A senior biomedical scientist, who is retiring from Queen’s Hospital after 40 years’ service,
has donated £4,300 to buy a piece of medical equipment as a parting gift.
Chris Westcott, 60, from Collier Row started working for Barking, Havering and Redbridge
University Hospitals Trust in the pathology department of Oldchurch Hospital in 1976,
before transferring to Queen’s Hospital in 2006 after it was officially opened.
Chris donated the money to King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity to purchase the
NanoDrop™ Lite machine which processes rapid and accurate results from just a minute
drop of blood.
“We look for mutations in DNA that cause diseases like cancer,” said Chris. “We have to
extract the DNA from the blood samples we receive and do these tests, but it’s very
sensitive and if the concentration of DNA is too much or not enough, it may give us a false result. The Nanodrop™ Lite will eradicate this by telling us exactly how much DNA is in the original sample.”
Other hospital departments such as Microbiology, who screen blood for HIV and Hepatitis, will also be able to utilise the machine.
“We’ve never had an employee of the Trust make a personal donation of this nature to
the charity before,” said George Wood, Chairman of King George and Queen’s Hospitals Charity. “Chris is leaving behind something that will help his colleagues in their work and benefit our patients. I know he is a very modest man, but Chris is also a role model and he should be very proud of what he’s achieved.”
Chris says he will be sad to leave and has nothing but praise for his colleagues at the Trust.
“These are the best bunch of colleagues I’ve ever worked with. In all of pathology in all
departments, I’ve never known people with such ambition and drive,” he said. “I’ve seen
so much change over the span of my career. In the 80s, computers were introduced and
that really worried me at first, but, we couldn’t process the workload we receive now without using modern technology. When I started, we were doing 50 blood counts a day
which was considered busy. Today, it’s nearer 2,000 and over. I think I’m definitely ready
for a 40 year break now.”