[WARNING: Sensitive Content]
It’s not easy running an NICU…..as a young pediatric resident, with limited resources and lack of specialist support.
Many babies in the NICU have congenital anomalies that can affect their organs. Adult disorders like heart disease, kidney failure and cancers require complex management. Imagine how hard it is if a newborn has a devastating illness…..with limited resources and lack of specialist support.
My seniors tried their best given their clinical experience. Sometimes we had to go through some of our medical literature, which we used to read in postgraduate training. But each case is different. Each care needs an expert with super-specialist review.
Even after reaching out to another institution, they couldn’t manage the time to come down and examine the infant or even go through the reports (back then we didn’t use video conferencing or even had any policy about sending patient records electronically).
Diagnosing a critical illness is quite straightforward. Many hospitals have the technology to run the tests. They can start some kind of supportive measures.
But what do you do next?
The parents run around in circles trying to find a second opinion. Some end up hearing the same details because they couldn’t reach out to the right consultants.
Many infants died under my watch. After all these years I can still remember them.
Globally there is a severe shortage in highly skilled medical specialists.
Between poor countries there is a brain drain of specialised expertise.
Even between cities, specialists naturally gravitate towards places with better opportunities.
I don’t blame them. I would too.
But there has to be a way to share all that skilled knowledge to other places. There has to be a way to give people time to explain their situation, and help them decide what is best for them.
Tune in to my next post, where I tell you a story of what happens when technology can help end unnecessary suffering, for a baby and his parents.
Your Humble Narrator,
Dr. Ismail Sayeed
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