State of the art machine helps Bethany

A STATE-of-the-art respiratory machine discovered on the internet is today helping an Ipswich schoolgirl manage the affects of severe muscular dystrophy.

A STATE-of-the-art respiratory machine discovered on the internet is today helping an Ipswich schoolgirl manage the affects of severe muscular dystrophy.

Thanks to the discovery of parents Treena and Kevin Woods, five-year-old Bethany is now the proud owner of a Cough Assist machine which reduces the risk of infections.

It is something the family did not even know existed through medical avenues in this country but learned about via a family living abroad who they are in contact with on-line.

Bethany, of Cecil Road, has a rare form of muscular dystrophy and is prone to respiratory illnesses.

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Now, the youngster is able to use the machine daily to help keep her healthy and has started going to mainstream school two days a week.

She started Sidegate Lane Primary School on Monday in addition to going to Thomas Wolsey special school.

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She will continue to go to the special school as it provides occupational and physiotherapy, but has been introduced to mainstream because there is nothing wrong with her mental health, and her parents wanted her to mix with able-bodied children.

The new machine comes after a period of serious illness. Bethany fell ill in November last year and it was discovered she was suffering with pneumonia and her lung had collapsed. She had three spells in hospital, the last in January.

Mrs Woods said: “Her chest is still rattling and she will have physiotherapy for several weeks to clear her lung of mucus but since March 2 she's been using the machine.

“In theory it should stop mucus getting too far into her lungs and resting there and causing an infection.

“Until she's poorly again we won't really know how affective it is but she's stayed very clear since she's been using it and if it stays like that, it will have a big impact on her quality of life.”

The machine forces air into Bethany's lung and then back out again, helping her to cough and get the mucus off of her lung. She uses it twice a day, breathing in and out of a face mask and tube.

The Woods family, which includes Bethany's ten-year-old brother Ryan, is in contact with families in Australia and America who are affected by muscular dystrophy.

Have you made a discovery on the internet which ahs helped your health? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

AFTER Bethany was born in August 2001 doctors noticed she was not moving as a normal healthy baby should, appearing floppy.

She was diagnosed with the Merosin Negative form of congenital muscular dystrophy - a condition which means she has poor muscle tone and could never crawl or stand.

Her muscles are too rigid for her to walk, and she gets around using a wheelchair.

Bethany also has difficulties breathing and respiratory infections are common place with the condition. Even a slight cold can lead to major complications including life-threatening pneumonia.

Her left side is weaker than her right and illnesses always go to that side. It is her left lung which gets infections and collapses.

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