Friday, April 10, 2009

The Baum Years Part Five - Impressions Of Worth And Lessons To Be Learnt.

When you have a child with a disability there are always those who give the impression that your child is somehow worth less than other children.

You encounter strange attitudes from all sorts of people. I have even had total strangers tell me that it would have been better if Hari had died.

Within official circles there are few who will be quite so direct - but it becomes very easy to identify the attitudes that reveal those who think that your child is worth less than others.

David Baum's communication skills were such that he never gave this impression.

Since his death people have told me that he was very fond of Hari and, more recently, that he would never have allowed the problems of the last few years to occur. He would never have allowed the individuals concerned to treat us in the way they have done.

There was one hilarious incident some years ago -

We attended the Children's Hospital for the medical student exams. The student was to take a medical history, examine Hari and then report back to, and answer questions from, the examiners. The examiners are not present during the history taking and examination.

So there we were - Hari, the student and me - in a tiny room with one hour for the student to take the history and examine Hari and prepare for the examiners and their questions.

The student was clearly very nervous and panicking as he began to ask us the questions that would inform the medical history. I felt so sorry for him as his nerves were clearly getting the better of him as he panicked over what to record in his notes.

All of a sudden he relaxed and grinned from ear to ear.............

Ecstatically he announced.................


From that moment on his pen flew across the paper - he had never met Hari before but clearly knew all about her from David Baum - he was writing notes from memory and not needing to ask us many questions at all.

When the examiners came in he was able to answer all their questions easily - we assume he passed!

We obviously do not know what David Baum had said to the student about Hari but she had clearly been used as a lecture tool - and we hope that the attitude passed on to the student/s was beneficial to them and their future patients. The general impression around doctors is that they do not get much input about disability during their training, so every little helps.

David Baum used to tell us that he had learnt a lot from Hari.

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