"I would really appreciate some guidance"

About: Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital / Trauma and Orthopaedics

(as a parent/guardian),

My child had an operation at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. It was knee surgery that involved putting metal plates on his knee and cutting his hamstrings. He was given a spinal block for pain relief - which really seemed to help. When the spinal block wore off he was given other pain relief drugs.

He was prescribed pain relief 4 times a day and other pain relief drugs as required.

This situation is made complicated by several difficulties my child facies.

My child's other parent and I – we have different views on pain medication.

The child's other parent felt that the child didn’t need his pain medication, so only gave him less than 1 eighth of the recommended dose of pain relief, less than one third of one of the others – even after it was explained that this helps with the healing process– he was worried that giving him the recommended dose would be over medicating him – he did note that the little boy was in pain but might have been making more of a fuss than he needed to. 

My perspective was that he was a vulnerable little boy, who may not be able to clearly understand and communicate his pain, I did not think the doctor would have prescribed an amount that would have caused long term damage.

My question comes here, a nurse supported the other parents decision not to give anywhere near the proper dose of painkiller. Less than two weeks after the operation he stopped giving pain relief altogether.

This is an ethical question – in this situation what should a nurse do – and what should guide their decision? I would really appreciate some guidance or where I might get that guidance from.

Thank you

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Response from Janice Bradfield, Senior Communications and Membership Manager, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Parent

We are concerned to hear your feedback and would like to put you in touch with our matron to support you and talk about the issues in more detail. Please get in touch with our Patient Advice and Liaison Team in the first instance on pals@nnuh.nhs.uk

Kind regards


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Update posted by goldfishinabowl (a parent/guardian)

Dear Janice,

I did contact PALS and got a response from the consultant - which unfortunately has added to my concern - she talked about my little boy being involved in a trial - something which neither myself or my ex partner have any knowledge about. I did not find PALS useful, I am really concerned about this situation, it has been over 2 months since my little boy had the operation and he has not recovered to his pre-operation mobility, there seems to be no confidence that this operation will help him walk - I am really concerned that they want to do this operation on his twin brother - I am worried a little boy who already has social and emotional difficulties might be put through an operation where we have no idea if it will add to his functional ability - I really would like to be heard

Thank you