Two young patients at Hereford County Hospital got a rare glimpse behind the scenes when they donned white coats and visited the laboratories and pharmacy manufacturing team.
In fact, Alesha and Taya looked so convincing they were almost mistaken for staff members when, armed with clipboards, they set out to solve a quiz to help them understand more about what happens in these areas of the hospital.
“Both of them have undergone intensive chemotherapy and surgery for tumours and wanted to know more about what happens to their blood samples, where their blood transfusions come from and how their ‘chemo’ is made,” said consultant paediatrician Simon Meyrick.
“Their visit to the labs was supported by the Harvey’s Gang charity,” added Simon. “The charity pays tribute to a young boy, Harvey Buster Baldwin, who was enthusiastic to understand about his illness and so his local labs in West-Sussex showed him around when very he was unwell.
“Thousands of children in the same situation all over the world have become members of Harvey’s gang and visit labs in this way, so it was great that the charity supported Alesha and Taya’s behind the scenes visit at the County Hospital.”
During the visit Alesha and Taya were accompanied by their mums and they were given a guided tour of the labs.
They also saw the pod system in action – a system of vacuum tubes which criss-cross the hospital which are used to send important samples to and from the wards and laboratories very quickly – along with real live blood analysis, chemotherapy being prepared and they even identified blood cells down a microscope.
They also needed to be eagle eyed to spot a number of secret penguins dotted around the laboratories and thoroughly enjoyed the dry ice – “we turned on the tap and the smoke came out and it was really cold”.
To round off a busy visit they each received a goody bag and enjoyed a trip to KFC.
“We had a great time and we’re hoping that other children with cancer and other chronic conditions will be become members of Harvey’s Gang in the not too distant future,” said Simon.
Lead Pharmacist, Oncology and Technical Services, Andy Hedges, right, shows Alesha and Taya the area where chemotherapy infusions are prepared.
Alesha, left, and Taya with blood transfusion practitioner Tracy Clarke, during their behind-the-scenes tour.
Alesha looks at a blood sample down a microscope with consultant paediatrician Simon Meyrick.
Alesha in front of the fridge which holds blood.
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