Respiratory Syncytial Virus; Coronavirus Vaccine; Unnecessary Vaginal Examinations; Compassion Fatigue Feb. 4, 2020

from Inside Health· ·

It's not a household name but RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus is responsible for 30,000 children under five ending up in hospital every year in the UK. The virus can cause serious infections of the lungs and airways (like pneumonia and bronchiolitis). Hannah and Sean from Oxfordshire had baby girls, Millie and Freya, born prematurely in October last year. Just weeks later, the twins spent 12 days in intensive care and then 3 days in the high dependency unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford with bronchiolitis caused by RSV. Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at …



It's not a household name but RSV or Respiratory Syncytial Virus is responsible for 30,000 children under five ending up in hospital every year in the UK. The virus can cause serious infections of the lungs and airways (like pneumonia and bronchiolitis). Hannah and Sean from Oxfordshire had baby girls, Millie and Freya, born prematurely in October last year. Just weeks later, the twins spent 12 days in intensive care and then 3 days in the high dependency unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford with bronchiolitis caused by RSV. Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford tells James, the BBC's Science and Health Correspondent, about the dangers of RSV in lower income settings where the virus claims more babies' lives under 12 months old than any other disease apart from malaria. Hopes are that a vaccine for RSV to protect children during the vulnerable first years is imminent. And as one of the world's leading experts on vaccinations (and chair of the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) Professor Pollard tells James that he is confident that a vaccine for the coronavirus, which some experts have suggested could become a pandemic, could be developed by the end of this year. Inside Health regular contributor Dr Margaret McCartney raises the issue of unnecessary vaginal examinations. A new American study in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that more than half of the bimanual pelvic examinations performed on girls and women aged 15 to 20 in the USA are potentially unnecessary and could cause harm. The fact this is still routine for many American women contradicts clear guidance which states there is no evidence for such internal examinations to be carried out in healthy girls and women who don't have symptoms. It doesn't happen in the NHS, Margaret reports, but they are carried out in the private sector under the banner of "well women checks". Could you tell somebody that they were going to die? Could you comfort family members after their loved one has passed away? Crucially could you do this as part of your job, day in, day out, without it affecting you? James talks to nurses at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey which has been raising "compassion fatigue" as an occupational hazard within the profession. Producer: Fiona Hill