My year currently has Pediatrics postings at the Polish-American Children’s Hospital in Krakow. and I have learned so much more than I thought I would. I enjoy every minute of it even though I have to be up at 6am every morning just to get ready and travel there. It’s such a great experience.
At the same time, it’s so difficult to be in that hospital. It’s one of the best paeds hospitals in Poland, and we receive some of the saddest cases. Yesterday, my group was shown a CT of an 11-year-old girl whose entire chest cavity was filled with cancerous nodules. Her liver, lungs, kidneys – all ravaged by cancer. Prognosis: 5-10% chance of survival.
Today, it was a 3-day-old newborn with Patau Syndrome. He had congenital heart defects, kidney failure, respiratory failure, the typical polydactyly (extra toes and fingers), low set ears. And he was expected to die later today. Seeing his parents and grandmother come in and decide to stop treatment was, well, horrible. But that was the best course of action to take.
It’s so heartbreaking. I can scarcely imagine what the children’s families must feel. And that’s just a tiny portion of some of the kids we see.
Sure, there are happy cases too, but it’s just. Those kids are so young, so precious. And they’ve had more needles in them than I’ve ever had in my 21-odd years.
I simply can’t put into words what I feel. What I can express is how thankful I am to have what I have, I suppose. Things we take for granted much too often.