Our Adventures

  • 18 Nov 2013

    Should you always trust the advice of your allergist?

    Posted: 18 Nov 2013

    There are some allergy adventures that don't involve a magic lunchbox, a fun story and quirky illustrations. In fact some allergy 'adventures' can be downright hair raising and may make you question the quality of care that your child is receiving.

    If you've ever received dubious advice from your allergy specialist, then the following story of our experience might sound horribly familiar...

    When my niece was first diagnosed with a severe egg allergy, (read the details here) she lived on the south coast and attended an allergy clinic at Southampton Hospital. The care and advice my sister received were outstanding and after tests, every year, my niece was consistently told to avoid all forms of egg.

    Then early in 2013, my sister and niece relocated to Essex where they were referred to a paediatric clinic at a local hospital. As there wasn't a nurse available (huh?) tests weren't carried out and my sister was told to book a blood test at a larger local hospital. The test was to establish which part of the egg my niece was reacting to, and to check for a suspected pistachio allergy.

    Ten days later my sister called the hospital to get the results of the blood test. There followed days of speaking to the secretary and leaving messages for the doctor which received no reply and finally a response from the secretary; not enough blood had been taken and therefore it wasn't possible to ascertain which part of the egg my niece was allergic to.

    Oh but here's the good news, she's no longer allergic to egg AT ALL!

    Hmm, any alarm bells ringing yet?

    Thankfully, my sister didn't trust the confusing and potentially dangerous response from the hospital.

    She pushed for a second opinion and after a skin prick test and blood test were carried out at St Thomas' Hospital in London, results showed that my niece is still highly allergic to eggs and worryingly also revealed a reaction to peanuts and certain tree nuts. The advice she received from St Thomas' was to continue to avoid all forms of egg and to avoid all peanuts and tree nuts until a supervised food challenge appointment could be made.

    And the moral of this story is...?
    Obviously it highlights how the allergy services we experienced, differed in different regions of the UK, but more importantly it highlights how you shouldn't discount your instincts when it comes to your child, their safety and their allergies.

    In most cases, the doctors will give correct, safe advice, but the potential for them to make a mistake should not be ignored. And if you feel that you can't trust the advice you've been given, always press for a second opinion.

    What have you experienced?
    Have you received advice from your allergist that has given you cause for concern? Or have you got nothing but praise for the allergy clinic in your area? I'd love to hear your stories, please leave your comments below.

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