Healthcare providers are used to making decisions based on the patient’s size. When your child doesn’t grow and remains the size of a child their whole life, it can cause problems when they transition to adult care. Most children's hospitals in Texas treat patients based on age, not size.
Adults with disabilities, no matter their size, are sent to adult floors. When hospital staff doesn’t have properly sized equipment, it’s hard for them to provide care for a small patient. This can potentially put the patient at risk.
Our son, Nathan, is 22 years old. He weighs 50 pounds and is 3 feet 3 inches tall. Nathan was born with a chromosome disorder. He never produced growth hormones and stopped growing around the age of 9.
Up until he turned 21, Nathan was treated on the pediatric floor because that staff was the most comfortable and prepared to deal with someone his size. We were told after his 21st birthday he would have to be put on the adult floor.
A couple of weeks ago, after two urinary tract infections, we found out that Nathan had a large kidney stone. The only way to get rid of the kidney stone was surgery. If left alone, the stone would damage his kidney.
Our surgeon does both pediatric and adult kidney stone surgeries. After meeting Nathan and discussing his needs for surgery, we all agreed that the best place for Nathan would be the pediatric floor. The surgeon agreed that this would help ensure that Nathan would have the best surgical results.
The surgeon requested that Nathan be placed on the pediatric floor, but the hospital said that it couldn’t be done. If the surgeon believes this is the safest place for Nathan where he would have the best results from a positive surgery, should that not guide the decision?
Patient safety should be based on their needs, not their age.
Learn more about your child’s Transition to Adulthood and medical transition.
“What’s wrong with your child?” are the hardest words to hear. Finding a diagnosis for your child is one step in the right direction. Navigating the various challenges your child will face can be overwhelming. Keep showing up and facing the challenges.