‘Cat scratch’ work earns student memorial prize

The 2008 Paul Lock Memorial Prize, awarded to support paediatric care in North Devon, has been won by a medical student for work on ‘cat scratch’ disease.

The condition typically causes lesions or bumps on the skin and swollen lymph nodes, then headaches, joint pain and flu-like symptoms that can last several weeks. Rare cases can be more serious.

As the name suggests, the cause is often a scratch or bite from a cat. Children and young people are particularly vulnerable.

Katy Walsh, a student at University College London Medical School, carried out the work  while on attachment at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH). She became interested after being involved in the treatment of a 14-month-old baby, which prompted her to follow up the patient’s progress and present a case review and latest research to the whole department.

Consultant Paediatrician Jonathan Walsh said: “It was a particularly unusual case, and Katy’s observations should provide a very valuable record as and when we deal with cases in the future.

“We’re also very pleased that she found her experience of children’s care here in Barnstaple so rewarding that she is seriously considering paediatrics as a career.”

The Paul Lock Memorial Prize is awarded each year – this is the second – to mark the life of Dr Paul Lock, a fondly-remembered junior doctor at NDDH whose life was tragically cut short in 1998.

The fund established in his name aims to support paediatric care by encouraging  personal and collective achievement and development. It is particularly focused on the initiatives of junior doctors and nursing staff.

This year’s accompanying memorial lecture was delivered by Dr Tom Hilliard, Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician, and his colleague Hayley Smith, both from Bristol Children’s Hospital. They looked at current practices in long-term ventilation – especially  the vital assistance provided at home to children who need breathing support so they can live as normal a life as possible.

Chris and Gwen Lock, Paul’s parents and the driving force behind the fund, said: “Paul would be delighted to be associated with the wonderful work being highlighted by this event. It is pleasing that it has not only brought together doctors and nursing staff from across many disciplines within the hospital, but also attracted several local GPs.

“We look forward to the opportunity to continue our support of paediatric care in North Devon over the years ahead.”

From left to right = Caroline Fitton (daughter), Gwen Lock, Hayley Smith, Tom Hilliard and Chris Lock

Posted in News.

Last updated: March 6, 2018