Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Painful paediatric practice

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.

Ally Hutton
AWCH President

Thanks to Bob and Betty for sharing their story (real names not used)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Jessica's X-ray

By Pat Zonta, artwork by Clive Dobson
Firefly books, 2006. 27 p. ISBN 10: 1552975770

Jessica’s X-Ray is a great book for children and families to read and familiarise themselves with what an x-ray does and when it is used. Readers follow Jessica as she experiences an
x-ray for her broken arm and accompany her on a hospital tour to find out about radiology and other x-ray techniques including CAT-scan, MRI and ultrasound.

 X-rays are invisible waves of energy that travel at the speed of light

Primary school children will find the best feature of the book is the six real x-rays on printed film. Many children are fascinated by broken bones and the human body and they will like taking a look and finding out facts about different types of x-rays. By the end of the book they will have read about identifying bones, muscles and soft tissue from x-rays.

No-fuss information and warm colour illustrations are a feature. The author combines her experience of working in children’s and teaching hospitals as a Medical Radiation Technologist and author of several children’s books. This short book would be a useful addition to a primary school or public library.

Jessica’s X-Ray is available for loan from the AWCH library:

Review by:
Jillian Rattray
AWCH Librarian

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Together Stories Series

By Trish Dearn, illustrated by Lonica Lee
Children’s Cancer Centre Foundation, Richmond Victoria, 2013. ISBN 9780992334260 (paperback)

Infant school and primary school children who are living with childhood cancer will find “the Together stories” very engaging. The stories may help them to prepare for hospital, life experiences as well as think about ways of coping and building strength through difficult circumstances.

The books are written with made-up characters, from a child’s viewpoint. The familiar language used is what you might find in an Australian home, school or children’s hospital. Trish Dearn draws on her experience as a parent of Charlotte, who journeyed through leukaemia treatment to become a happy healthy girl.
Each book taps into different parts of a child’s cancer journey and feelings are expressed through the challenges. The books focus on adapting, coping and empowering through changes in a child’s health from diagnosis, hospital life and returning after treatment to home, school and community life.

Children will want to read each book cover to cover, finding easy-to-read font and colourful, expressive illustrations. The books are similar in formatting to what you might find in a school reader. They have a practical gloss cover for easy wiping.

The Together stories are simple to read and yet strong in communicating some of the social and emotional hurdles children with childhood cancer face.

The books may be borrowed from the AWCH library, to find out more about each book in the series visit the following links:
Review by: 
Jillian Rattray
AWCH Librarian
July 2014