Treating George’s Capillary Vascular Malformation

During Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes, we’re shining a spotlight on the inspiring staff across the hospital who help children get better and fulfil their potential. Samira Syed is a senior Associate Specialist in paediatrics dermatology and has been at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for a grand twenty-five years! She features in episode 4, treating patient George. 

Samira is a senior Associate Specialist in paediatrics and dermatology; equivalent to a consultant role at GOSH. She specialises in birthmarks and looks after children with vascular anomalies. 

Unique laser treatment

Samira has been caring for patient George on the programme, who has a Capillary Vascular Malformation (‘port wine stain’) and has received laser surgery for his facial birthmarks:

“George has been having laser treatment for his capillary malformation from an early age. For George we are using 2 laser machines with 3 different wavelengths and using a double passing technique, which is unique and innovative. 

“George has been very patient while he has been having his treatments over the years. I believe the credit goes to his parents for being very kind and having great patience with the entire pathway of his patient journey. 

“He is an amazing patient. His communication skills have strengthened by leaps and bounds as his birthmark continues to improve with the laser therapy. The next stage is to give him a break from lasers for the next 2 years as he has done remarkably well with the last few treatments.”

Raising awareness of birthmarks

“Some families are told by the medical and nursing professionals that birthmarks are just little stains on the skin and are of no consequence. This is extremely worrisome as not only are birthmarks visually disfiguring, many have associated medical problems and complications before they get to GOSH. 

“We are very grateful to Paul O’Grady and his team for making this programme. I believe many families are keen to bring awareness to birthmarks and the treatments available. 

A long-standing career

Explaining how she started working at GOSH, Samira shares: “It was by pure luck/magic. I saw a job advertised for a paediatrician with special interest in birthmarks and their management. I grabbed the opportunity, applied for the job and got it. This was 25 years ago!

“It is an amazing hospital. Lovely, caring people work here with best teamwork; always appreciating the child first and always."

Find out more about port wine stains