Just before Christmas in 2009, the kiddo presented with H1N1 flu symptoms and a fever of 104.8 that wouldn’t reduce with Tylenol.
Because his regular Doc’s office was closed and the fact that he is at high risk status with Asthma and Chronic Lung Disease, the Children’s Hospital recommended we come in so they could check him out and run some tests.
Off to the emergency room we went at 3pm. (Way to spend a Sunday!)
After the basic questions and evaluation, I was told that they needed a sample of his snot for testing. (Sorry, snot isn’t really a very nice word is it? Is there a better word than snot? By better, I mean politically correct and lady-like.)
Is there? Well if so, I don’t know it.
Anyway, they needed a sample and he couldn’t get one by blowing his nose, so they decided they needed to ‘get it themselves’.
And I let them.
They laid him back on a gurney sloped downwards so his feet were raised higher than his head. With one nurse pinning his legs and another large male nurse pinning his arms and body by almost laying across him, a third held his head tipped back and shot water up his nose with some kind of electric powered water-filled syringe.
As it overwhelmed his senses spewing water from what looked like every orifice he had, they put a suction tube up his other other nostril and collected the precious snot. The gagging, screams and thrashing that came from his body during this procedure were incredible.
Our son has had many, many visits to the hospital and there was never this much drama. Not when he had to have an IV put into his skull when he was younger, not on the many occasions he has had blood taken, or when he’s been unable to breathe and has had to be on a respirator, or from his stays in intensive care.
Now, take a look at this description from Wikipedia on a form of torture called water boarding:
Water boarding is a form of torture that consists of immobilizing the victim on his or her back with the head inclined downwards, and then pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages, causing the captive to believe he or she is dying. Forced suffocation and water inhalation cause the subject to experience the sensation of drowning. Water boarding is considered a form of torture by legal experts, politicians, war veterans, medical experts in the treatment of torture victims, intelligence officials, military judgesand human rights organizations, although other current and former U.S. government officials have stated that they do not believe water boarding to be torture.
In contrast to submerging the head face-forward in water, water boarding precipitates an almost immediate gag reflex. While the technique does not inevitably cause lasting physical damage, it can cause extreme pain, dry drowning, damage to lungs, brain damage from oxygen deprivation, other physical injuries including broken bones due to struggling against restraints, lasting psychological damage or, if uninterrupted, death. Adverse physical consequences can manifest themselves months after the event, while psychological effects can last for years.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
They totally water boarded my 5 year old, and it happened at a Children’s Hospital in Texas, administered by medical personnel (who signed the hypocratic oath, no doubt).
To top it off, note the part highlighted in red that refers to the possible damage of lungs… on a child with lung disease.
I know, I know, medical personnel would tell me its really not the same thing. All I know is what I saw.
Reading this description and combining what I witnessed, could have been the manuscript for the “Water Boarding 4 Dummies, How-To-Tutorial.”
That’s what I know.
Let me also clarify – before they were going to do this, I asked the question – “Would your treatment be the same regardless of the results?” “No”, they said. The treatment would differ depending on whether a flu virus was found or not.
Thus it seemed necessary to do this, to ensure proper, safe and effective treatment. The result?
A negative H1N1 that we are then told is only about 70% accurate so they wanted to give him Tamiflu anyway. Seriously.
I pondered the risks of asking the doctor the thoughts that were running around my head. Thoughts like;
“Are you even really a Doctor at all?
“Have you perhaps been laid off from your job at Guantanamo?”
“Do you moonlight as a Mafia hit man?” (These are questions all good parents should ponder.)
Against my will, hubby convinced me not to. He felt that it wouldn’t help improve the service our son would receive. (He’s conservative like that.)
Someone really needs to reflect on the approach of Doctors and nurses at these places. People laud the wonderful care given by the staff in the Cancer wards and the like, but in my (vast) experience, the treatment when arriving at the ER in Children’s Hospitals has never been more than disappointing.
(Sorry to all the great Doctors and nurses that work in Children’s Hospitals, I know you are out there, I just haven’t met you yet.)
That being said, when kiddo was admitted into the emergency room at Skyridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, CO and then transferred to the PICU in Swedish Medical Center, CO a few years previously, the staff there were awesome – so kudos to those staff.
As an aside, here’s how hubby coped with the stress of the day:
That’s right, stealing hospital products and making rooster balloons – its good to see some people weren’t traumatized by the day.