HG Hero - Dr Stephen Granier. Whiteladies Medical Practice
HG veteran Natalie Farrell has nominated Dr Stephen Granier, the GP that cared for her during her last pregnancy four years ago. Having been through two previous hyperemesis pregnancies in London and Bristol, of Dr Granier's care Natalie says “He just blew me away with his care – I thought it was outstanding.
Natalie's pregnancy was horrendous. By week ten she had already tried combinations of at least ten anti-emetics and been in and out of hospital countless times. It is a story many of my readers will be familiar with, but not so many will have a tale of compassion and care to tell, which ultimately made the horrors so much more bearable. So what was it that Dr Granier did that made such a difference to Natalie?
Well, for a start, between weeks six and nine, the worst points for Natalie, he never made her come in to the surgery to see him. He was confident to talk to Natalie on the phone and to assess her symptoms by trusting what she was telling him. Natalie says “Dr Granier is the only GP who has never made me actually go down to the surgery to 'prove' how ill I am in person!”, a common issue reported by hyperemesis sufferers.
“At the start of week six, we worked out an HG management strategy on the phone together. If I got to +2 ketones on the Ketostix, I would call him, he would call the ward and I would go in for fluids.” Natalie says. “He believed me and how ill I was. He trusted me that I knew what I was doing having been through it twice before. He never questioned how sick I was. This strategy worked like a charm, it wasn't all stressful for me, he smoothed the way so I could get the care I needed when I needed it. Just what every HG sufferer needs!”
As so many of you know and I have written about previously, being believed is really crucial and makes such a big difference to the sufferer.
Dr Granier advocated for me too. He liaised with the medical team treating me while I was in hospital. I can't even remember the name of the consultant, which shows how memorable his care was!” Natalie recalls. At twelve weeks the hospital registrar wanted to stop her steroid treatment well before the sickness was controlled. However Dr Granier advocated for her and arranged to continue the prescriptions until the sickness was controlled enough to come off them safely.
Well you all know my views on the need for advocacy for HG sufferers and I really think that healthcare professionals should take a more active role in speaking up for patients. I see it as a key element of professional nursing though sadly it doesn't happen enough.
Natalie goes on to describe how Dr Granier empowered her in her own care particularly around tweaking medication doses based on what was working and what wasn't. He never questioned the safety of the medications to her – a common strategy of healthcare professionals which is highly unprofessional and serves only to add to the stress of the patient. Instead he checked with hospital colleagues and ensured all bases we're covered with appropriate blood tests and ongoing monitoring.
Natalie goes on to describe more ways that Dr Granier helped “He gave care over and above what is expected of a GP. On one occasion he was away from the surgery yet ensured I was able to contact him if necessary. That way, if I had needed to go in for fluids, it could easily be arranged... I mean seriously, that is something else. He wasn't even in the office and I could still contact him. Amazing!”
“He was at all times sympathetic, caring and supportive. He was genuinely concerned for my physical and emotional well being.” says Natalie.
On top of this excellent care, Natalie recalls that Dr Granier was also humble and gracious, genuinely not appreciating that his care, which comes as standard, made such an incredible difference to the suffering of one woman. This was confirmed to me with recent email communication with Dr Granier as I contacted the surgery for permission to use his picture. Although delighted with his HG Hero recognition he states “I do not feel that I deserve special attention as I was just doing what I would ordinarily do for someone going through such a difficult experience”
“YAY!” for the Dr Granier's of the world, though few and far between they are slowly but surely making compassionate and kind care “ordinary”, as it should be. And although they can't help all the sufferers of the world they can certainly make the world of difference to some.