A change of rotation again today, and onto paediatrics. The best part of this is the fact that I only need to be in at 9AM every day, meaning I get at least an hour of lie in extra compared to the last four months. Obviously this is not the only positive part of the change, and there are a lot of other lovely things around this change. Changing team is a shame, as the F1 I was with was lovely, though this hospital's paediatricians are also very nice. There are no F1s (first year junior doctors) on this hospital's paediatric wards, so this week I spend all of my time spread between a couple of different consultants and the doctors on their teams. Following consultants around is a little different to what I have been doing before, where I have been following around the most junior members of the medical team. This means I get less hands-on experience of what to do next year, but it does lead to a lot more teaching opportunities!
The team I am with for the next two weeks (yes, that is all my rotation is, a measly two weeks) is really lovely, and I quickly felt settled in and at home. I suppose you would expect paediatricians to be caring, lovely people, if they wanted to look after children, but by the same logic you would hope that all doctors would be very helpful, as they have all chosen a caring profession! The consultants seem very keen on teaching, and the more junior members (who are all still a good few years post-graduation) are very happy to let us get involved, clerking children in when they are admitted to the hospital and doing as much as possible on the ward.
Each day starts with a morning meeting, which is why it cannot start earlier than 9. All of the patients who are in the hospital are discussed between the doctors, and treatment plans decided for each one. There are two main sections to the paediatric work, one dealing with the babies, I.e. those who have just been born or those who were born pre-term, and the other dealing with babies, children and adolescents with any problems that come after birth.
I split my time between the two sections this week, spending some time with the newborn babies doing baby checks. A great chance for me to practice this, which would make a good examination come finals, though it does open you up to be showered in wee by little baby boys... Less said about that the better.
The other section involves ward rounds, diagnosis and treatment, much like any other medical ward, but in children. There is a large range of patients in the ward, from children being treated for cancer, to the omnipresent respiratory tract infection from RSV. This RSV infection seems to lead to most of the admissions, and plenty of sick wheezy babies. There is little that the hospital can do, and it is mostly supportive care while they get better themselves.
My favourite patient on the ward at the moment is a 12 year old boy who, two days ago, started seeing hallucinations of snakes everywhere. I realise that my title sounds as though there are snakes hallucinating, but this is not the case (and I am not sure how you would be able to tell if it were). It was this boy who just started seeing snakes wherever he looked for no apparent reason. He has been in for a few days, and refuses to wear clothes as he is convinced there are snakes in them. As he is naked all the time, he has to stay in his room, but otherwise seems very lucid and collected. I had easy conversations with him, and we put jigsaws together and so on without any problems. He seems completely well, other than being able to point out these snakes he can see all the time. There always seem to be one or two present in a room at any time. He has had full toxicology screens for any drugs or substances he may have accidentally eaten, but everything is negative. There is no discernible cause for these hallucinations, though they are obviously very upsetting to him. At a loss of what to do, a referral has been made to the child psychiatrists to see what they think. I will keep you updated next week!