At the end of last year, staff in the Clinical Blood Sciences lab at St George’s welcomed four-year-old Thomas for the inaugural Harvey’s Gang tour at St George’s Hospital.
Harvey’s Gang is a charity set up by Malcolm Robinson, former Chief Biomedical Scientist in Blood Transfusion at Worthing Hospital, to show young people with long-term conditions around the labs so they can see what happens to their blood when it is taken and what goes on in the labs. Harvey’s Gang tours are now running in labs across the UK and the charity was awarded the BBC One Show NHS70 Special Thank You Award in 2018. Find out more about Harvey’s Gang.
Little Thomas has a rare blood disorder which means he comes into hospital every three weeks for a blood transfusion. During his visit, he was able to watch his own sample travel through the lab, look down a microscope and see the samples whizzing round on the track. He was also able to pick which blood units he wanted for his transfusion later in the day.
The second young scientist to visit the labs was seven-year-old Neriya-May, who has sickle-cell anaemia and comes to St George’s every few weeks for a blood transfusion.
During her tour, Neriya-May was able to help load samples onto the analyser and look at her own sickle cells through a microscope. She helped to label each unit of blood for her transfusion later in the day, making sure her name was spelt correctly and her hospital number was right.
In January, the lab welcomed four-year-old Rian for his Harvey’s Gang tour. Rian has a clotting disorder which means he has to have frequent blood tests. Rian loved his tour, and was particularly interested in the analysers, or ‘robots’ as he called them. He enjoyed looking at cells through the microscope and was delighted with his Harvey’s Gang goody bag.