Monday, January 19, 2009

On Juvenile Death

It was just a week ago when Alan told me about the article that he read somewhere, that myocardial infarction can happen in young children. In layman terms, kids can have heart attack as well. I was surprised. But I took it as it is.

Just a few days after that, there was a new admission into the ward. Young Chinese boy, rumors had it that he had heart attack. One of our colleagues had the opportunity of doing an examination before he was transferred to the Paediatrics High Dependancy Unit, a.k.a. the ICU. Supposedly we're not allowed to attend to him, since his condition isn't that all stable. But from what our colleague did, we learnt that his heart is in a pretty bad condition.

When I went back to the ward to prepare myself for the ward round this morning, I learnt that the boy was back, and I was the one assigned to him. Darn. What a difficult case! He was asleep when I went over to his bed. So I just read through the case notes.

Univentricular right heart, hypotrophic left ventricle, double outlet from the right ventricle, mitral atresia, pulmonary stenosis, small patent ductus arteriosus as well as atrial septal defect.

In short, he has multiple heart defects since born. Earlier on he was admitted because of chest pain. All the nature and characteristics of the pain were pointing towards the typical case of heart attack. In adult that is. But anyways, he is now stable after a few days in the ICU. And was able to walk about and smiling to everyone.

Bad as it may sound, I didn't approach him yet. I wanted to examine his chest as well. After all, it's not like everyday we get a patient with so much of a signs. And what's more, I was the one assigned to him. It's just that, well, it's always hard to make the first move. I wasn't motivated enough I guess...

Anyways, thing is, KW's girlfriend approached him last night and was chatting with his mother. That was when she asked the mother about his lifespan.

Mother: The doctor said one or two more years top.

At such a young age! 13 years old that is.

I wished I would've been more motivated to talk to him. But part of me distanced myself from him. Most of the patients in fact. Call me cold blooded whatever. But the first thing before we even started our journey, I learnt not to be emotionally attached to a patient. Having been in the hospital for half a year, I knew I would.

The first patient that I was assigned to when I was in my first year, she also had birth defects. Spina bifida, hydrocephalus, hydronephrosis plus kidney stones. Problems with the brain and spinal cord development that was. We visited her at her home, at the hospital, follow up on her condition for 2 years, even to the extend of asking Alan for help in getting her a new wheelchair, which was in vain due to insufficient wheelchair.

Oh well. Life... Whad'ya expect?

pictures courtesy of Sarah Stevens, Kes☆ and saiju sreedharan

7 Jujus:

JD Cole said...

when i was a kid, and having emotional ups & downs....i always wished that i hv a heart disease so i can die fast~

now, i'm just feeling more blue reading ur post :(

poor kid...may god be by his side. miracles do happened if u believe hard enuf...


TZ said...

So sad .... *sob sob*

Danny said...

they still have a very long and interesting life to live..
god bless them :)

Ban said...

When a doc says 1 to 2 years tops, it's actually longer. Not sure by how much, but usually longer.

It's understandable to distance yourself. But don't forget to show kindness, at least on the outside. The poor child and parents deserve that much at least.

*Anton* said...

Really understand how you feel, since I used to be active in Hospice taking care of cancer patients. Sometimes it gets to be really hard tho'. I juz control and then go to the loo and cry my brains out.


Medie007 said...

JD, dear me, why the morbid thought?

TZ. sobs too. need a tissue?

Danny, hopefully...

Medie007 said...

Ban, it's just a prediction no doubt. but it's a preparation as well. i dun mean to be unfriendly, i was being really polite to them, or so i think. i just hoped i played my part well.

anton, *hugs*.