The portable CT scanner funded through the Lord Mayor’s Appeal with thanks to London Freemasons is providing critical information to trauma teams at The Royal London.

When a 17-year-old girl was brought to the hospital after a serious road traffic accident, she was deeply unconscious and her condition was uncertain. She’d suffered severe traumatic brain injury, along with serious injuries to her chest, spine, abdomen and pelvis. Pressure inside the skull began rising dangerously, which required an urgent CT scan of the brain. She was too unwell to be moved to a fixed scanner. Staff performed a portable scan at the bedside, which revealed a serious deterioration – and emergency surgery was performed to alleviate the situation.

“Availability of a portable CT scanner in the adult critical care unit is proving to be important in the management of critically ill patients,” said a clinical staff lead at The Royal London.

A hospital staff member on Twitter added: "We are really lucky to have this facility for our patients on [the unit], thanks to generous funding." 

When a patient has suffered a serious head injury, timing is everything – immediate access to brain imaging is essential for life-saving treatment and minimising any long-term damage. CT (computerised tomography) scans provide critical information about the nature and location of injury inside the brain. Standard CT scanners are large machines situated away from the bedside. Moving patients can be difficult, time consuming, and can even have detrimental effects. With this funding, Barts Health was one of the UK’s first centres to have access to a portable CT scanner in its critical care unit.