Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Need For Awareness

The need for greater awareness in the medical community - Explain a situation where a clinician didn't understand tube feeding and what was the impact. (The goal here is to point out that awareness is needed among all audiences. Certainly there are clinicians who are well versed and expert in this area, however, there is a need for basic knowledge among a wider range of medical professionals)

I want to start this post by stating that we live in a pretty remote area. Our local hospital does what it can but awareness and education is certainly needed in all areas in pediatrics. We are very rarely able to go to our local hospital, even in an emergency when it comes to Owen because we know it will take longer to educate the docter then to just drive the 3-4 hours to Oakland. I have complete faith, with enough time, our hospital will come to know more about Owen's medical needs and be able to handle more and more emergencies.

With that said, here are a couple stories which prove there is a huge need for awareness.
Here is the scene: Owen is 10 months old. He had been home for only 2months and we were still very nervous when it came to taking care of all of Owen's medical needs. He was home on continuous tube feedings through an NG tube (feeding tube that goes from the nasal to the stomach). Owen was having trouble breathing and we decided to take him to the ER in our hometown to see what was going on. They called us into the triage room. We get into the triage room and the RN starts to ask about Owen's medical history. She looked at his NG tube and said, "Is that oxygen?" She was completely serious! I was shocked! This being the first encounter with this emergency room and Owen, it did not instill confidence that they would be able to help us in any way. I could maybe understand that she had never seen an NG tube in a baby, but oxygen? Oxygen every RN should be able to recognize. Here is a pic of Owen with a NG tube and Owen with oxygen.
To me, the difference is pretty clear

The next story happened after I was more aware of what our hospital could and could not do so I was more prepared for the situation.
Here's the scene: Owen was about 15months old. He had recently had his g-tube surgery. We brought him home from the surgery and everything was going great. At the time he was still crawling and we were pushing a pole with his feeding pump and bag on it. Well, he was crrawling and crawled too far from his pole before I could get to him and his g-tube popped out. Because it was placed not long before that, the hole started bleeding. Although Owen's GI doctor showed us how to replace the g-tube before the surgery, we were nervous because it was so soon after surgery. So, we decided to go to the emergency room just to make sure everything would be ok when it was put back in. We get into the ER and they put us in a room. The doctor came in before the nurse told him what happened and he said, "what's that?" pointing at the g-tube. It made my heart beat faster. There we were - scared parents and looking for someone to tell us everything looked ok and he didn't even know what it was. We brought the box the g-tube (mic-key button) comes in so the doctor asked if there was something in the box he could read. That's when Heath and I told him that we knew how to put the tube back in but we wanted to make sure that the opening was ok because it started bleeding a lot when the tube came out. So, the doctor watched Heath put it back in and then they did an x-ray to make sure everything was ok. We were glad that the doctor learned about a mic-key button and was able to see us do it. We just wish we didn't rush to a hospital that didn't do much to calm our fears.

Awareness is important. I hope that Feeding Tube Awareness week continuous to educate people about feeding tubes and that more and more people are comfortable with them, even in the medical field.


  1. Ok seriously! Those stories freak me out. I cannot believe it.

  2. How is Owen? I've been worried about him. Praying all is going well for your family.