How does a busy children’s A&E department cope with the Christmas calamities coming through its doors? When the festivities hit town, and the stress levels soar…what injuries do the dedicated team have to deal with?
We rigged Sheffield Children’s hospital accident and emergency department with an array of cameras, to capture life in casualty over Christmas.
From broken bones and nasty cuts to bumps and sickness, you’ll be amazed at what our children fall foul to over Christmas! But the doctors and nurses are on hand to put them back together, and even Santa himself pays a visit!
Tune in – Channel 5, Wednesday 12th December 2018 at 8pm
We snatched five minutes with one of the stars of the show, Dr Deirdre O’Donnell
Paediatric Emergency Consultant to do a short Q&A:
1. Working on Christmas Day can’t be much fun can it? We can’t imagine anyone wanting to be in hospital on Christmas day! What do you do to make it fun & keep your spirits up?
I quite like working Christmas as there is a warm friendly atmosphere throughout the whole hospital, due to all the lights, decorations and events like carol singing and Father Christmas and his wife visiting. Everyone is super-supportive of each other because we all feel sorry for ourselves not being home for Christmas but we know somebody has to be here to look after the children and we usually rotate who ends up working important holidays so it evens out over the years.
We also feel extra empathy for kids and parents who have to spend Christmas in hospital away from their family and friends. Christmas eve and Christmas day are usually, but not always, a bit quieter than other days of the winter so we get to spend a bit more time having fun and chatting with our patients and families.
We keep up staff spirits by having lots of music around all the time, dressing up with Santa hats and elf ears and so on and the senior doctors donate a big buffet for all the staff working on Christmas day and New Years. Lots of organisations and charities donate gifts that we can give out to kids who come to the department which is really fun.
2. What was it like having a film crew follow you around on Christmas day? It was a bit weird being watched, although I found it a bit like being shadowed by a medical student – who we often have in the dept – as you have to explain everything that is going on and why you are doing what you are doing. I tend to explain a lot of medical thinking and terminology to patients and their families anyway, so it wasn’t that different to a normal day. Some of the nurses are very shy and hid away whenever they wanted to chat to each other and they weren’t sure how relaxed they could be in the tearooms with the cameras and mics in there. It was interesting to see how keen some parents and kids were to be filmed. I guess they must enjoy watching all this sort of hospital reality shows on TV. Most nurses and doctors I know avoid that sort of telly – it’s a bit too like being at work and you end up shouting at the TV!
3. What’s the most ridiculous kids Christmas injury / accident you’ve seen? This season we have already had a child in who has swallowed the top of a Christmas bauble. A 7 yr old came in with severe abdominal pain, suspected of having appendicitis, a couple of hours later he had a giant fart and felt completely better! – might have been Brussel sprout related or the fact he’d eaten nothing but chocolate all day.
I have seen a 4 yr old who had put tiny pink plastic Barbie shoes in her ears. When I asked ‘how did that get in there???’ She very proudly grinned ‘I just shoved it in!’ When I found the other one in her other ear and exclaimed ‘well how did That one get in There?’ she declared ‘well I just shoved that in too!’
4. If you’re working on Christmas day when do you have your Christmas dinner and open your presents? My family live very far away so sometimes my Christmas dinner and presents don’t happen til the 27th or 28th. At work we split the working day into 8-5pm and 4pm-midnight, so if I am on the early I will open one present at breakfast before I go in and then have turkey and all the trimmings in the evening and open my other presents and watch all the Christmas telly. If I am on the late, I tend to have a big fancy brunch before I start and have lots of party food and snacks at work. I cannot resist a pig in a blanket, or a mince pie!
5. If you’ve got your own kids is it hard to be away from them on Christmas day?
Colleagues with small kids tend to come to work for peace and quiet after the madness of a typical Christmas day! Those of us without kids tend to take the shifts when parents would rather be at home with the kids, like Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day morning, for Father Christmas coming, and all the present opening and going to church. Coming to work is a very good excuse to not have to do the washing up or clearing all the wrapping paper. Boxing Day is usually one of the craziest days of the year in the Emergency Dept so we need to reserve our energy for that.