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Lost: machine that keeps my son well

Mum’s emotional appeal for return of £6,500 device that went missing from outside her home

23 June, 2017 — By Emily Finch

Sophie Perkins with teenager Archie

THE mother of a severely disabled boy has appealed for the safe return of her son’s respiratory device after it was taken on Friday.

Sophie Perkins, 52, a widowed mum-of-three, left the device by mistake outside her house in Hemingford Road, Barnsbury. The device, in a navy blue travel case, was taken between 1.15pm and 3pm.

“I was absent-minded and distracted last Friday as the Sunday following was the fourth anniversary of my husband’s death,” she said.

A Vest Airway Clearance System similar to the one taken

Her son Archie, 13, relies on the device to dislodge mucus from his lungs so he can breathe and avoid infections.

He suffers from bronchiectasis and mitochondrial disease, and receives palliative care from Great Ormond Street Hospital but still lives at home.

The Vest Airway Clearance System Model 105 cost £6,500 but has little street value once used because of the potential spread of disease.

Ms Perkins said she hoped the device was accidentally taken by someone who thought it was a freebie left on the street.

“The physio [from the device] helps keeps him well. He can’t cough so he really needs the machine. He actually really likes it. It makes him laugh,” she said.

Archie with the respiratory device. ‘He can’t cough so he really needs the machine,’ said his mother

“He’s just had an acute episode and I’m really worried.

“It’s made me feel really bad. I used to think this was a friendly street. I wish someone had knocked on my door and asked whether they could take the device.”

The manufacturers, Hill-Rom, and Re-Active Healthcare, have loaned Ms Perkins a replacement until the middle of next month, but the original donor, Barts Charity, has refused to replace it.

Archie’s vest is grey and attaches to an air-pumping device. It was in a 3ft tall worn navy blue case with extend­able handles and wheels.

Anyone with information can call the Tribune on 0207 424 3257 or anonymously drop the device off at our office at 40 Camden Road between 9.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

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