My proudest NHS moment: when we referred a very poorly baby who it turned out had leukaemia

25 Jun 2018

My proudest moment so far is when we referred a very poorly baby who it turned out had leukaemia. Baby and mum came into the pharmacy one Wednesday afternoon, when I was just a few months into my pre-reg year.

Mum was very distressed and even before I spoke to her I could see baby was a pale and yellowish colour. When I took a closer look I could see he was struggling to breathe and was very cold to the touch. The poor mite was trying to hide from the light and was very agitated and stiff. I was concerned it might be sepsis or meningitis. The supervising pharmacist shared my concerns and after we discovered mum had no transport we called an ambulance. About 45 minutes later the ambulance still hadn’t arrived, but dad had, so we encouraged them to drive themselves. We checked in with Luton and Dunstable Hospital later and were told the baby was stable and on an antibiotic IV. We heard about the leukaemia diagnosis later still but we’re told the prognosis is good. The grandparents even popped in a few days later to thank us. Who knows what would have happened if we weren’t there to help that baby that day, I’m just glad we were. Getting positive feedback is great but being able to support a severely ill baby and his family is its own reward and why we do the job.

Author: Pantea Shahiri, a pre-registration pharmacist at Manor Pharmacy, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire.