Great Ormond Street: An Imperfect Cure (renal)
Programme three - Tuesday 20 April 2010
Episode #3: An Imperfect Cure
Great Ormond Street features unprecedented access to doctors from one of the top children's hospitals in the world as they make some of the hardest choices in medicine. When medical technology seems to offer so much, every parent with a sick child will hope that something can be done - but doctors must decide when enough is enough.
The series concludes with An Imperfect Cure, following the staff of Great Ormond Street Hospital's renal department as they treat children for a condition which has no complete cure. Long-term treatment over decades requires an enormous level of cooperation and consent between the medical team, the patients and their parents. But what happens when parents and older children are unwilling to accept the doctors' advice?
Doctors Lesley Rees, Rukshana Shroff and Sarah Ledermann must make complex decisions in a never-ending cycle of treatment: 4-month-old Alisha was born with kidney failure. Staff must try to keep her alive until she grows big enough to receive a kidney transplant, but as she suffers repeated infections which threaten her life, staff and her parents must consider whether it is right to carry on.
14-year-old Imann's kidneys are slowly poisoning her and doctors want to remove them. She is terrified of surgery and refuses to have the operation. Can staff persuade her to go through with it?
Bethany was born with profound mental and physical disabilities, including poorly functioning kidneys. Her father Paul is keen to donate his kidney to his daughter, but staff must decide whether she is likely to survive a transplant - and whether it would be in her best interest.
In each case the team have to decide the best course of action, trying to balance the needs of the patient with the hopes and expectations of their parents.
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