Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Being a pushy parent?

Doof needed a blood test done this week. So I took him up to the hospital (coincidentally where I worked up until having him) and went to the children's day unit.

The background: unfortunately Doof has already needed several blood tests - this was going to be his 8th - and everyone comments on how difficult he is to get blood from. I've even looked and can't see many obvious veins. Often the doctors or nurses have to have several attempts before being successful.

So when we arrived I suspected it might be a difficult procedure but didn't want to be one of these super-stroppy-and-pushy parents who refuse to let anyone except the most senior doctor near their child. So when the junior doctor introduced herself I was happy for her to take the blood but did warn her that it might be difficult and if she couldn't see anywhere to go then I was very happy to wait for as long as needed for a more senior doctor. She said no problem followed by the fateful words... "I'll just give it a go".

I've heard lots of medical professionals saying this in the past. I'm not sure why it is said. To lighten the mood? A nervous joke gone wrong? For the record it is not something patients or parents want to hear.

Anyway, so she "gave it a go", dug around with the needle and completely failed. Meanwhile poor Doof was inconsolable. So then the registrar was called (who happened to be one of my old colleagues) to finish the job. Even she, a very experienced and good registrar, did not succeed on the first attempt - making me feel even worse that I'd "let" the junior doctor ruin a potential vein.

I *think* Doof is too young to remember any of this - I really hope so. But I won't forget his helpless anguished cries as the needle was repeatedly and blindly stabbed into his arm. So I have learnt several valuable lessons...
1. Don't let juniors practise on my child - if he had been my patient I would have said no he was too difficult for a junior - why did I feel unable to say that as his parent?
2. I should have trusted my instincts - I think sometimes medical parents can be the worst for this. You so don't want to make a fuss that you don't when you actually should
3. You can't be too pushy a parent where your child is concerned

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