A revolution in microorganism identification

Imagine having to wait days with uncertainty for your sick child’s diagnosis, in addition to the stress of already being in hospital.

Thanks to the generosity of Gladys Scott, the RCH Microbiology Lab recently received a major boost that will cut waiting times down to a matter of seconds.

The lab analyses hundreds of thousands of specimen samples from children every year and provides high quality clinical and diagnostic services to medical and nursing staff. Gladys’ bequest is enabling a major investment in a Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/ Ionization – Time of Flight (MALDI-TOF) instrument. The MALDI-TOF is an automated analyser which will make diagnosing infections much faster and improve patient outcomes.

“Little had changed since the time of the 19th century in terms of identifying microorganisms so MALDI-TOF is a revolution,” said Associate Professor Andrew Daley, Head of the RCH’s Microbiology Lab.

“Previously, organism identification was based on biochemical reactions and sugar fermentations which took anywhere from a few hours to several days. The MALDI-TOF identifies an organism’s protein ‘fingerprint’ and takes only a few seconds to perform,” said A/Prof Daley.

Gladys left an incredible legacy, bequeathing her entire estate to charity. Responsibility for distributing her bequest was given to her Estate Trustees including long term advisor and friend, David Ackland.

“As a Trustee you are acting in their shoes, you want to make sure the money will be used for a good purpose. Gladys had a love for children and she mentioned 10 charities to consider giving money to in her Will, one of which was the RCH,” said David.

Recently, David, his wife Yvonne and fellow Estate Trustee David Kennedy visited the RCH’s Microbiology Lab to see this cutting-edge technology installed and to meet with staff.

“It’s been fantastic to be involved in the process and to see the benefits of the MALDI-TOF. We feel blessed as Trustees to help others in our community, especially children,” said David.

The hospital gratefully acknowledges this gift, given in loving memory of Gladys’ parents, Gladys Muriel Marriott and Alfred Marriott.