Posts Tagged ‘hospital’

Venla’s trip to hospital

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018 | Family & Parenting

Last week, Venla had what appeared at the time to be a seizure (she’s totally fine by the way, in case you’re worrying!). So, taking no chances, the daycare rang for an ambulance. It’s standard procedure for under-twos to be taken to hospital. Here are a few observations.

The NHS staff were lovely

At every step, we ran into nice people. It started with our paramedic who I loved, not just because his name is also Chris, but also because he too could make a passible career as a Ross Nobel impersonator.

Everyone was good with kids and happy to see Venla. Now, you might think that was a given, given that we went to children’s A&E and then the children’s observation unit. But, when Elina gave birth to Venla, one of the pediatric consultants came around to check on her and he was completely flummoxed by her clothing fastening system, complaining he always got it wrong. Apparently, you can work with babies for your whole career and still not really know what to do. None of this this time.

Hospitals are ill-prepared for healthy curious children

Venla was pretty unhappy at daycare and in the ambulance (constantly switching between crying and excited yelling “in a nee-naw!”) but once we got to hospital she quickly returned to her usual self.

This was okay in the waiting room where they had toys and walls to contain her. But once we were in an examination room, or worse the ward of the CAT unit, she couldn’t care less about the toys. All she wanted to do was touch every expensive medal device and open every draw she could find.

She could easily do this because many of the draws were placed at an excellent height for a toddler. Worse, many of them were open-sided to allow medical staff to grab items quickly in an emergency. It also allows toddlers to grab things.

It occurs to me that hospitals are used to dealing with docile sick children who cuddle up with their parents. Or maybe who feel well enough to push some buttons or do a bit of colouring. But a curious child like Venla, who feels back to her full strength. That has trouble written all over it. After five hours of chasing her up and down hospital corridors and around hospital wards, we were both exhausted.

There is a lot of inefficient beaurcacy

At least it feels inefficient. Maybe it is there for a reason. But I was ill prepared for the whole process.

When we got to daycare, the daycare staff were telling the paramedic what had happened. I assumed the paramedic would be taking notes and these notes would then be handed on to the rest of the hospital staff.

But we were asked to describe what had happened. Even though we weren’t there. When I was getting a brief summary from the paramedic and the daycare staff, I didn’t realise that I should have been taking notes because I was going to be tested on it later.

But apparently, I was. First by the nurse in A&E, then the A&E doctor, then the A&E nursery nurse, then the CAT unit nurse, then the CAT unit doctor. Even though neither of us had witnessed it. Why the notes weren’t simply handed over is unclear.

The whole thing was free

It was nice to be left with a bill of £0, which would have been tens of euros in Finland, or tens of thousands in the United States. Which, for a Friday night out as a family, seems like a cheap win.

24 hour Costa

Saturday, November 5th, 2016 | Photos


Just to clarify then, it is a 24 hour Costa that closes for 1 hour 25 minutes each night.

Grammar at the LGI

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 | Photos

Back in April, I wrote about the LGI’s dubious spelling of ultrasound. We’ve been there quite a bit recently: volunteering with Anxiety Leeds, having baby scans and visiting my grandma. Each time we go, we seem to notice another sign that is not quite correct.


A bold new spelling of gynaecology.


Capitalising each word seems to be an interesting stylistic choice, but why is “thank you” hyphenated? It is bizarre.


Why would you capitalise “floors”?


Why would you capitalise “hospital”?


Areas “are” safe and secure?

20-week scan

Thursday, May 26th, 2016 | Family & Parenting


Last week we had our “mid-pregnancy anomaly scan” where they check if everything is okay. It turns out it is. Baby seems to be hitting the predicted growth rates perfectly.

Obviously baby has massive head in comparison to its body, but I think we all kind of knew that any child of mine would be a big-head.

Five Star Babies

Thursday, May 12th, 2016 | Distractions


Five Star Babies was a two part BBC documentary looking at Portland Hospital, a private maternity hospital in London. No expense is spared. The dining is gourmet, you get your own private consultant, and the birthing suites come with a lounge area for guests.

Having not been through the process myself, it’s hard to judge some aspects. For example, sending your baby off to the nursery for the first few days. If that was an option, I think I might take them up on that. As a new parent, I imagine I am going to want all the help I can get.

Other things just seemed downright strange though. Sending your new-born off for a clean and a nappy before holding it for example. That seems like a weird rich-person thing. In fact one of the most interesting confessions on the show was when one of the nannies admitted that she almost always saw the baby’s first smile, but would never tell the parents that.

There is also something about private healthcare. My dad told about the time my granddad went private for something. He needed pain relief and the doctor, rather than recommended what would be best, just gave them a price list. The quotes for epidurals, which come in at just under £1,000 if you are interested, reminded me of that.

As the show goes on, it just becomes silly. People redecorating entire floors, bringing in their own designers, making secret entrances and spending up to £250,000 reveal a deep problem with the growing income inequality in the UK. Do you need all of that? The answer is almost certainly, no.


Monday, April 18th, 2016 | Photos


Nothing fills you with confidence look a good “ultrsound”.

Voluntary Madness

Monday, September 8th, 2014 | Books

After writing her book Self-Made Man, Norah Vincent found herself struggling psychologically. So she checked herself into a psychiatric hospital, whereupon she got her next idea for a book. The result is “Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin”.

In the book she checks herself into three different hospitals – a downtown public one named Meriwether, a private Catholic facility named St Luke’s, and an alternative therapy centre named Mobius.

She has no problems getting in. As she says, you can only look back and see the mental health problem. This is exactly the feature Daniel Kahneman talks about in Thinking, Fast and Slow. Staff at psychiatric hospital (or indeed anyone, but you would expect these people to be able to) cannot tell the difference between the sane and in the insane. Not that there is necessarily a line between the two.

The results are rather predictable. Meriwether is a cold, clinical hellhole, St Luke’s is tolerable and Mobius comes off the best.

How much we can draw from this, I am not sure. Firstly, you have to look at clinical outcomes and Norah being a sample of one is merely an anecdote about her experience rather than data to draw any conclusions from. Secondly, Mobius only take a select band of mental health issues, and so it is difficult to compare them like-for-like.

It is difficult to compare the financial costs of them because they are all in the United States, where prices are warped by the insurance system where there is little incentive to keep costs down. However, the fact that her insurance company pulled the plug because she was allowed out for runs and not drugged up to the eyeballs speak quite poorly of the US system. It would be interesting to read a similar book looking at British hospitals to compare the differences.

There are some no-brainers that we should take away from the book. Not providing health meals, or a gym, is just stupid. There is loads of clinical evidence to suggest a healthy physical lifestyle helps with mental health too, so these things should probably be the first things you put in.

Providing fresh air, using drugs sensibly, treating people like human beings, giving them a clean bathroom and some proper therapy would all probably be helpful too. However, it would be naive to think that there are not complex social reasons why these are not always provided.

In some ways, mental health could be the most exciting area of healthcare to work in. I suggest this because a lot of the ideas mentioned above are both a) easily to implement and b) would probably improve clinical outcomes.

Improving outcomes for cancer for example is really difficult. We need to find a whole new treatment, lab test it and role it out. Cancer Research UK spends nearly half a billion pounds a year on this. In comparison, to improve some mental health outcomes, you need to buy a treadmill. They’re £150 on eBay.

Of course that is a massive over-simplification and if it really was that easy you would hope that we would have done it by now. Nevertheless, it feels like we have room to make some positive changes in mental health that are easier than with physical health. Hopefully, with increased funding and research focusing on these areas, those changes will come.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 | Photos

I did not know whether to laugh or cry when Rich posted this.


Drunken antics

Sunday, November 1st, 2009 | Photos


Me and Nicola at the hospital after Tom had a bit too much to drink on Friday night.