The first in an annual series of events was staged today (Fri) in memory of a children’s doctor at North Devon District Hospital.
Memorial prizes were awarded to paediatric staff and lectures delivered, in line with the aim of improving the care of children across North Devon over years to come.
The events will be run each year to mark the life of Dr Paul Lock, a junior doctor at the hospital and GP trainee, who died at the age of 29 in 1998.
His parents, Chris and Gwen, who set up the Paul Lock Memorial Fund, said: “We know he found his time in the paediatric unit especially fulfilling and, for this reason, we felt it should be the main focus of this fund in his memory.”
“It aims to sustain Paul’s memory by the recognition of achievement and the promotion of professionalism, as well as to provide relevant funding support to paediatric activities where it would not otherwise be available through NHS or other resources.”
Mr and Mrs Lock have been busy raising money for the fund, which is now a registered charity as part of the North Devon Medical research and Education Trust. Last summer, for example, Mr Lock raised £1,500 with a trek across Dartmoor.
Today’s inaugural event was held at the hospital’s Medical Education Centre, with Mr Lock handing out prizes to three paediatric staff for their project work above and beyond their everyday duties:
Staff Nurse Liz Mills, from the Special Care Baby Unit, for her work to strengthen the management of pain in newborn babies. She has produced new guidance for staff and information for parents, set up a special interest group and carried out research that shows the North Devon District Hospital unit to be best in the South West for managing pain.
Staff Nurse Yvonne Chamings, also from SCBU, for her work on the care of new babies born to mothers who use drugs. She has produced new guidance for staff and mapped out the care for pregnant drugs users, as well as devising information for patients and working directly with drug users who are pregnant, so they can avoid problems.
Dr Raghavendra Subba Rao, a doctor on rotation recently as part of his paediatric speciality training, took part in a national survey of all neonatal units on their use of polyethylene bags to keep premature babies warm, in line with guidance. The resultant study has been presented at a national conference, and is expected to be published in a national medical journal.
The two inaugural memorial lectures today, both on the vital issue of transferring babies from one hospital to another, were being delivered by specialists from Bristol.
Dr Jonathan Walsh and Dr Alan Bosley, consultant paediatricians at North Devon District Hospital, helped set up the memorial fund and organise today’s event.
Dr Bosley said: “Everyone here was devastated when Paul died, so it’s wonderful that Mr and Mrs Lock have been able to turn such a terrible thing into a positive for children in North Devon. Its a fitting tribute to a dedicated doctor, which we hope will bring real benefits over the years.”