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Monday, August 1, 2011

First Aid: Treating a Child's Head Injury

My excitement to hubby's return was curtailed by the endless downpour and by several mishaps at home. Good thing my husband's flight was not cancelled nor postponed and so he accompanied me and our little boy for a follow-up with the surgeon this morning.

Nothing serious now, but I was a worry wort for the entire week. You see, my little boy had an accident last week. I know how crazy boys can get, but I was simply caught off guard by this accident.

I have a younger sibling so since 1996, mom has taught us to child-proof our home. Child-proof would mean minimizing accidents at home, from scratches and falls to broken furnishings and appliances. Through the years, I've limited accumulating fragile furnishings and have deliberately put these lovely pieces out of a child's reach. There are only limited areas that have continued to worry me: the steep stairway and the kitchen. To give you a more vivid picture, our home almost looks like a library, except for the boys' toy collections.

We have books that teach the boys about safety:


And I also remind the nannies to always be watchful of my one year old son, who has the energy of a bull and the stamina of an athlete. Despite my necessary precautions, the little boy still met his accident. In his usual ploy, he fell and bumped his forehead on the edge of the bookshelf he was climbing. I heard the heavy thud and he cried very loudly as his nanny tried to pick him up. He was on a chair and was trying to climb the bookshelf. It seems he slipped on the chair and bumped his head before falling on the floor. I found him with his upper body on the floor and his feet still on the chair.

I lifted him and held him tight to comfort his pain. His left eyebrow was bleeding and I was praying that it was not a serious head injury. But even as I tried to calm him, I was too worried because of so much blood and the torn flesh was kind of open. I let one of the nannies to carry him while I dropped Povidone-Iodine on his wound. I asked for ice to put a cold compress on his left eyebrow. He was crying and kept on shoving the cold compress away. I asked one of the nannies to call our neighbor physician. I feel so fortunate living near two new doctors. Good thing she was home and upon seeing my little boy advised me to take him to the ER ASAP. She also told me to give him pain reliever to help my son with the pain. It was around 8:00 pm when we arrived at the Philippine Children's Hospital. The ER was full - all beds were occupied and even as I filled up the info sheet, new patients arrived. By this time, my son wouldn't let anyone near his wound.

Two MDs on duty interviewed me and both informed me that they need to refer to the resident surgeon's advice for treatment. I was told that there was only one surgeon on duty that night and he was still attending to other patients. By 11:30, the surgeon came. Dr. Lumapas informed me that my little boy's open wound had to be stitched. The wound was deep and open and could not be fixed with a tissue adhesive as earlier proposed by one of the ER doctors. Personally, I prefer a tissue adhesive to reduce the patient's pain and risk of infection. The little boy had gone to sleep so I braced myself for more crying when the surgeon starts the procedure.

In a few minutes, Dr. Lumapas and a nurse was ready. I laid my boy to the prepared stretcher and the nurse wrapped him in a sheet (swaddle was more like it). He budged but slept on. I had to keep his body from moving while the nurse held his head. First, the surgeon gave the local anesthesia; Then, the two stitches. My son started crying as soon as he felt the needle and saw unfamiliar faces interchanging under a bright light. Relieved that it's almost over, I carried him and tried to put him to sleep. I think he was very cautious afterwards. He waited until the wee hours before he finally closed his eyes.


The following day, I washed the wound and immediately cleaned it with Povidone afterwards. To counter infection, my one year old was prescribed to take antibiotics and Paracetamol, only to be taken if needed for the pain.
Prescribed medicine
This morning when Dr. Lumapas called on us so he can remove my son's sutures, the little boy immediately took his stand saying, "No, no, no!" He refused to be carried and resorted to thumb-sucking as my husband carried him. No matter what we say to soothe or bribe him, he struggled to keep the doctor away. Poor thing.

With my son's experience, I think it is important for parents to help young children cope and avoid traumatic experiences in the hospital. Because doctors should be our partners in health, I believe that parents should not scare children with negative impressions of going to the hospital or visiting the doctor. We've tried to do this at home but others do not recognize its impact and still get away with it. I usually hear guardians tell stories about  the policeman or the mumu who gets naughty children and the doctor who gives mischievous kids an injection. These stories will not help my son build trust with his doctor.

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4 comments:

Awww! be careful bebi tomas! i miss you! hehe..
ps: alam na ba ito ni instant daddy flow? hehe

Mee-i/Mekinudols

di bale tomas gagaling din yan, at cute ka pa din. dalhin mo na lang si tomas dito ate leng, ako bantay! :)

Yay, Mee-i and May! Thank you for dropping by and for your concern :) Di pa alam ni daddy flow..di pako nag post ng update sa facebook...isusunod ko na..

I hope that your child is alright, accidents are really unavoidable. Thank you very much.
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