Intended for healthcare professionals


Children have feelings too

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 23 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1616
  1. Anne McFadyen, senior lecturer in child and adolescent psychiatry
  1. London

    As a child psychiatrist, one of my missions in life has been to teach medical students that children have feelings. A simple point, which as part of my job I have also had to remind paediatric colleagues about at times. Why then, was I so shocked by my own son's response to surgery?

    Last year at the age of 7, my younger son had to have a circumcision. We had not taken the decision lightly, but he had had several local infections as a result of not being able to retract his foreskin. Fortunately, when we explained what was needed, he responded well. After some initial anxiety he took matters into his own hands, and came back from school one day with a list of those boys who had had the “special” operation. This seemed to reassure him enormously.

    The staff at the local hospital were excellent. Apart from embarrassment at having to wear a backless theatre gown, the preoperative preparation went well. The hospital had a power cut just as we were going to theatre, but contingency plans were quickly put in place. Once there, the anaesthetist delivered an obviously well rehearsed line about …

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