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Joy Shankster

Notes on visit to Springfield Hospital – Critical Care Unit

Richard Spalding, Team Leader of the Critical Care Unit at Springfield Hospital, Chelmsford, invited me to spend a day with his Team to study the allopathic approach to pain and the work of a surgical recovery room.

I must admit, I felt a bit apprehensive before going, but very curious. On being welcomed by a very dedicated and highly professional team, they shared with me how they worked, I was able to ask any questions I wanted to and everyone was open, receptive and friendly. I was treated as a professional person, which I found very reassuring.

I observed the recovery procedures for a number of different types of operations, there were five theatres in use that day, from dental surgery, to breast reconstruction, to hip replacements. One person goes to the head of the patient and from that point they are then in charge of them whilst in the recovery room until they leave to go to their room. Decisions regarding pain management are made based purely on individual needs, everyone comes round differently from anaesthesia and their pain reactions are diverse.

Richard explained the need for them to stay "on top of the pain" immediately they come into the Critical Care Unit. It is particularly important too that each individual is in control of their own pain management using Patient Controlled drugs on a "need" basis. Pain intensifies when you are on your own, at night, in the dark, trying to sleep. Fear too increases pain and prevents the healing processes as the body is on "standby" and not concentrating on healing itself.

I discovered that some of the surgeons were not supporters of Homoeopathy as they attributed certain difficulties to the utilisation of Arnica. If Homoeopaths were allowed to share their knowledge and work in conjunction with allopaths, both pre and post-op, I feel we can show that Homoeopathy has its part to play in the work of healing which is, after all, the goal we are all aiming for.

My thanks to Richard for being open, receptive and positive and at the head of a truly professional team.

Joy Shankster

22 May 2004