Monday, 28 January 2013

What is poor patient care?

This morning as I was reading the news I came across this article. Reading the article I was shocked, not because taping a babies dummy is shocking but because someone thinks it is newsworthy. Appearing fourth on the list of BBC health articles. The article doesn't give the full story, it briefly states that the dummy was taped on and then goes on to give a list of apologies. The problem is they didn't clarify the circumstances, there are cases when taping a dummy on could be in the interest of patient care. 

For example, last year there was a baby who at times had his dummy taped in. This may seem rather barbaric, but it was actually part of the treatment plan. The baby had been biting through his tongue and lip and as such had to have two lower teeth removed. The problem was after this operation he was still able to use his gums to prevent the wounds healing. This meant he needed a special dummy that prevented him from biting his lip and his tongue. He was not particularly fond of this dummy and kept spitting it out. To save his parents the trouble of constantly holding the dummy in place it was taped on. There were of course a strict set of rules that someone in the room had to be awake and within earshot in case he vomited.

Suffice to say, the dummy worked and when the patient was discharged a week later he was back to a normal dummy without tape. I just wanted to highlight that although things may seem rather odd or even outrageous at first glance, it is worth being in full possession of the facts before making your mind up. Of course it is disgraceful if the act was not justified but I wish the journalist had spent more time writing about the facts and less harking on about people's apologies.

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