This post has been brewing for months, I’ve wanted to write it so many times but haven’t managed to. Then I was contacted last week and asked to share my family’s experience of the Portland Hospital, which was a rather nice coincidence.
I’ve written before about our eldest daughter’s eczema, food sensitivities and challenging behaviour. For almost five years our GP was un-supportive on this matter, advising to just keep her away from the foods that cause her problems, giving us the impression that there was nothing they could do about our situation. She has been on exclusion diets since she was two and a half, which has helped to a degree but hasn’t cleared the eczema up or stopped the violent outbursts. Then a chance encounter with a Health Visitor with a sympathetic ear last year finally got us a referral to see a Gastro-Paediatrician at our local hospital. A friend suggested seeing if hubby’s private medical insurance through work would speed things along a little, and we were fortunate enough to be able to use it.
Dr. Sonny Chong – a top consultant in this field – would perform a colonoscopy, an endoscopy and various other tests under general anesthetic at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children. They would check for Coeliacs, Chron’s, Colitis, gut allergies, and anything else that could possibly be irritating our daughter from the inside. I was able to liaise with Dr. Chong’s secretary over email to book our daughter in, and it took less than a fortnight from sending the first email to the procedures taking place.
I myself had terrible reflux as a child and various stomach complaints, which led to having major surgery at five and a half years old. I spent a lot of time in hospital during my early childhood. I can still smell the gas and remember the fear of ‘going under’, so as you can imagine I was understandably nervous for my girl. I needn’t have been though because The Portland took exceptionally good care of her. She really could not have been in safer hands.
For all her behavioural problems, our daughter who had just turned five, was an absolute superstar throughout. She was nil by mouth from 4pm on the Friday, and the procedures were performed around lunchtime on the Saturday. She and my husband arrived almost two hours beforehand, but from what I hear she enjoyed having her own room and TV to watch what she liked and didn’t get bored. I was texting hubby throughout and it sounded very relaxed – she wasn’t scared at all which was the main thing. She was in theatre for less than an hour, and had a couple of hours to recover in her room afterwards. They also gave her a gorgeous blue toy bunny for being so brave, which she has become very attached to over the months.
We were given some of the test results immediately and thankfully all the big bowel diseases were ruled out there and then. We had our follow up appointment with Dr. Chong about a month later and were told that she is not a coeliac, and she does not have any gut allergies either. Dr. Chong is a very thorough man, and wasn’t prepared to just leave it at that. He ordered another round of non-invasive tests to check for lactose, sucrose and fructose tolerance.
As all the tests so far have come back within normal range, Dr. Chong has advised that the next step will be to refer our daughter to a dermatologist to get some answers about her eczema. He said that her challenging behaviour could be linked to being in such discomfort from it all the time. Dr. Chong has taken our worries seriously and put our minds at ease every step of the way, and I honestly cannot fault him. Our next appointment is at the end of this week, and I have full faith that he’ll help us get to the bottom of what is going on with our troubled little girl.
“The Portland Hospital specialises in Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and is the UK’s largest private children’s hospital supported by a dedicated paediatric intensive care unit, over 60 paediatric beds and more than 120 consultant paediatric specialists. Our paediatric services complement our maternity and women’s health departments.
As the only fully private maternity hospital in the UK, The Portland Hospital places emphasis on safety and quality; with over 2,000 deliveries a year our ethos is to put women at the centre of their own care with the highest standards in healthcare quality and safety. We have a reputation for providing the highest quality treatment for patients supported by state-of-the art diagnostic facilities including MRI, CT and Interventional Radiology.”