Island’s children hit harder by asthma
Bermuda’s children suffer from higher rates of asthma and urinary infections, a top US doctor said yesterday.
Dr Stuart Bauer, of Boston Children’s Hospital, added that urinary tract infections — including reflux, where urine backs up into the kidneys and can cause kidney failure — and asthma are more common on the Island than in the US.
He was speaking as a team of paediatric specialists from the hospital prepared to hold a two-day seminar for Island doctors and nurses to promote better links and childcare.
Dr Bauer, a 37-year-veteran of the Harvard University teaching hospital, said: “The pulmonary specialist said that asthma is much more common in Bermuda than what he generally sees.
“From my point of view as a urologist, given the size of the population and the number of patients I see with urological problems, urinary tract infections and reflux are probably more common than in an across-the-board area with 60-odd thousand people elsewhere.”
But he added: “Perhaps it’s more prevalent because they are much better clinical observers.”
He explained that urinary reflux was seen in about one percent of the population in the US.
“It seems to be a bit higher in Bermuda,” he said. “If you detect it and manage it carefully the children don’t get repeated infections or damage to the kidneys — damage to the point where they need transplantation.
“It’s generally due to an anatomical problem — they’re born that way. They often present with urinary infections or show swelling of the kidneys on a prenatal ultrasound scan.”
And Dr Bauer said that the standard of child healthcare on the Island was high.
“It’s a very stable population — all the paediatricians are very good and I know a number of them come to Boston’s Children’s Hospital to learn some new things when we have postgraduate courses so they remain up-to-date in their abilities,” he said.
“If we can train more people to do various kinds of testing that are relatively easy to do on the Island, it would help reduce the need to send children up for relatively simple things.
“I think the care of the paediatricians here is great — in general, they are very good.”
And he said that the quality of care in Bermuda could be judged by “the timing of referrals.”
“I have always been impressed — they send the patients for further investigation at the right time,” Dr Bauer said. “The paediatricians here are all exceptional. I can’t say the same for other places we also see people from.”
Dr Bauer is in Bermuda with seven other specialists covering various specialities and paediatric nurses for the seminar, to be held today and Saturday at the Hamilton Princess.
“The purpose of the visit is to help improve our relationship with our doctors and primary care practitioners in Bermuda,” he said.
“With Children’s Hospital, we have a great resource in Boston with all the specialists and everything and we’re trying to improve efficiency in patient care and help the doctors here who see children.
“At the same time, we want to help them manage children in a better way so they don’t have to go off Island until we have exhausted all the resources there are in Bermuda.
“If this is successful, we have other specialists, so we can have somebody with diabetes experience talk about it if that’s what the paediatricians want.”
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