Seeing double by liwenting



                                                      Home alone?
                                                   Helping new parents cope
                                                      with premature babies

                                                            Why caring with
                                                            dignity matters

double                                                          WIN
Amazing facts we                                               LOVETS
learn from twins                                               SHIRE 6

                        Welcome                                NEWS
                    Acts of kindness
                     matter. The driver                       3 News from Guy’s and
                      who stops to let a                        St Thomas’
                       mother and toddler                     Baby born free of killer disease, robot
                       across a busy road,                    surgery, Wire star Dominic West lends
                      the teenager who                        his support to our charity concert and
                     holds a supermarket                      much, much more.
                   door open for the
                person behind and the
           shopper who lets an elderly
woman with two items go ahead at the                                                                                                        N
checkout – all make the world seem a
better, friendlier place.
                                                              8 Showing we care                                                           FI LY
                                                              Patients tell us about staff who go
  The lesson we can take from this is
                                                              the extra mile.
                                                                                                                                           SH GE 6
simple: treat others as we want to be

treated. Read more on page 8.
  As someone who cannot get through                           10 Secrets of our genes
the morning without several cups of                           What scientists are learning about              6 Competition
strong coffee, I was intrigued to learn
that my caffeine habit may owe much
to my genes. See more on page 10.
                                                              nature vs nurture from twins.

                                                              12 About a boy
                                                                                                              Win shirts to spruce up your
                                                                                                              weekday wardrobe.

  Finally, we have more true life tales                       Andrew Kerry tells us why he won’t let          13 My job
from patients: twins, mothers with                            his heart condition hold him back.              Adetokunbo Fayemi tells us
premature babies and Andrew Kerry,                                                                            why he enjoys being a customer
an ordinary teenager living with an
out of the ordinary condition.
                                                              14 Baby love                                    care supervisor in St Thomas’
                                                              How we help families with premature             maternity unit.
  I hope you find them as inspiring
as I do.                                                      babies cope when they leave hospital.
Linda Steele
                                                                                                              15 Check up
Editor                                                                                                        We shed light on swine flu, childhood
                                                               REGULARS                                       eczema and bleeding disorders.
    For jobs at Guy’s and St Thomas’, ring
    our recruitment centre on 020 7188 0044                   6 Southsider                                    16 Last word
    or visit                          Ellen Lebethe tells us why she’s happy          End measles: why vaccinations
    To volunteer, ring the voluntary                          to be south of the river.                       will put a stop to suffering.
    services department on 020 7188 0055
    or visit

                                                                 Members                                                                          7
    is a community magazine published by                                                              MICHAEL CRAFT tells us
    Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
    Editor: Linda Steele                                                                              why getting involved is
    Additional material: Malcolm Bennie,
    Gemma Peers, Daniel Spiers,
    Andrea Ttofa and Emily Wadhams
    Front cover photography: Nathan Clarke
                                                                                                      PLUS: all the fun of the health fair.
    Additional photography by:
    Justin Grainge, Gemma Peers, Linda Steele
    and Emily Wadhams.
    Some photos may be digitally enhanced                                                                       Find out about
    Design: Engage Group
    Printing: Space Matters
                                                                                                                becoming a member:
                                                                                                      call 0845 143 4017
    South of the River is printed on 75% recycled paper,                                              visit
    which is Forest Stewardship Council certified.

                 South of the River is also available online at:
                 If you have any comments about South of the River, please contact the editor at South of the River, Communications Department, St Thomas’
                 Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH. South of the River goes to all our foundation trust members. People living and working
                 in Lambeth and Southwark can also pick a copy up at many local venues, including GP surgeries, community centres and libraries.

2     South of the River Autumn 09

                                                                                                                       NEWS IN BRIEF

Family freed from fatal                                                                                                Kids’ stories on stage

disease by embryo test
                                                                                                                       Children from the Evelina
                                                                                                                       Hospital School have helped
                                                                                                                       to create a piece of
                                                                                                                       professional theatre.
                                                                                                                       Nine pupils,

                                                     Photo: The Sun
A baby boy is the first child to be born in the
UK free from a life-threatening, inherited skin                                                                        who attend
disease thanks to embryo testing.                                                                                      the hospital’s
   James Harrison was born without                                                                                     dialysis unit,
epidermolysis bullosa (EB) after his parents’                                                                          worked with a
embryos were checked at Guy’s centre for                                                                               director to create
preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Emma and                                                                            stories, poems,
Lee Harrison had already had a son, Adam, who                                                                          art work and music.
died from EB when he was nine months old.                                                                              These were turned
   The disease causes the skin and internal                                                                            into For the Best, which was
body linings to blister at the slightest knock                                                                         performed at the Unicorn
or rub, causing painful, open wounds. Adam                                                                             Theatre near Guy’s Hospital.
suffered from a severe form of the disease –

only a few patients survive beyond their second
or third birthday.
   Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is
available to couples who are at risk of having
a child with certain inherited disorders. It
                                                                               Baby bliss: Lee, Emma and James
prevents the birth of an affected child by testing
an embryo before it is implanted in the womb.                         his dressing. We had to give him morphine and
   “PGD is a wonderful process,” said Lee.                            feeding was horrendous, too, because of the      Blind access
“It gives people like Emma and me a chance                            blistering on his insides.”                      Former ITV and Five
to have kids when normally we wouldn’t feel                              Consultant nurse Alison Lashwood said:        newscaster John Suchet
able to.”                                                             “As PGD develops, we can increase the            has opened an ‘access
   He added that Adam “was in such pain and                           number of serious genetic conditions that        technology’ service at
his skin would come off every time we changed                         can be diagnosed.”                               St Thomas’ low vision clinic.
                                                                                                                       Visually impaired people can
                                                                                                                       try equipment and software
 Pharmacy                                                                                                              to help them use computers
                                   Guy’s leads the way                                                                 and the internet thanks to
                                                                                                                       a partnership between the
                                                                                                                       Royal London Society for
                                   in advanced robotics                                                                the Blind and the hospital.

                                                                                                                       Racing a smile
                                   Guy’s has fast forwarded to                        urologist who led the
                                                                                                                       A cancer doctor is racing in
                                   the future, as state-of-the-art                    surgery. “It’s a complex
                                                                                                                       a moto-rickshaw from Peru
                                   robots are increasingly used                       operation involving a tiny
                                                                                                                       to Paraguay for a charity that
                                   throughout the hospital.                           incision rather than a
                                                                                                                       operates on children
                                      The urology department –                        large cut, so patients
                                                                                                                       with deformed faces
                                   the leading centre for robotic                     recover quicker and can
                                                                                                                       in developing
                                   surgery in the UK – has                            go home earlier.
                                                                                                                       countries. Simon
                                   performed the first operation                          “The robot’s dexterity and
                                                                                                                       Hughes said he
                                   in Europe using an advanced                        range of motion is far greater
                                                                                                                       hoped to raise
                                   robot that offers 3D high-                         than the human hand, giving
                                                                                                                       over £3,000 for
                                   definition, giving surgeons an                      unparalleled precision.”
                                                                                                                       Operation Smile,
                                   outstanding view.                                     Guy’s pharmacy also
                                                                                                                       which improves the
                                      An international surgical                       has a new addition to its
 Robot                                                                                                                 lives of young people
                                   team used a new £2m                                team: it has three heads,
 surgery                                                                                                               whose deformities can
                                   da Vinci Si robot to remove                        stands three metres tall
                                                                                                                       interfere with eating,
                                   a fast-growing tumour from                         and works 24 hours a day.
                                                                                                                       drinking and speaking.
                                   a 48-year-old prostate                             It’s a £260,000 robot that
                                                                                                                       To sponsor Simon, visit
                                   cancer patient.                                    picks and packs drugs. Staff
                                      “Robot surgery benefits                          can now spend less time
                                                                                                                       bondrickshaws and follow
                                   patients greatly,” said Declan                     stacking shelves and more
                                                                                                                       the race at
                                   Murphy, the consultant                             time with patients.

                                                                                                                         Autumn 09 South of the River 3


Dizzy clinic is quick
A one-stop clinic is helping
people suffering from
dizziness get treated quickly.
Patients are seen by both
a physiotherapist and
audiologist, who then decide
within a week on treatment
with an ear, nose and throat
doctor. Dizziness caused by
inner ear problems affects
                                                                                                                                           Close up: Anita shows
around 1,000 people locally
                                                                                                                                               off her surgeon’s
each year.
                                                                                                                                             magnifying glasses

Winning nurse
A nurse who works with
children who have had
transplants is the subject of a
prize-winning essay. Grainne
                                                                       Cutting edge television
Walsh “puts a smile on my                                              Two doctors at Guy’s and St Thomas’              while Smitesh has been filmed in
face, whatever mood I’m in,”                                           are the stars of a new ITV series, Surgery       orthopaedics and vascular surgery.
wrote 17-year-old Lauren                                               School. The programme follows the                  “It has been very interesting being
Harris in this year’s Transplant                                       doctors in their first year of specialist         involved with the filming, although it did
Nurses Day international                                               training as they work towards becoming           take a while to get used to being in front
essay competition.                                                     surgeons.                                        of the cameras,” said Smitesh. “I hope the
                                                                         Anita Mohan and Smitesh Patel have             programme will give an insight to people
Radio’s one                                                            been shadowed by a camera crew from              at home about the work surgeons do.
                                                                       Tiger Aspect Productions for the last six          “It will be strange watching myself on
Radio Lollipop at the Evelina                                          months, from their first cut under the            television but my family is really looking
      Children’s Hospital                                              watchful eye of the consultants through          forward to it. I think they’re planning on
         celebrated its first                                           stints in different areas of surgery.            having a screening party.”
           birthday with a                                               Much of the filming with Anita focuses                The programme will be shown over three
            party for patients,                                        on her time in breast and plastic surgery,             weeks on ITV1.
            parents and
            staff. The charity
            radio station
           was launched
        last year by singer
                                                                                          Wired for
     Alesha Dixon.
Balloons stop pain                                                                         Dominic West, star of
Tiny balloons are being                                                                    gritty US cop drama
used to relieve headaches                                                                  The Wire, will be among
caused by blocked, infected                                                                celebrities reading at a
sinuses. Ear, nose and throat                                                              carol concert at Southwark
(ENT) surgeons at Guy’s and                                                                Cathedral on 14 December
                                   Photo: C Contino/BEI/Rex Features

St Thomas’ are among the                                                                   in aid of Guy’s and          Pensioner power: participants listen to
first to offer a new technique                                                              St Thomas’ hospitals.        speakers at the Better care, better health
called Balloon Sinuplasty.                                                                    Tickets are £20 (or £15   conference, held by Lambeth Pensioners
The surgery involves inflating                                                              for a limited number of      Action Group (LAMPAG) at St Thomas’.
a tiny balloon in the patient’s                                                            Guy’s and St Thomas’         Stroke, end of life care, and changes in
nose under local anaesthetic.                                                              NHS Foundation Trust         health and social care were covered. “This
Sinuses are the air spaces                                                                 members on a first come,      conference gives people an opportunity to
behind bones between the                                                                   first served basis).          talk about health issues that affect them
eyes and behind the forehead,                                              Contact Aysha Awan on 020 7188 6295          and their families,” said LAMPAG chair
nose and cheeks.                                                           or email       Ellen Lebethe.

4   South of the River Autumn 09

Stars line up for calendar                                                                             NEWS IN NUMBERS

The Sugababes and TV’s Gok
Wan are among celebrities
                                   calendar are singers Seal
                                   and Julian Lennon, actor
                                                                   protecting the person from
                                                                   illness – has no cure. Jasmine
                                                                                                       people a year visit, phone
posing for a charity calendar      Blair Underwood from E4’s       takes medication twice a day        or email the patient
to raise funds for lupus after     Dirty Sexy Money, Eastenders    to alleviate symptoms. “I can’t     information team. Based
being contacted by a teenage       actor Nitin Ganatra, the cast   let it stop my life,” she said.     at the Knowledge &
girl with the disease.             of The Bill, GMTV presenter     “It’s been great to have the        Information Centre (KIC) at
  Fourteen-year-old Jasmine        Andrew Castle and former        calendar to concentrate on.”                   ,
                                                                                                       St Thomas’ the team offers
Guerrero wrote to the girl         Eternal singer Kéllé Bryan,                                         information about health
                                                                          To buy a calendar
group and the celebrity stylist    who is a patron of the trust.          (small: £3.99, large £4.99
                                                                                                       services and volunteering
on behalf of the St Thomas’          Lupus – where the body’s      inc p&p), ring St Thomas’ Lupus     at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
Lupus Trust. Other stars who       immune system attacks           Trust on 020 7188 3562.

have agreed to be in the 2010      healthy cells instead of        More on lupus:

                                                                                                       tonnes of
                                                                                                       carbon dioxide
                                                                                                       (CO2) were
                                                                                                       saved during a
                                                                                                       ‘switch off’ day
                                                                                                       at the two hospitals.
                                                                                                       Staff switched off lights,
                                                                                                       computers and other
                                                                                                       electrical equipment when
                                                                                                       not in use. The average
                                                                                                       household emits 6 tonnes
                                                                                                       of global warming gas CO2
                                                                                                       a year.

 Star date: Sugababe
 Keisha Buchanan,
 Jasmine and Kéllé

 Penny strictly comes clowning
 Penny Lancaster-Stewart,
                                                                                                       Iraqi doctors have spent six
                                                                                                       weeks seeing how medics
 model and star of Strictly                                                                            at Guy’s and St Thomas’
 Come Dancing, visited                                                                                 work. “It has been a very
 patients at the Evelina                                                                               useful experience,” said
 Children’s Hospital to find                                                                            visiting doctor Afrah Salih.
 out how clown doctors are                                                                             They would put things they
 keeping them entertained.                                                                             had learned, such as ways
    She met Dr Dovetail, a                                                                             of controlling infection, into
 clown doctor with a tomato                                                                            practice back home, he said.
 for a nose and a pink and
 purple lab coat, who amused
 the kids with jokes and
 balloon models.
    After the visit, Penny said:
 “It was a privilege to meet the
                                                                                                       staff have so far
                                                                                                       volunteered to be dignity
 children and to see first hand                                                                         champions. Dignity
 how the clown doctor can light       Penny is a patron of the               Clowning around:          champions ensure
 up the room and make them          Capital Radio Help a London              Penny and Dr              that patients and their
 and their parents laugh at         Child charity that funds the             Dovetail meet             families are cared for with
 what must be a worrying time       clown doctors through the                patient Rebecca           compassion and respect,
 for them.”                         Theodora Children’s Trust.               Cavanagh                  wherever they are treated.

                                                                                                         Autumn 09 South of the River 5
SOUTHSIDER                                             COMPETITION

    Ellen Lebethe                                     WIN a shirt for every
    Pensioner activist and                            day of the working week
    retired teacher Ellen tells
    us why she loves being
    south of the river
    What do you like best about the area?
    We need to value and celebrate the diversity
    of south London. This is multicultural
    London: a slice of the world in one place.
    I love the sights, the sounds, the characters
    and the vibrancy. It is home from home. I was
    born in South Africa – the rainbow nation.
    What’s your favourite place?
    I love walking along the Thames from
    Vauxhall Bridge to the Tower of London.
    Where do you go out?
    I particularly like the Royal Festival Hall.
    What are your favourite places to eat             Spruce up your wardrobe by
          and drink?
               La Rueda restaurant on                 winning five shirts in our free competition

                  Clapham High Street for
                    its Spanish cuisine and                    re your clothes looking a little tired? What better way to smarten
                      ambience.                                up than with a shopping spree for gorgeous shirts – without
                                                               having to pay a penny! We have fi ve vouchers for men’s or
                            What’s your favourite              women’s shirts from clothing retailer TM Lewin to give away to
                            pastime?                  the lucky winner of our competition. For your chance to win, simply answer
                            I enjoy going around      the following question:
                            the markets in the

                                                                                                                                                                                              CUT OUT AND POST
                                                       Twin researchers have found that regular exercise – at
                             How do you relax?         least 30 minutes, five times a week – slows the ageing
                            By pottering in my         process. Is this statement true or false? (See page 10.)
                         little garden.
                                                       Answer: .....................................................................................................................
                    What do you do to keep
                healthy?                               Name: ........................................................................................................................
       I walk with the Ramblers and go to
    exercise classes. I also dance with a quadrille    Address: ....................................................................................................................
    group, The Proteas.
    What’s your greatest achievement                   ....................................................................................................................................
    since coming to south London?
    Becoming the chair of LAMPAG, the                  ................................................................... Tel: ..........................................................
    Lambeth Pensioners Action Group, and
    representing the group at various meetings         Email: .........................................................................................................................
    and during campaigns.
                                                       Send your entries to:
    What would you change?                             Shirt competition, South of the River, Communications Department, 4th floor, Block C,
    I’d remove the unsightly graffiti and               South Wing, St Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7EH or email the
    limit the number of takeaway outlets,              answer and your details (name, address, tel no) to
    which encourage unhealthy eating and               Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust may in the future contact you in relation to our
    generate rubbish.                                  publications. If you would prefer NOT to be contacted, please tick here or tell us in your email. Please
                                                       note that, whether or not you tick the box, we will NOT share your details with external organisations.
    What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
                                                       Closing date: 23 October 2009
    Rewarding myself with a well earned gin
    and tonic after a hard day.                       The winner will be the first correct answer drawn at random by a member of Guy’s and St
                                                      Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust staff. The result will be final and we will not enter into any
                                                      correspondence regarding the competition or the winners.

6     South of the River Autumn 09
News for members of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Taking                                                                                               St Thomas’
control                                                                                              autumn
                                                                                                     health fair
                                                                                                     Tuesday 17 November 2009,
‘Get active’ is                                                                                      3.30pm till 7pm

Michael Craft’s                                                                                      As nights draw in and
                                                                                                     temperatures fall, we’re all
message. Linda                                                                                       tempted to huddle up on the
                                                                                                     sofa, watching TV and eating
Steele listens                                                                                       takeaways. But this autumn,
                                                                                                     why not prepare yourself

                                                                                                     for the winter months ahead
     nvolvement is a word                                                                            by finding out how you can
     that falls frequently from                                                                      stay healthy?
     Michael Craft’s lips. This                                                                         St Thomas’ is holding a
     Guy’s and St Thomas’                                                                            health fair, where you can
NHS Foundation Trust                                                                                 have fun while picking up
governor is passionate                                                                               tips on getting fit, including
about ordinary people having                                                                         improving your diet and
a say and being active in                                                                            stopping smoking.
their own wellbeing.                                                                                        More information at
    “The more people are                                                                                    www.guysandstthomas.
involved, the more they                                                                           
can look after themselves,
which leads to
empowerment,” he argues.
“By empowerment, I mean
having a sense that
you have the power to
make changes.”
    And there are many areas
where change is needed.           ‘We need to fly less, drive less,
“Obesity, for example, is
becoming a major problem          grow our own food, and learn
for the NHS, as it causes
ill health and complicates        to eat and live more healthily’
other conditions,” he says.
    But the biggest challenge
to health worldwide is climate
change, he says. “Britain’s
                                  and the money to afford
                                  decent housing.
                                     One way to get more
                                                                    able to care for her child
                                                                    after discharge.”
                                                                      But this is not just a
                                                                                                      Want to
already had freak floods
and there will be more,
                                  control, Michael believes,
                                  is to become involved – for
                                                                    matter of patients and local
                                                                    communities learning about        JOIN us?
with problems over access         instance, by becoming a           good health. It’s a two-way
to clean water, as well as        foundation trust member.          street. Gone are the days         Local people,
new infections and tropical       “At members’ seminars,            when people accepted              patients, former
diseases. We need to fly less,     you can learn about diseases      without question                  patients and staff
drive less, grow our own          and healthy living, which can     the word of the doctor.           make up the 17,000+
food, and learn to eat and        help you make changes for         Now, hospital staff are           members of Guy’s
live more healthily.”             the better.”                      happy to discuss the care         and St Thomas’ NHS
    However, Michael wants           As a governor representing     and treatment with their          Foundation Trust.
to avoid blaming individuals.     patients, he has spent time       patients and listen to their
A former public health            speaking to parents in the        questions – and that’s a good             To find out
worker, he knows that factors     intensive care unit of the        thing, says Michael.                      about the
affecting people’s health         Evelina Children’s Hospital.        The more staff listen to the     Council of Governors or
are often out of their control.   “A single parent had been         experiences of patients and        becoming a member, call
                                                                                                       0845 143 4017, email
People who are unemployed         there for four months, involved   the more patients, members
or poor, he points out, are       in the care of her child          and governors have a say, he       or visit www.guysand
more likely to be ill than        alongside nurses. She had         believes, the better the NHS
those with fulfilling careers      become an expert and better       will become. ● ● ●

                                                                                                       Autumn 09 South of the River 7

we care
Dignity and compassion in care matter.
Linda Steele hears why from patients

          am Gallop CBE knows a          Audiologist Diveen Nanda has
          thing or two about being    gone out of her way to make sure
          a patient. A fighter pilot   that Sam’s time at the hospital is
          in the second world war,    comfortable, dignified and useful.
he suffered third degree burns,       When problems arose with his
facial injuries, a crushed spine,     hearing aid, she carried out a
the loss of a finger and two                                      ,
                                      “thorough examination” explained
broken arms. Both his legs had        clearly what she was doing and
to be amputated.                      even stayed late, despite having a
   To add insult to injury, the       long journey home, says Sam.
aircraft engines made an ear-            “She transformed my hearing,”
splitting din that affected many      he says. “I don’t feel like a patient,
pilots’ hearing. Sam now wears        I feel like a friend.”
hearing aids and attends                 Diveen points out: “I feel it is
Guy’s audiology department            important to treat patients the
for check ups.                        way I would want to be treated.”
   Despite his terrible injuries,     This attitude chimes with a new
he exudes a positive attitude         initiative at Guy’s and St Thomas’   .
and genteel charm. “It would be       Showing we care is a reminder, for
nice to have my legs back but I’m     staff and patients alike, that the
not sad about it,” he muses. “Not     excellent clinical treatments on                         not talking over patients as if they
as long as I’ve got good medical      offer at the hospitals are crucial –                     weren’t there.
care.” And the care he receives at    but not enough.                                             “We don’t always get it right,
Guy’s Hospital is second to none,        Sometimes it’s the little things      Hearing         – and we all need to listen to
he says.                              that matter, such as holding open        aid: Diveen     patients and think about the ways
   “The staff here are so caring,     a door. Sometimes, it’s the bigger       ‘transformed’   we care for them,” says chief nurse
so effective,” Sam explains.          issues that count, such as staff         Sam’s hearing   Eileen Sills. “We are determined
                                                                                               that patients who come to our
                                                                                               hospitals should not only get the
    ‘I don’t                                                                                   very best treatment but also be
                                                                                               treated in the very best way:
    feel like                                                                                  as individuals and with dignity
                                                                                               and compassion.”
    a patient,                                                                                    Such ideals are lived out every
                                                                                               day on Nightingale ward, says
    I feel like                                                                                former patient Mariana Olivier.
                                                                                               Arriving at St Thomas’ A&E in
    a friend’                                                                                  severe pain because of gallstones,
                                                                                               Mariana was transferred to the
    Sam Gallop,                                                                                ward after midnight. Despite the
    patient                                                                                    hour, staff took time to settle her
                                                                                               “gently, quietly and reassuringly –
                                                                                               it was impressive,” she says.
                                                                                                  The next day, wanting a bath and
                                                                                               “amazed by how sparkling clean

8    South of the River Autumn 09
                                                                         the pain
                                                                         Sickle cell disease is a particularly nasty, inherited
                                          ‘I’m treated                   condition, causing pain and threatening organ
                                                                         damage. Miriam Kabia knows just how unpleasant
                                          with respect’                  it can be. “I take a lot of medicine for the pain,” she
                                                                         says. When it strikes: “It affects your joints, back,
                                          Miriam Kabia, patient          knees. All I can do is lie on the sofa and even then,
                                                                         I can’t lie still because of the pain.”
                                                                            Miriam has often been hospitalised in agony
                                                                         and needs regular blood transfusions. Yet, despite
                                                                         sickle cell disrupting her life, the 19-year-old south
                                                                         Londoner refuses to give up. She has recently
                                                                         taken A levels. “I get sick all the time, so I’ve
                                                                         struggled to cope and get on with my education,”
                                                                         she admits. But Guy’s and St Thomas’ staff have
                                                                         helped her get this far.
                                                                            Specialist nurses have taught her school about
                                                                         the dangers of Miriam getting too tired. They
                                                                         have helped Miriam, her family and her teachers
                                                                         understand how best to deal with the pain and
                                                                         stress. “I used to get really worried about missing
                                                                         school and felt guilty about my mum taking
                                                                         time off work when I was ill. But sessions with a
                                                                         hospital psychologist helped me realise that it’s
                                                                         not my fault,” she says.
                                                                            Miriam’s particularly impressed that staff have
                                                                         always taken her seriously and worked with her.
                                                                         “Even when I was under 16, they made sure I knew
                                                                         what was happening. They’ve really treated me
                                                                         with me respect.”

the facilities were,” Mariana was
given extra towels and a gown that
did not flap open.
   Time and time again, Mariana
noted how busy staff worked
cheerfully and respectfully to
meet patients’ every need. Nurses
were happy to be flexible as
Mariana’s husband – a doctor at
another London hospital – found
it hard to make the visiting times.
At mealtimes, offered a choice
of dishes, Mariana found she
was served “as if in a restaurant.
I was never rushed to finish. I
never witnessed a nurse hovering
impatiently to make up my bed
                                       High standards: Mariana and the
after breakfast. And my side table
                                       ‘impressive’ Nightingale ward staff
was immediately wiped spotless
whenever my food tray was taken
away,” she says.
   Awakening one night from a
                                       ‘There is a beautiful energy, inspiring staff
terrifying nightmare, Mariana
was offered tea, and a nurse sat
                                      to provide the best possible care’
continued on page 10                  Mariana Olivier, patient
                                                                                                      Autumn 09 South of the River 9
FEATURE                                    FEATURE

continued from page 9
holding her hand. Another time,
Mariana recalls: “I woke up in
extreme pain and rang the bell. I
                                           of our
decided to count to 50.” She had
only counted to four, when a nurse
was at her bedside, reassuring her
and offering pain relief.
   Mariana’s verdict is clear: “There
is a beautiful energy that radiates
around the ward, inspiring every

member of staff to provide the
best possible care imaginable.
They have made love visible and
I have experienced this every
moment during my stay.” ● ● ●

 We’re all
 ears                                      Scientists are finding out fascinating facts
                                           from twins, Linda Steele discovers
 Patients can help

 us improve, says                                      ave you always hated       share roughly half their genes,
 Jaimella Espley                                       eating your greens,        scientists get clues about which
                                                       even though they’re        attributes we are born with and
                                                       good for you? Do you       which develop because of our
 At Guy’s and St Thomas’, we               love coffee? Adore garlic in           environment.
 welcome feedback from patients            cooking? Doctors and scientists          Much, though, is a complicated
 and their families.                       at King’s College London’s twin        mix of our genes and our
    We have introduced comment             research department based at           environment. Take being thin.
 and suggestion cards as part              St Thomas’ think our food likes        Some people have genes that
 of Showing we care. If you have           and dislikes may be hardwired          make them prone to staying lean.
 something to say about your visit,        in us.                                 But what we eat and how much we
 fill in one of these cards and pop it in      The researchers have found that     exercise also affects our body size.
 the box. You don’t have to put your       an amazing array of illnesses and        “Thanks to our studies of
 name on the card if you don’t want        behaviour are caused or influenced      twins, we have a much better
 to. The comments are reviewed by          by our genetic make-up. Late           idea of what causes certain
 people working in the clinic or ward,     nights, booze and chocolate are a      diseases – whether it’s genetic or
 and they will use the feedback to         bad combination but they’re not        environmental or an interaction
 make changes for the better.              the main cause of acne – your          of the two,” says Lynn. “That can
    You may prefer to speak directly       genes are. And a daredevil love        be a starting point for developing
 to a member of staff looking after        of skydiving or bungee jumping         treatments that get to the root,
 you or with our patient advice and        could be partly down to inheriting     genetic causes of ill health, as well
 liaison service (PALS). “We’re a          a risk-taking gene, according to       as highlighting where changing
 listening ear,” says PALS’ Alison         the scientists.                        habits can improve health.”
 Ryan. “We help patients and visitors         Twins are studied because             The research has led to
 resolve problems and let them             identical twins have the same          breakthroughs in understanding
 know how their comments help us           genes – they come from a               our health. Regular exercise – at
 improve our hospitals.                    single, fertilised egg, which splits   least 30 minutes, five times a
    “There is a PALS office in each         completely to form two new beings      week – slows the ageing process,
 hospital but, if there is something on    in the womb. “If an identical twin     twin researchers have found. This
 your mind, you don’t have to wait to      has a condition and the other          may go some way to explain why
 talk to us. Everyone working at the       doesn’t, lifestyle is likely to be a   exercise reduces the risk of heart
 hospital should be a ‘pal’, so please     big factor,” says the department’s     attacks, diabetes, high blood
 talk to a member of staff – they will     Dr Lynn Cherkas. From looking          pressure, cancer, osteoporosis
 be able to help you or find someone        at identical twins, and comparing      and other diseases associated
 who can.”                                 them with non-identical twins who      with old age. ● ● ●

10   South of the River Autumn 09
                                                               The only way people could tell twin
                                                               sisters Janet Morgan and Janese
                                                               Samuels apart when they were little was
                                                               the different colour ribbons in
                                                               their hair. “When one of us did
                                                               something bad, the teachers could
                                                               never work out who did it and so we’d
                                                               both get detention,” remembers Janet.
                                                               “We never did tell, but we’d rebuke each
                                                                  Although they are very close,
                                                               phone each other several times a
                                                               day and meet every weekend, there’s
                                                               a downside to having a twin, says
                                                               Janese. “As children, we were dressed
                                                               the same and I didn’t like it. I yearned to
                                                               be an individual.”
                                                                  The sisters have taken part in studies
                                                               at the twin research department. “The
                                                               humour test was amazing,” says Janet.
                                                               Janese explains: “They separated us
                                                               and we had to read some jokes; the
                                                               researcher told us we laughed at exactly
                                                               the same things.”
                                                                  Apart from discovering fascinating
                                                               facts, says Janet, there are distinct
                                                               benefits to signing up for twins
                                                               research: “We have tests on eyes, smell,
                                                               taste, hearing, skin elasticity, bone
                                                               density and ECGs.” These have shown
                                                               up health concerns, for which they can
                                                               take medication. As Janet says: “It’s the
                                                               best health MOT you’ll ever have. And
                                                               we get it for free.”
                                                               ● Identical and non-identical
                                                               male and female twins aged 16 and
                                                               over who are interested in taking
                                                               part in the studies should ring
                                                               020 7188 5555.

         Jargon                                                      More information at

 Environment: includes where we
   live, what we do and the way
          we’re brought up.
                                                                ‘The researcher
     Genes: microscopically small                              told us we
 parts of our bodies that ‘tell’ our
 bodies how to grow, change and                                laughed at
what to look like. We all inherit half
  our genes from our mother and
                                            Two’s company:     exactly the
                                         twin sisters Janese
         half from our father.              (left) and Janet   same things’
                                                                       Autumn 09 South of the River 11

a boy
Andrew Kerry is a typical teenager – with
an unusual heart. Gemma Peers hears
from Andrew and his family about surgery,
medicine and playing bass in a band

           t their 20-week               games with his older brother,             “At Guy’s and
           pregnancy scan, Colin         Robert, and is a keen musician.                      ,
                                                                                 St Thomas’ we are
           and Caroline Kerry            He plays bass guitar in his church      lucky because children
           were told their unborn        band and has played the piano           treated at the Evelina
son had hypoplastic left heart           since he was seven. He enjoys           Children’s Hospital go on to
syndrome, a condition where              riding his bike and cycles to school    be seen by doctors at the main
the left side of the heart hasn’t        – although he prefers the journey       hospital,” says children’s heart
developed properly, so blood             home as it is all downhill.             nurse Thomas Witter.
cannot be pumped efficiently                 “There is no doubt that              “This means we can work
around the body.                         Andrew’s illness has changed us as      with them to make the
   Andrew needed surgery to              a family, but I believe it’s been for   change easier. It also
replumb his heart when he was            the better and made us stronger,”       means we’re always
just 12 hours’ old. Two more             says Andrew’s dad, Colin.               around to say hello and
operations followed: when he                As Andrew gets older, he’s           make sure they are
was nine months, and four years.         encouraged to take charge of his        doing well. It’s nice to
He was one of the first children          own medication. This is part of         catch up with our
at Guy’s and St Thomas’ to have          growing up and getting used to          patients.” ● ● ●
this life-saving operation – before,     looking after himself, including
every child with his condition died      moving to adult hospital services
in their first few days.                  when he’s 19.
   Now, Andrew is on three types
of medication and, day to day,
his illness means he gets short of
breath and feels the cold. Because                          ‘I’ve got
                                                           this heart
of the drugs he takes, he can’t play
contact sports such as rugby.
                                                                      r the
                                                       condition fo so
   But Andrew’s always lived with
his illness, so to him it is the norm.
                                                       rest of my lif h it.
“I’ve got this heart condition for
the rest of my life, so I just get on
                                                      I just get on
with it. There’s no point worrying
about it too much.”

                                                            There’s no
   His mum, Caroline, says: “The
first years of Andrew’s life were
                                                          point worryin
extremely worrying, but we had
the support of our friends and
family to help us through.
   “We’ve tried to keep the attitude                           about it ’
that we should let him do as much
as possible, so he isn’t defined by
his heart disease.”
   Andrew likes playing computer

12   South of the River Autumn 09
                                                 MY JOB

                                                 Adetokunbo Fayemi
                                                 Customer care

                                                 What is a customer care supervisor?
                                                 There are three of us supervising 16 receptionists in
                                                 the birth centres and postnatal and neonatal wards at
                                                 St Thomas’ We aim to run efficient and helpful reception
                                                 desks, focused on the needs of mothers, their families
                                                 and friends, as well as the midwives, nurses and doctors.

                                                 What does your job entail?
                                                 I make sure that the receptionists have what they need
                                                 to do their job – whether it’s computers working properly
Heart matters                                    or advice on transferring a patient to another ward.
         It’s not just Andrew’s medicine         Our staff have the important job of keeping track of
              that keeps his heart healthy       people coming in and out of the maternity wards, so I
                – he swims regularly and his     keep in contact with other parts of the hospital, including
                  parents try to get him to      security staff. I also train staff in the tasks they undertake
                   eat fruit and vegetables.     on reception.

                    Keeping your and your        Why do you like your job?
                 children’s hearts healthy       It is wonderful to see people through their antenatal visits
                is important whether or not      and then witness the joy of parents going home with their
              there’s illness in the family.     babies. I also like the flexible working – I do three weekly
            Nurse Thomas Witter                  shifts of 11 and a half hours – which leaves me free to do
       gives us his top tips:                    other things the rest of the week.
● exercise: walking to school or
  work or taking the stairs can                                                        What qualifications
  make a massive difference to                                                         or experience are
  your fitness levels. Join a club,                                                     needed?
  so exercise is fun, not a chore                                                      You need experience
                                                                                       of managing a team
                  ● keep your                                                          and dealing with
                     weight in check: excess                                           the public.
                     weight puts extra strain
                     on your heart                                                     How did you get
                  ● eat well: maintain
                                                                                       your job?
                    a balanced diet and eat                                            I applied online at
                    your five portions of fruit                                         NHS Jobs
                    and vegetables a day –                                             (
                    and remember, there’s
nothing wrong with an occasional treat
● stop smoking: adults need
  to stop smoking and
  should never smoke near
  children (ask your GP or                                                                             To find
  pharmacist if you’d like                                                                             out
  help quitting).                                                                                about jobs
                                                                                                 at Guy’s and
                                                                                                 St Thomas’,
                                                                                                 look at website
                                                                                                 or ring our
                                                                                                 centre on
                                                                                                 020 7188 0044

                                                                                     Autumn 09 South of the River 13

Baby love
Premature babies needing special care are now leaving hospital
earlier, with help at home. Jaimella Espley learns more

             iriam Lobo
             remembers clearly
             the time she first
             met the neonatal
outreach team. “My son Rishi
was in the special care baby
unit,” she says. “The unit has
lots of equipment and medical
people around. It can be a hard
environment to be a mum.
   “The neonatal outreach team
came over and were a breath of
fresh air. They really gave me a lift
because they started talking about
Moses baskets and baby clothes.                                                                        Good food
It made me think: ‘My baby is                                                                      guide: nursery
going to go home.’”                                                                                  nurse Susan
   The neonatal outreach team                                                                       McLean from
was initially funded by a grant from                                                                 the neonatal
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.                                                                      team gives Liz
Dr Morag Campbell, consultant                                                                       Workman and
neonatologist, explains why it                                                                        Henry some
was set up: “Getting babies home                                                                     weaning tips
earlier is important for bonding
and feeding. It also benefits the
hospital, as it lets us use beds        ‘Getting babies home                       doesn’t need to keep coming in for
                                                                                   hospital appointments.”
more efficiently,” she says.
   In the past, premature babies        earlier is important for                     Miriam really appreciated this.
                                                                                   “When you have a premature baby,
were kept in hospital until they
reached a certain weight. This          bonding and feeding.’                      you spend hours in the hospital.
                                                                                   When you get home, you want to
could be hard for the family. “The                                                 be as far away from the hospital
babies need medical care,” says                                                    as you can so you can get back
Miriam, “but sometimes hospital is      few days. They helped me with              to normal.”
not the nicest place for a family.”     breastfeeding, and supported                 Over time, the team visits
   The neonatal outreach team’s         and reassured me.”                          less often. But there’s always
work starts long before the baby          Five nurses work seven days                  someone on the other end of
leaves hospital. The nurses help        a week visiting premature                        the phone to offer worried
give parents the confidence to           babies when they are                               parents medical advice
look after premature babies.            discharged, helping the                               and reassurance. ● ● ●
Elaine Wood, neonatal outreach          transition from hospital
sister explains: “Parents want to       to home. “We visit the
go home but they can often be           family frequently, to
nervous, so we offer education on       make sure the baby is
resuscitation, infant care, bathing,    feeding and putting
medicines and feeding.”                 on weight,” says             Natasha
   Natasha Dogmetchi’s son,             Elaine. “We can also         and Cassian
Cassian, was delivered at 32            do blood tests and
weeks. “After I left hospital, the      monitor oxygen levels
outreach team visited every             at home, so the family

14   South of the River Autumn 09

news             Check up: tips for a healthier, happier you
     Catch it, bin it, kill it
     Swine flu has hit the headlines this year,
     having appeared in Mexico and spread to
     other countries, including Britain.
     If you get invisible flu germs on your hands – say, from a door
     handle while out and about – and touch your nose or mouth
     with your hand, you can come down with flu.
        The best way to protect you and your family is to wash
     hands frequently with soap and hot water, or sanitising hand
     gels available from pharmacists.

     Don’t spread it
     When you cough or sneeze, it is important to prevent the
     spread of germs by:
     ● using a clean tissue to cover your mouth and nose
     ● binning tissues after one use.
        There is a simple way to remember how to stop passing
     on germs: catch it, bin it, kill it.
     If you’re worried that you may be affected by swine flu, stay
     at home and phone:
     ● your GP surgery
     ● NHS Direct on 0845 4647
     ● the national flu line on 0800 1 513 513.
        Any of these can give you advice on your symptoms and
     what steps to take.

          More on swine flu at

 Red alert                                                            Itchy and scratchy
 Heavy bleeding during your period is common. It does not             Eczema affects one in five           Use the extra rinse cycle
 necessarily mean that something is wrong, but can affect             school age children in the UK –     on your washing machine
 you physically and emotionally.                                      and the number is rising.           to ensure that clothes are
                                                                        If you notice that your child     free of detergent. Tell your
 Your periods may be too heavy if:                                    has an itchy, red rash or very      child to shower thoroughly
 ●   they last more than seven days                                   dry skin, ask your GP to check      after swimming. Plain,
 ●   you need to use tampons and towels together                      for eczema.                         unperfumed moisturising
 ●   you experience leaking through your clothes or bedding             Your GP can discuss things        cream (known as ‘emollient’),
 ●   you feel tired or drained during your periods.                   that might trigger your child’s     available on prescription or
                                                                      eczema including:                   over the pharmacy counter,
   Gynaecological conditions such as fibroids (growths of              ● heat                              can help to relieve itching
 muscle and tissue in the womb) can cause periods that are            ● soaps and washing powders         and reduce redness.
 too heavy. They could also be linked to a bleeding disorder          ● chlorine in swimming pools           In Lambeth, the eczema
 which may run in your family. If you experience nose bleeds          ● dust, pollen and mould            education programme offers
 or bruise easily, these could be signs of a bleeding disorder.       ● stress                            parents and carers advice
 However, an underlying cause cannot always be found.                 ● wool and synthetic clothing       on managing their child’s
   If you are concerned that your periods are too heavy, if           ● perfumes.                         condition, and the chance to
 they have changed recently or you are bleeding at other                You can reduce the effect         meet others in their situation.
 times of the month (such as after sex), visit your GP to             of these triggers by taking a       Ask your GP or health visitor
 discuss your concerns.                                               few simple steps. Make sure         to refer you.
                                                                      that your child sleeps in a cool,        More information
        Visit                                              well ventilated room. Stick to           National Eczema
        for more information.                                         cotton clothing, if possible.       Society

                                                                                                           Autumn 09 South of the River 15
  USER’S GUIDE.                                                                                                                                LAST WORD.

               Your local health services
Your guide to finding the health services you need in and
around Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals
Emergency treatment
● Accident & emergency (A&E) at                                            ● Eye casualty at St Thomas’ is open
  St Thomas’ Hospital is open 24 hours a day,                                from 8.45am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.
  365 days a year.                                                           Out of hours, you can go to A&E.
● The minor injuries unit at Guy’s Hospital                                ● Walk-in clinics for urgent sexual health
  is open from 8am to 8pm, 365 days a year.                                  problems: Harrison Wing (for HIV positive
  If you have a less serious illness or injury,                              patients) and Lydia Clinic at St Thomas’,
  you will often be seen and treated more                                    and Lloyd Clinic, Guy’s. For opening
  quickly here than in A&E at St Thomas’.
● The emergency gynaecology unit
                                                                             times, call tel: 020 7188 6666.
                                                                                                           End measles
  offers a service 24 hours a day, 365 days                                ● Pharmacy medicines helpline.
  a year for all gynaecological emergencies,                                 Call tel: 020 7188 8748 (Guy’s)
                                                                                                                                               Infection doctor Eithne
  including problems in early pregnancy.                                     or tel: 020 7188 5008 (St Thomas’)                                MacMahon wants to stamp
  Your GP can refer you or you can call                                      10am to 12 noon and 2pm to 4pm, Monday
  tel: 020 7188 0864 before attending.                                       to Friday.                                                        out the misery of measles

  How to find us                         Em                                                                                                                   easles is a notoriously

                                     ia                     Rive                         Monument

                                                                r Th                                                                                         easy infection to catch.



                                                                                                                                                             Victims feel miserable and


                                                                                     London Bridge                                                           depressed, and they’re


          Westminster                                                                                                                          more susceptible to other infections


              West                                          Borough
                       ter B                                                                         Key                                       for many months afterwards.
                                e                                             Guy’s                                                               It’s dangerous, too. Until vaccination
                                               Lambeth North                                           London Underground
                                                                                                       stations                                was introduced, measles killed a
                             St Thomas’                                                                Mainline railway                        million children worldwide every year.
               ame                                                                                     stations                                Infants and people with weakened
River Thames Th
         River                                                     Elephant & Castle                                                           immune systems who cannot receive
                                                                                                                                               vaccines are especially at risk, and
St Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7EH
                                                                                                                                               may die of measles encephalitis
Guy’s Hospital, Great Maze Pond, SE1 9RT
Tel: 020 7188 7188                                                                                                                             (a fatal inflammation of the brain)
                                                                                                                                               or pneumonia.
Getting here: for travel information and detailed maps, go to                                                                                                                        But the good news is that measles
                                                                                                                                               is one of the few infections that, like
Patient advice and liaison services (PALS)                                                                                                     smallpox, could be completely wiped
For advice on hospital services, call tel: 020 7188 8801 9am to 5pm,                                                                           out. All it takes is for everyone to have
Monday to Friday, or email                                                                                                    two doses of the MMR vaccine. That
                                                                                                                                               would stop person-to-person spread
GP and local services                                                                                                                          of measles in London, in Britain, in
       For information on health services, including help                                                                                      Europe and, ultimately, the world over.
       finding a GP or dentist, contact:                                                                                                       It would also prevent the damage
                                                                                                                                               to the heart, eyes, ears and brain of
 ● Lambeth: tel: 0800 587 8078 or visit website                                                                          unborn babies whose mothers catch
 ● Southwark: tel: 0800 587 7170 or visit website                                                                      rubella, and stop the pain, deafness
 ● When your GP surgery is closed and your need is urgent, call Seldoc on                                                                      and meningitis caused by mumps.
 tel: 020 8299 2619. If it is an emergency, dial 999.                                                                                             New studies reinforce just how
                                                                                                                                               safe the MMR jab is. All healthy people
Health advice and information                                                                                                                  over 15 months can be protected by

                                                                                                                                               receiving two injections as little as one
                                                                                                                                               month apart. If there is uncertainty
                                                                                                                                               about whether someone’s already
                                                                                                                            CUT OFF AND KEEP

                                                                                                                                               had the jabs, an extra dose won’t do
                                                                                                                                               any harm.
                                                                                                                                                  So, when all is said and done, the
 Find health information on the NHS                                                       Dial 0845 4647 for health                            real casualty of MMR will be measles!
 Choices website at                                                            advice and reassurance

16   South of the River Autumn 09

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