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Tough Weekend

Leo No.8

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Think its only when you've got your own child you realise how hard it is for people to deal with their kids being sick, we had a terrible weekend with little Charlotte (my little girl, just under six months old) it was frightening at times.


Basically she got a high temperature late last Friday, which went up to about 39 degrees. We gave her some baby nurofen etc which took the temperature down but she couldn't sleep at all, was crying and clearly in discomfort.


As soon as the painkillers wore off her temperature went right back up again so about 7am on Saturday morning we arranged an appointment with the emergency doctor who is based at the drop in centre in Widnes.


The doctor was awful; first he bumped several patients ahead of a six month old baby, apparently because he deemed them more of a priority. None of them looked in any serious discomfort from what I could see so I couldn't understand why.


When we got in to see him the guy had a terrible way about him - no compassion at all, grumpy, like he just didn't want to be there at all. He told us it was probably a virus but she had a high temperature and heart rate and 'purely as a precaution' as they 'have guidelines' he referred us to see a paediatrician at Whiston hospital so could we take her along there.


She was still worked up and coming round to needing her dinner so as this seemed a routine visit and there was no great urgency stressed, we stopped off at home to feed her, calm her down, get her changing bag ready with everything we needed then took her. She seemed much better for her food and was smiling by the time we left home about an hour later.


When we arrived, to our surprise the staff at the hospital were in a real flap and had been at the ready expecting Charlotte's arrival. To our horror she was whisked away from us and into the resuscitation room with a crash team ready. Apparently her heart rate was between 210-220 BPM (this was on the doctor's report) and they feared a potentially serious heart condition.


There were about 15 doctors, nurses etc in the room, all frantically moving around her, one doctor with a hand each trying to find a vein so they could get a catheter in, and she was hooked up to all sorts of wires and tubes as they did chest a X-Ray, ECG etc trying to pin down what it was that was causing her heart rate to be up so high.


I can honestly say at that point I started thinking about what it would be like to lose her; it was just about the worst day of my life. She was hooked up to all sorts of machines and had to have lots of fluid via a drip, and all sorts of horrible tests like a lumber puncture where they pinned her down and stuck a needle in her back to take spinal fluid to test for meningitis.


We spent 4 days and night in hospital, but she is home now and all the tests including the blood cultures have come back clear now. It appears it was a nasty virus which might have had heavy cold type symptoms in adults but in one so tiny really attacked her body and sent her temperature and heart rate through the roof, pushing her little body to the limit.


It was only on our last day on the children's ward when Charlotte was clearly on the mend and I could take in everything around me that I realised there were s many kids suffering on that ward, the little boy across from us who must have been about 8 months old literally cried all night non stop with the nasty illness he had which was making him throw up all the time.


Having a child has changed my life in so many ways, but seeing her in such pain was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, without exception. It really made me think about people whose kids have terrible long term illnesses like leukemia etc and made me wonder how on earth they cope with the stress of it, the unfairness of it.


If there's one thing I'll take from it all, is to cherish every minute with my little girl. I've learned that having kids is the most amazing thing you can ever do, but also with all that love there's just so much at stake, so much to lose. I'm on the couch on my laptop now and she's sitting in her bouncer smiling up at me and playing with her toy duck, she's right as rain now.


Scary weekend though, never want to go through that again. One question is what do people think of the doctor's conduct? I've been considering making a complaint. he hospital staff said with her heart rate as high as it was she should have gone to hospital in an ambulance, but not only did he not offer that he gave us no idea of the urgency or severity of the situation.


Had it been a serious illness the time we took to get to the hospital could have made all the difference. I'm concerned that the report he gave to the hospital had them panicking but he didn't seem to consider the situation serious at all. Is this likely to be a lack of understanding of the situation or just really poor communication skills on his part?


The staff at Whiston hospital were absolutely fantastic, from the consultant Dr John through to registrar who had to administer the lumber puncture but was vey reassuring and did a great job, to the nurses on our ward who were just brilliant. But the initial doctor's incompetance could have had dire consequences and I don't want him to do the same to someone else.


Has anyone ever complained about a doctor? How do you go about it?

Edited by Leo No.8
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