I was out to dinner with my girlfriends last night and at dinner the topic of pain relief in hospital came up. One of my girlfriend’s children had broken his arm and to fix the fracture pins had been placed in his humerus. To have pins removed, my friend took her son to the local paediatric hospital. Before Bob had his pins removed he was offered no pain relief and this is where the story really starts…..
To remove his pins Bob was placed in a chair. His mother was asked to sit next to him. A clown doctor was there to distract the child whilst the pin was being removed. To remove the pin the doctor used pliers, which slipped as the pin did not come out easily. This process caused Bob a great amount of distress…. However, as this was happening, the clown doctor was attempting to put a red nose on the mother - impeding her ability to comfort Bob. In addition, there was still one more pin to be removed. Yet by this time the child was hysterical and distraught.
A comedy of errors, or a sheer lack of planning and consideration for the needs of Bob and his mother?
The reason I wish to share this story is that this type of situation exemplifies why AWCH is still relevant in 2014. In our 40 year history we have made lots of progress in advocating for children and their families as they navigate the health care system. However stories like Bob’s and Betty’s still exist.
Betty is an intelligent and articulate woman. She told me that she placed her trust in the medical staff and that if they said that this procedure did not require any pain relief then Bob would be fine. Once Bob became distressed she felt she had no control over the situation and that all she could do was comfort Bob to the best of her ability at that time.
This happened two weeks ago, and prior to the pin removal Bob was always a happy go lucky child with a ready smile and a cheeky sense of humour. Since the procedure he has been having nightmares, being argumentative at school and is scared to play footy or use him arm too much.
For me this story shows that AWCH is still very relevant today and the work we do is still needed.
Thanks to Bob and Betty for sharing their story (real names not used)