emergency nurse practitioner Teresa Ashman and emergency nurse practitioner Caroline Stoddart on behalf of the Julian Wort Memorial Fund and the national charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
Mr and Mrs Wort’s son Julian, who was a builder, died unexpectedly in his sleep six years ago because of a rare heart condition.
He was 28 years old at the time and had shown symptoms of an illness earlier in his life but doctors did not realise that he hand an enlarged heart muscle and instead thought it was asthma.
Since his death, his parents have tirelessly fundraised for CRY and their son’s memorial fund.
The new ECG machine cost nearly £7,000 and has a plaque placed on it commemorating Julian.
“Had Julian been able to have access to this machine it would have detected his heart problem and saved his life,” said Mrs Wort.
“It’s widely acknowledged than many of the hundreds of sudden deaths which occur every year in the UK could be prevented if simple cardiac screening was made more accessible.
“This machine will help save young lives at risk from undiagnosed heart abnormalities known as Sudden Death Syndrome.
“It is the third heart monitoring equipment that we have been able to donate since we lost Julian in March 2000.”
In 2001 the couple presented Frome Medical Practice with an ECG machine and in 2004 they also donated a defibrillator to the Minor Injuries Unit at Victoria Hospital.
The pair have raised £22,000 since they first began fundraising in their son’s memory.
Mrs Wort said: “The final fundraising boost of £3,000 for this latest ECG machine was from Frome Golf Club’s men’s captain of last year Steve Burns.
“He chose CRY as one of his charities during his term as captain and we are so grateful to everyone who has contributed and who are still fundraising for CRY.”
On receiving the machine, Ms Ashman said: “We are very grateful to Mr and Mrs Wort and to everyone who has donated towards it.
“The equipment will save lives and it is more advanced than what we could get from the NHS.
“It helps diagnose any heart conditions at an early stage so it can be treated quickly and effectively.
“It can be used across the hospital as it is portable and light to carry.
“Our other ECG machine is four times as big, a lot older, and it doesn’t have as many functions.”
Anyone who has a heart condition diagnosed on the machine will have their data saved on to a memory card and sent to specialists in Bath who can help solve or treat the problem.
The new equipment is the 45th ECG machine to be donated to the community by CRY.