A FAKE GoFundMe page which mimicked a genuine plea from Dublin's Rotunda Hospital which is in dire need of a new ultrasound machine has been taken down after being reported.
According to The Independent, the scam page copied the text and photographs from the maternity hospital's genuine GoFundMe page but did not manage to steal any money before being removed.
"The page was taken down immediately," neonatalologist and organiser of the fundraiser, Dr Afif El-Khuffash, told The Independent.
"We reported it to GoFundMe and they handled it.
"Thankfully nothing was paid into it at all."
The genuine fundraising page (which you can view here) illustrate's the maternity hospital's dire need for a new ultrasound machine: the old one is nearing the end of its life, and government funding is not available for a replacement.
The Rotunda is the busiest maternity hospital in the country, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides specialist treatment for over 1200 babies each year.
"Some of those babies can be a small as 400 grams and born extremely prematurely," the fundraiser states.
"Their care can be very complex and we rely on vital information from our monitoring equipment to guide their care, improve their clinical course and maximise outcome.
"One vital piece of equipment is a heart ultrasound machine (an Echocardiography Machine). We use this heart ultrasound machine on a daily basis not only to assess heart structure but also give us important information on heart function. Our babies’ tiny hearts are often challenged by many of the issues associated with prematurity or illness. Using this machine, we can look at how the heart is working, use it to decide which medication best suits the situation and monitor response to treatment. We carry out approximately 750 scans every year as this information is vital and individual to every baby and clinical situation."
The statement goes on to explain how the public can help, and why the hospital has to resort to public funding to purchase the equipment which is essential to the well-being of thousands of babies.
"We are seeking your help as our clinical Echocardiography machine has reached the end of its life and the information it can give us is very limited. As government funding is not available for a replacement echocardiography machine, we need help from the public to raise essential funds to purchase a new machine so that we can continue to provide the best possible care for all our babies.
"Thank you so much for considering a donation. Every single contribution will help progress care for our babies," the statement concludes.
The fundraising page was set up on December 4th of this year and has already passed it's initial target of €76,500, meaning the hospital will be able to purchase the Echocardiography machine.
In an update thanking people for their "wonderful donation", Dr Afif El-Khuffashm, the organiser of the fundraiser, said "The genorosity of people never ceases to amaze us".
The fundraiser will remain open until January 14th, 2020, and anyone who may wish to donate in order to fund other vital equipment used for the care of premature infants can do so here.