I am Kathy Gallagher, the pediatrician on this trip. I am especially grateful for the opportunity I have as a pediatrician to visit our patients and families on the wards. My job is to write admission and discharge orders, dispense medications, and check on “our kids.”
Often in the surgery and recovery areas, the children are frightened or uncomfortable, although they may put on a brave face. By the time they are settled in the ward, the smiles and chatter really blossom… and the fun begins!
It is wonderful to see the sense of community on the wards – everyone cares for everyone else. Forget privacy! If we are answering questions or giving instructions to one family, several tiers of other patients and families gather, deeply interested, and ready to offer advice and assistance. Yesterday, I came into the ward to see one mother helping another learn to feed her child with a dropper after cleft lip surgery. Another time, we found a patient not in his bed, and a neighbor was able to tell us where the family was and if there were any problems. And if one family has trouble wrestling the child-proof caps, another comes over to help every time.