Since working in the Kitrinos clinic, I have regularly been faced with children and young people suffering from acute health issues. Recently, I was visited by a teenage girl who attended the clinic with her mother. Aside from listing the health issues that were a direct result of living in the harsh camp conditions, her mother told me about a lump in the girl’s breast which had been markedly growing in size for about 8 months. She had been promised by a previous NGO (whose clinic then shut down) that her daughter would be referred to the specialist for an assessment, but they were still waiting for the appointment. The girl stood patiently with her head bowed, but her mother couldn’t control her tears.
I told them both that in a teenage girl, the lump was highly likely to be benign, but this did little to reassure them. I explained that during the lockdown it would be very difficult for them to leave the camp to see a specialist. In fact, recently, I couldn’t even refer a boy with a subacute hernia to hospital for surgery, or another child who needed imaging for a suspected fracture.
However, thanks to a donated ultrasound machine, I was very happy to be able to offer my patient a sonographic examination in our clinic, which could then be remotely evaluated by a consultant radiologist in London.
It was good news: the specialist could say with certainty that the tumour was indeed harmless. After so much anxiety, the girl and her mother could finally cry with relief now they no longer had to fear the worst, and no longer had to consider breaking through the police barricades just to get to a hospital.