There are times when as a parent you just know someone is not listening. This can be heart-breaking when you are worrying about your child. Occasionally a group of symptoms can be noticed in a child, taken individually, might all be of little consequence, but taken together are important and serious.
Such a situation occurred a few years ago when parents brought their 12 year old daughter to BMI Thornbury Hospital. The daughter had increasing indigestion and had seen a number of doctors through their GP and Accident and Emergency. She had been prescribed ever increasing doses of antacids and indigestion treatments, which had given no relief at all. Clinical examination showed her to be breathless on the slightest exertion, a loud heart murmur, with lots of signs that her heart was failing. The cause of her indigestion was also evident, as the liver was enlarged and tender. A chest x-ray confirmed the clinical suspicion of a dilated cardiomyopathy and an echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) that evening, confirmed the absence of an effusion around the heart and severe impairment of cardiac function. In these situations the child needs to be back in the NHS as that is where the paediatric cardiology expertise for acutely unwell children resides. The family had private health insurance, but duty of care meant that I referred the child in to the local Children’s Hospital, having spoken directly to the duty cardiologist at Leeds. This child had a heart transplant within a few days and has done extremely well since.
As you become more experienced as a doctor, you become more aware of the “There by the grace of God go I” factor. In other words, it is possible for any of us to miss what might be obvious, or time makes something obvious. But a different pair of eyes, at a different time (especially if those eyes are experienced and the time available is unhurried and focused) can make all the difference.
If you would like a second opinon on a medical issue your child is experiencing, pleae send an enquiry form to Paediatric Care to see how I can help