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Call for more mini dialysis devices

The mother of a new-born baby whose young life was saved by a handmade machine created in a doctor's garage has called for the device to be made available on the NHS.

Rebecca Kelly's daughter Millie was born with gastroschisis, where the bowels grow outside the body.

She developed kidney failure as a result of complications following a life-saving operation to correct the condition at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Weighing just 6lb 2oz, doctors said there was little hope of her survival because she was too small to be able to use an NHS dialysis machine - which takes blood from the body and filters it before returning it.

But paediatrician Dr Malcolm Coulthard painstakingly created a miniature version of the device in his garage.

Millie was treated and now, two years later, the toddler is fit and healthy.

Ms Kelly, a 21-year-old student from Middlesbrough, said the machine itself was quite big and she was initially surprised at its home-made appearance.

"He had made it out of metal and there were a few paint splodges on it, but he had just invented it," she said.

"It saved my daughter's life and other babies should have the same chance, other families should have the opportunity to have their daughter saved, or their son."

Dr Coulthard told The Journal newspaper: "This machine is only being used on the tiniest, earliest babies where there is nothing else that can be done.

"But if we had a machine that we could use much more freely, then we would be able to deal with many more babies and have a much greater chance of saving lives."

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Royal Victoria Infirmary