All for the care of Mya

Banbury Cake: Mya Harris, 10, with her dad Dale Harris Buy this photo Mya Harris, 10, with her dad Dale Harris

WHEN Mya Harris was diagnosed with spina bifida 10 years ago while still in the womb, her family knew she would need continuous care. What they did not realise is just how many people, how much effort, and how much pride would go into caring for their young daughter. It can take more than 100 different NHS workers to save the life of one person.

From the ambulance staff, to the surgeon who performs life saving surgery – each plays an vital role.

Here the Oxford Mail shows you just a small sample of the NHS staff who have gone over and above the call of duty to help Mya, and countless other Oxfordshire children like her, over the years.

BY way of thanks, Mya’s dad Dale Harris, from Cowley, has tirelessly raised funds for the Oxford Children’s hospital where Mya has received the majority of her care.

He has taken part in every fundraising OX5 Run since the event started in 2002, after young Mya was treated there.

Mya, 10, who goes to St Francis School, Cowley, has spina bifida and has had ‘countless’ operations throughout her life, including several in the past year, to improve her mobility.

Spina bifida means ‘split spine’ where the nerves in the spine may be left unprotected, leading to damage of the central nervous system.

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The condition can cause mobility difficulties, bladder and bowel problems and, in more severe cases, paralysis below the affected part of the spine.

Mr Harris said before his daughter was born he did not realise the ‘overwhelming’ amount of resources which can go into just one patient.

Mr Harris said: “We will be forever thankful for what they’ve done for us and for Mya.

“From the nurses, to the receptionists, the doctors.

“I don’t think you fully understand until you are involved.”

The latest stages of Mya’s care have been carried out under the watchful eye of orthopaedic surgeon Tim Theologis, based at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, who has carried out Mya’s last five operations.

He said: “Oxford University Hospitals Trust is pleased that its team of professionals, from many different disciplines, were all able to play their part in helping Mya during her recent treatment. We take great satisfaction in being able to improve the lives of children such as Mya.”

Mr Harris said: “The team know Mya.

“It’s about having the understand of the individual children – that’s a big part of it.”

  • RACHEL HOOPER: “With a child like Mya who has been in hospital regularly throughout their life you might think that they are used to it all, but it can still be a daunting time, and children can develop anxieties as they get older. Play specialist Tom’s Ward, Children’s Hospital Worked at trust for eight years
  • SHEILA COOPER: “Some of the staff call me the Mother Hen of Tom’s Ward, which I quite like, I am here to make sure the non-medical side of things here are looked after, like supervising clearers and dinner times.” Senior ward housekeeper, Tom’s Ward, Children’s Hospital Worked at the trust for 10 years
  • CHARLOTTE GODBOLD: “A child like Mya who has a long term condition, often has a very good understanding of their condition and what is going on with their body. So it’s very important to really listen to them and learn from them, as they can teach us so much.” Occupational therapist Worked for trust for three years
  • NIKKI JONES: “The elective access team in the children’s hospital looks after the outpatient clinics and waiting lists. We organise a bed for the patient on the appropriate ward and then send out the admission information to the parents.” Children’s Hospital elective access manager
  • TIM STEER: “I make sure that children get a bed for the period of time needed. It’s a bit like a giant jigsaw puzzle, especially as we run close to full occupancy most of the time.” Bed manager, Children’s Hospital Been at the trust for 14 years
  • CHRISTINE TUNNA: “The work in the theatres can be forgotten, as it is a bit of a hidden world, but we are really proud of the work we do here.” Sister in theatres Worked at the trust for 25 years and in theatres for 35 years
  • ALICIA BERNARD: “I worked as the scrub nurse during Mya’s operation, which assists the surgeon and helps to ensure the operating area is kept sterile. It is a challenging role, but one I love, you have to think outside of the box.” Senior staff nurse, Children’s Hospital Worked at the trust for six years
  • RUVY VALLEJO: “After the operation, I manage the child’s airway to make sure they are breathing properly. I also check their circulation and for any bleeding, before the child is allowed back on to the wards.” Recovery nurse Worked at the trust for four years
  • LAUREN DANIEL: “I worked with the plaster technicians on Mya’s case. The team is so great, and the patient is always at the centre of it. And the consultants are so approachable.” Senior paediatric physiotherapist, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Worked at the trust for three years
  • SUE EMSDEN: “It is a privilege to work with so many children of all abilities, it is simply the best job anyone could wish for.” Teaching Assistant, Oxfordshire Hospital School Been at the trust for 14 years
  • ANDREW DODDS: “For several years, I have been involved in the manufacture of splints to help her walk.” Clinical Lead Orthotist, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Been with the trust 12 years
  • JUDY MURPHY: “I was part of the manufacturing team for orthotics. It is always nice if, on the completion of our work, we can improve a patient’s quality of life.” Orthotics Technician, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Been with the trust three years
  • JABEEN ALAM: “My role involves making appointments for the patient and making sure that the devices are ready. It is very satisfying making sure that you give a good service.” Supervising admin officer, Orthotics, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Been with the trust 14 years
  • NICOLA PARRY: “I met with Mya and made shoes and supports after surgery for her.” Orthotist, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Been with the trust three years
  • ZOE DANDRIDGE: “I just enjoy working with all of the staff and patients. Everyone works as a team – the doctors, nurses and physiotherapists.” Plaster technician, paediatrics, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Worked at the trust for 10 years
  • DR HILARY KIRK: “As an anaesthetist I feel I am taking over the parental responsibility for the child during surgery. It is my job to make sure the chid is cared for and pain free, and to be ‘all seeing’ during surgery. I’ve worked with Tim Theologis for 12 years now, so we are a bit like an old married couple.” Consultant Paediatric Anaesthetist, was the anaesthetist for Mya’s surgery
  • ZOE WALKER: “I was in charge of monitoring her patient pathway which includes ensuring all treatments took place in the correct timeframe.” Senior pathway co-ordinator and administration lead, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Been at the trust for five years
  • PENNY WRIGHT: “I booked the pre-operative assessments and would have put Mya on the waiting list for her appointments, and booked follow-up appointments following surgery.” Paediatric Co-ordinator, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre Been at the trust for 14 years
  • ALISON SHARRARD: “I really don’t think people realise quite how many individuals are involved with the care of each patient, from the admin side, through to cleaners and kitchen staff.” Senior staff nurse, Tom’s Ward, Children’s Hospital Worked at trust for 23 years
  • AMY ROWLAND: “People always imagine a children’s hospital to be a sad place, but it is actually mostly a very happy place and the job is incredibly rewarding. The vast majority of children that we treat go home better.” Staff nurse, Tom’s Ward, Children’s Hospital Worked at trust for four years
  • CRAIG WALSH: “I have worked in every department at the children’s hospital, but being the clinical nurse specialist for paediatric orthopaedics is something I really enjoy.” Clinical nurse specialist, Children’s Hospital Worked for the trust for nine years
  • KERRIE WIGGINS: “My role is to play with children, from little ones to older children, and be company as well as practical help for them.” Nursery nurse, Tom’s Ward, Children’s Hospital Been at the trust for five years

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