A cancer patient from Peterborough, England, has stunned everyone by buying his own chemotherapy machine from online shopping site eBay after his hospital said they couldn't afford the best machines.
While getting his first round of chemotherapy at the Peterborough hospital, Steve Brewer was told by the nurse that they didn't have enough pumps due to their high price. The nurse explained to him that the hospital needed more of the triple pumps. The hospital's oncology department owned 26 bays and only 10 triple pumps for treatment.
The 62-year-old, who has been battling bowel cancer since 2014, had already undergone 25 rounds of chemotherapy by that time, and the triple pumps "cut 30-40 minutes off each treatment," he said. "It literally gives you half an hour of your life back each time," he was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.
Brewer didn't lose heart at the unavailability of the pumps. He devised a smart way of saving himself and his fellow patients after visiting the shopping site to see if the machine was available there.
He was shocked to see that one of the pumps — which otherwise cost £3,400 — was available for just £175, and he immediately bought it. "I said I'll see if I can find one to donate. I was looking around and one popped up on eBay for £175," said Brewer.
When he checked for more such machines in a similar price range, he found another six for about £100 each. Brewer then crowd-funded £900 to buy a dozen more of them.
At first, the hospital staff didn't allow the machines to be used as they were second-hand, but Brewer and chemotherapy nurse Angelo Cuena convinced the manufacturer Baxter to hand out the pumps without any charge to the hospital for five years.
Brewer has to still go and use the machine every other week. "There was a bit of red tape. It took a while but we persevered," said the father-of-three.
The hospital's unit manager Linda Nkhata praised Brewer, saying they were "incredibly grateful" for his thoughtful contribution.
"The pumps cost £3,400 each to buy new, which would be a massive outlay for the trust. However, to have seven of them donated has made such a difference to the patients receiving treatment in our hospital, and also to our staff," she said.
"The hospital needed those machines and they knew what a difference this would make. I'm hoping the idea will catch on at other hospitals now," Brewer added.