"Lack of clean tube feed syringes at Booth Hall Hospital"

About: Booth Hall Hospital / Paediatrics

(as a relative),

My daughter, now six, has an undiagnosed genetic condition. She has feeding problems, and as a baby of around three months, although an inpatient at Wythenshaw hospital, they felt she should spend about ten days at Booth Hall Children's Hospital, to see if they could shed light on her feeding problems.

Many children there had a gastrostomy or were naso-gastric fed, as there were many children with Crohn's disease. My daughter was naso-gastric fed, and her medications went through her tube, administered by syringe. Present parents were expected to give the medication, and also do the tube feeding.

I had no problem with that. At the end of the tube feed, the tube should be flushed with water to prevent blockages. So syringes were readily available, as they should be in these circumstances. But instead of opening a fresh, sterile syringe to do so, we had to delve into a bowl of syringes which were not in sterile packs. Just loose, for anyone who hadn't washed their hands properly, to rummage through.

There was a child in a side ward, with MRSA and the mother used syringes from the same bowl. Luckily the mother was great, extremely careful. It's a good job.

On the eve of my daughter's discharge back to Wythenshaw, I changed her nappy to discover signs of the "runs". I showed what I had found to a nurse and she suggested that it was because maybe I had put her nappy on wrong! In a gastro-enterology ward! Surely they know what loose bowels look like, and also it was insulting to me. Even if I had put her nappy on badly (which wasn't the case) loose bowel movements are loose bowel movements.

Her bowels were a little loose the next day before the ambulance arrived. Within an hour of arriving back at Wythenshaw hospital, her gastro-enteritis was very evident. Her bowel movements were purely liquid. She was poorly with it for almost a week, when she went in purely for investigation, and although she has special needs, was generally in good health.

I still cannot understand why, in a gastro-enterology ward, non-sterile syringes could just be dumped in a bowl for anyone to handle. And they were handled constantly.

Luckily she recovered after around a week, but it could have been much worse. What if the mother of the child with MRSA had not been as careful as she was?

My daughter now has a gastrostomy herself, and should we ever encounter that ward, or another with similar practices, again, I will take her out before she has the chance to catch anything more serious.

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