Medical emergencies are nasty, and those involving our children can be devastating.

All three of our children have been treated once at an A&E.

Our first child hit the side of his head at a playground and was bleeding from his ear. Our second child cut her frenulum (the skin between upper lip and gum) when she leapt off the bed. Our third child suddenly refused to walk when he was 18 months old.

Since he couldn’t communicate verbally with us yet, we asked Google and the answers were threatening and nerve-wrecking – bacterial infection that might result in amputation, or a bone marrow biopsy to rule out cancer or tumour.

Unfortunately, the experience was heart-wrenching for the whole family as we had to endure a long wait at the A&E for intervention and assurance.

Speedy medical care is really crucial for alleviating children’s pain and for parents’ peace of mind.

Doctor For A Day at Mount Elizabeth The New Age ParentsDoctor For A Day – Speed Saves Lives

On 15 June 2018, we attended the second run of Doctor For A Day – Speed Saves Lives.

Doctor For A Day is a successful event series by Mount Elizabeth Hospitals which gives parents and children the opportunity to experience becoming a doctor, and learn about the medical services available at the hospitals.

For example, we found out that Mount Elizabeth Hospitals have an A&E department and 24-hour clinics, where there are paediatricians on-call when you need them. For parents, it’s heartening to know that our children will be attended to quickly during emergencies, even in the middle of the night.

This edition of Doctor For A Day also supports local charity organisation Children’s Wishing Well. All proceeds from the sales of the tickets will be donated to them.

Here’s what else we learnt as ‘doctors’ for the day:

#1 Realistic Immersion

What’s It Like To Be A Doctor For A Day

Themed ‘Speed Saves Lives’, the Doctor for a Day challenge saw us donning scrubs, entering actual hospital wards, and operating mock-up medical imaging machines such as the PET-CT.

The experience was especially realistic when kids had to triage a real life patient – taking his blood pressure, body temperature and putting on an oxygen mask for him.

#2 Life Science

Doctor for a day - fun activity with kids at Mount Elizabeth Hospitals

In their first mission, the kids were quizzed about vital organ parts such as the heart, lungs, and stomach. They handled a human anatomy model and learnt how the various organs fit together in the human body.

At the screening room, the kids carried out an experiment to demonstrate how fatty deposits clogged arteries. They were given two plastic tubes – one that was empty while the other was stuffed with cotton wool (to symbolise fatty deposits).

They then got to pour stage blood through the tubes and observed how blood flowed in a healthy “artery” as well as in a blocked artery.

#3 Fun and Engaging

Doctor for a day speed saves lives 2018

The children thoroughly enjoyed the tasks in the challenge. They especially had fun decoding patterns to decipher the Mount Elizabeth Hospital A&E number and plugging holes in pipes leading to a gigantic heart standing 2m tall to understand what a heart bypass is about.

The event enhanced our understanding of myocardial infarctions, or more commonly known as heart attacks. One truly should not ignore the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack, especially if the risk factors were high.

While the chances of a heart attack in our child are relatively low, there are many other instances where something that seems benign at first turns out to be much worse, just because treatment was delayed.

There is never any harm in getting a condition checked out. Proceed for early screening as it is always better to be safe than sorry.

It’s also reassuring to know that Mount Elizabeth Hospitals have made it possible for the public to arrange for an appointment through WhatsApp, a real fuss-free option for people like me who dislike waiting to get my call through on hospitals’ hotlines.

Overall, it was a great bonding experience for the whole family. Kudos to the team for making the information comprehensive, kid-friendly and age appropriate.

Mount Elizabeth Hospital Doctor For A Day 2018

Photo credit: Mount Elizabeth Hospitals

Becoming a doctor is indeed a noble ambition and we were glad to be able to help save a patient’, even if it was just for a day!

For more updates on the next Doctor For A Day event, follow Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Facebook page.

Text and photos by Rachel Lim