Sandra Milburn
Pix shows Sandra Milburn and Jo Bunn presenting a cheque for £5,400 to the Critical Care Unit to purchase more ipads and stands.

A woman whose husband spent 80 days in critical care before he died as a result of swine flu in 2011 has raised £5,400 for ipads and their stands to help patients at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Tragically Sandra Milburn also recently lost her father Bill Wharton on the same unit as the result of a heart attack.

Sandra from Attleborough remembers how her husband Charlie thought he was going down with flu, but was quickly diagnosed with swine flu after he grew worse and was admitted to hospital back in 2010.

“It was a hideous time. I had a six month old I was feeding and a three and a half year old and was driving up and down the A11,” she recalls.

“But, I cannot fault the dedication and professionalism of the staff, the support they gave us as a family was awesome. I am still in contact with some of the staff, they have become friends.”

Sandra explained that 31 year old Charlie’s brain was still functioning “even though his body wasn’t”, but he could not speak because he had undergone a tracheotomy operation on his throat.
“The two biggest challenges were communication and finding things to do. Although Charlie was very ill of course, his brain was fully functioning and he was always saying that he was bored. At the time the unit only had 2-3 TVs with video recorders to use, and they couldn’t be seen by patients who were laying down.  My dad had bought Charlie an iPad while he was in ITU so it seemed like the ideal solution”.Sandra, Charlie’s mum, Jo and sister Susanna, have raised £5,400 in all sorts of ways including 10k runs, cricket matches and sponsored walks. The money will be used to buy several ipads and the special stands designed and made by Mark Fowler in clinical engineering.

Most patients spend around 48 hours on the unit explained Consultant Simon Fletcher and patients do need some form of stimulation. “The ipads work on wi fi and can be used to watch tv and as a communications tool for people who can’t speak. We really appreciate this donation and the extra ipads will make a huge difference”.

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