It must be a pretty tough job mentally for a palliative paediatrician. Knowing that you’re dealing with terminally ill children must be incredibly exhausting on your emotions while trying to stay professional and positive.
When one palliative paediatrician in South Africa saw too many negative stories appearing on his Twitter feed, he knew he wanted to make a change.
That’s when he decided to share some positive and inspiring thoughts of the terminally ill children in his care to give people some perspective.
Alastair McAlpine from Cape Town tweeted “I asked some of my terminal paediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning. Kids can be so wise, y’know. Here are some of the responses.”
Dr McAlpine told the BBC that he wanted to write something uplifting. He was overwhelmed when he saw hundreds of thousands of responses to his tweet.
It’s extraordinary. I believe in thanking people when they say something nice, but there were just too many for me to reply to all of them.
He found it eye-opening to find out that none of the children, aged between 4 and 9-years-old, said that they wished they’d watched more television or spent more time browsing Facebook.
Alastair noticed that animals played a huge part in their lives as the kids loved to talk about their pets. “I love Rufus, his funny bark makes me laugh; I love when Ginny snuggles up to me at night and purrs; I was happiest riding Jake on the beach.”
Dr McAlpine trained in palliative care in May 2017 when he saw that there was a huge gap in paediatric care.
When it came to kids dying, it seemed we weren’t prepared for what to do. The best part of my job now is that I get to meet these extraordinary children and families. I walk a special road with them,
McAlpine continued to say “As horrible as it is when a child dies, one of the best rewards is a dignified and pain-free death. If I can make their lives slightly less bad, it’s worthwhile. That keeps me going.”
What a truly incredible human being looking after some phenomenally inspiring children who are going through a very difficult time.
I would recommend looking through his Twitter to get a different perspective on life from kids who don’t wish to watch TV, but kids who wish their parents will be able to cope.
A heartbreaking but heartwarming story. We love hearing all of your opinions. So please let us know what you thought of the article in the comment section below.