So my little one has now reached the ripe old age of eleven months. All in all we’ve been very lucky. We had a LOT of problems with him sleeping (probably more our fault than his) but other than that he has been a very happy, healthy little boy. I wouldn’t change that for the world but it meant it was even more of a shock to the system when last week he was out of sorts and had a high temperature. We managed to bring it down with Calpol (I remember months ago being reluctant to use it but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!) and he seemed to perk up a bit. We then went off to the seaside with him for the day. He still wasn’t quite himself but he was able to lie in his pushchair and enjoy the sea breeze, which is more of a breeze than he would have had at home. We actually encountered, I think for the first time, him crying uncontrollably in public. He really isn’t a very tearful baby as a rule. We returned home and he perked up again. Bedtime came and he went to bed with no trouble. He was a bit restless but it was a hot night so I’d imagine a lot of babies across the country were hot and restless too. Then at about half past midnight I was woken by him crying. I went to fetch him and could immediately feel how hot he was. He was also shaking and I could tell that he smelled different to usual. I stripped him off (he’d only been wearing a vest and nappy) and woke my husband to fetch the thermometer. I actually now can’t recall what his temperature was, I think it was 38-something. Not knowing the best thing to do we called an ambulance. When the first paramedic car arrived the paramedic took his temperature again and got a reading of 40.3. This was after my little one had been in front of a fan and the open door for about ten minutes while we were waiting for her to arrive. She initially said we should take him to the local hospital’s minor injuries clinic but then after disappearing outside to her car it transpired she had called an ambulance to take him to A&E. The ambulance arrived a few minutes later and it was at this point that I started to become a bit disappointed in the service we received. The first paramedic relayed the details to the ambulance team but also added, ‘He’s been to the seaside today so another baby that’s got too hot.’ I didn’t really have time to respond to this as we then got loaded into the ambulance and were away. On the journey the paramedic told me this was the third baby they had taken into hospital that night. I assured him that my child had not been out in the sun, had been in the shade nearly all the time, had suitable sun cream, hat, clothing etc and had been relatively cool given the heat. He also asked me if we had considered taking him to an NHS walk in clinic earlier in the day. A fair question I suppose but as our son had appeared to be more or less ok through the day, no we hadn’t. That question, however added to my feeling that I was being looked down on as a bad parent and was wasting the time of the paramedics. When we arrived at the hospital again the facts were relayed to the Nursing staff with the added comment of, ‘Another hot baby – been at the seaside.’ Accompanied by an exasperated look from the Nurse. She later told us, ‘Babies just can’t take the heat you know.’ Grrrrrrr! I know that, WHICH IS WHY WE KEPT HIM COOL AND SHELTERED ALL DAY!!!! She also said that they would test his urine to see if there was any infection though she didn’t think there was… It turns out there was. He was prescribed anti-biotics and is now as right as rain.
A few people we have spoken to have said that they would have complained about the attitudes we encountered. I personally think the frontline staff of the NHS do a tremendous job under very difficult circumstances (with very little funding/resources) so am always reluctant to make a complaint. On the flipside we couldn’t have been more happy with the service we received when my son was delivered by C-section, and I made sure I wrote in to express my thanks, not only to the staff concerned but also to their Manager’s.
My concern is that not only are parents being treated as if they are stupid but that things can get overlooked. Had the staff dismissed my son’s symptoms without doing any tests I would have… well I would have hit the roof, and there would definitely be letters of complaint going in, however they did do their job and I was happy that my son received the correct treatment.
As I have said previously I know they are working under difficult circumstances and on a daily basis will meet parents who have not taken proper care of their children, however it is wrong to make assumptions and make people in a vulnerable and upsetting situation feel even more vulnerable and upset. A serious blog I’m afraid but it was something that upset me quite a lot. Just wondering what other people’s experiences have been. I have to add that when we previously took him to A&E with a rash (that turned out to be nothing) we were constantly reassured that we had done the right thing in taking him to be looked at. Swings and roundabouts I guess but professionals… Please don’t think you know me before you’ve got to know me…