Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Favourite Patient

A two-year-old girl was brought in last night with an asthma attack brought on by a viral infection. I didn't get called in, but the duty doctor gave me the history and asked me to examine her on this morning’s ward round. She’d obviously responded well to her Ventolin nebs – she was running around the room jumping on the chairs, grabbing her dad’s legs and then taking off to run about the room again.

I called her over and asked to listen to her chest. She really liked my stethoscope, so she approved and lifted up her singlet so I could have a listen. All clear, no wheezes this morning. I told her they were good lungs and she smiled and ran a lap of the room. I called her back and asked to look in her mouth, and she opened nice and wide and stuck out her tongue for me, even though she thought it was pretty funny. And then I asked, very nicely, if I could look in her ears. She came over and actually knelt down next to me, brushed her hair back and sat quietly as I looked in her ear. I was so impressed that I just sat there and smiled after that, until she looked at me and said, “udder one?” Then she turned around and sat nice and still while I checked her other ear. What a great patient!

Later on we returned with a ventolin puffer, a big spacer and a paediatric mask so we could teach mum how to give asthma first-aid. Once she had a good grasp of the procedure and understood how to wash the spacer, put it together and check if there was ventolin left, we called the little girl over to practice using it. She was happy to stand there and breathe quietly as her mum held the mask in place and counted her breaths. So very cute ... my new favourite patient.

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