Cancer Patient Buys Own Chemotherapy Machine As Hospital ‘Can’t Afford It’

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A brave cancer patient bought his own chemotherapy machine off eBay for just £175 – after an NHS hospital said it couldn’t afford one.

Steve Brewer, 62, has been battling bowel cancer since 2014 and was told by nurses at Peterborough City Hospital they couldn’t afford to buy any more triple pump machines, which administer cancer drugs.

They usually cost around £4,300, so granddad Steve decided to take matters into his own hands and see if he could find a bargain himself.

Steve, from Peterborough, Cambs, has been through 25 rounds of chemotherapy, which he says is keeping the disease at bay.

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The father-of-three has to go to hospital and use the machine every other week.

He said:

I was doing my first chemo and the nurse explained they didn’t have enough pumps. I said ‘I’ll see if I can find one to donate’. I was looking around and one popped up on eBay for £175.

The triple pumps can get the drugs into you much quicker. It cuts 30 to 40 minutes off each treatment. It literally gives you half an hour of your life back each time.

Since making the discovery, he’s fund-raised around £900 to donate six more of the pumps to the hospital.

Initially, staff at Peterborough City Hospital said they couldn’t use the machines because they were secondhand.

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Yet Steve, along with chemotherapy nurse Angelo Cuenca, persuaded pump makers Baxter to re-commission the machines free of charge, allowing the hospitals to use them for another five years.

Steve said:

There was a bit of red tape. It took a while but we persevered. They needed these machines and they knew what a difference this would make.

There must be loads of these secondhand machines. They must go somewhere. It could save hospitals hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Michael Trolove/Geograph

Linda Nkhata, chemotherapy day unit manager at Peterborough City Hospital, said:

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 added the hospital is ‘incredibly grateful to Mr Brewer for his generous donation’.


Francesca Donovan

Francesca Donovan

A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you've never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.