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Pathologists at NUH helping young patients overcome fear of having injections

Pathologists at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) are helping young patients overcome their fears of needles by inviting them to take part in laboratory tours at Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC).

The initiative, which is part of Harvey’s Gang, allows young patients with long-term conditions or a phobia of needles to visit medical laboratories to see what happens after their blood test and to learn about what their test results mean.

Harvey’s Gang tours are an international initiative, organised by the award winning, Harvey’s Gang Charity, the tours encourage young patients and their families to visit laboratories to further understand their treatments.

One of the most recent patients to benefit from the experience is six year-old, Fred Syalon, who has Nephrotic Syndrome, a rare condition that requires frequent blood tests to monitor the condition. Fred, who is very anxious with needles, was invited down to the Pathology laboratory at QMC. Fred described the day by saying: “It was a great day and I loved seeing my blood jigging about!”

Fred’s Mum, Wendy Syalon said: “Fred really enjoyed taking part in the tour. Looking at the whole process of his blood test from start to finish was really fascinating and to be able to see why his blood tests are important, helped Fred to be less anxious when it comes to blood tests”

Nephrotic Syndrome is a rare renal condition where the kidneys leak large amounts of protein into the urine, causing painful swelling. Around 1 in 50,000 children is diagnosed with the condition every year.

The Clinical Pathology labs at QMC see approximately 3000 sample requests per day which are all vital to a patients care and treatment.

Kate Wilson, Higher Specialist Biomedical Scientist at NUH, said: “The patients benefit by getting to see a department which is often hidden from sight and it also helps them to understand why they need to have their blood tested”.

“Some patients with a fear of having their blood taken often feel better after the tours, due to this increased awareness.

“It is also wonderful for the lab staff who are almost entirely ‘non-frontline’ to experience meeting young patients and show them what we do”.