A Day in the Life of Dr Irwin Gill

Consultant Paediatrician with special interest in Neurodisability, CHI at Temple Street

I arrive in Temple Street at 8am where I work as a Consultant Paediatrician, having recently returned home from Australia. I attend a hospital meeting to hear about any new patients, or any overnight events.

At 9.15am I chair the Rehabilitation Huddle, a meeting for the team providing rehabilitation to children with Acquired Brain Injury.  These injuries are most commonly caused by road traffic accidents or falls, but there are many other causes. After the Neurosurgical Team has managed the initial injury, rehabilitation begins.

Rehabilitation involves a team of expert nurses, therapists, doctors and others. It is about helping people overcome barriers to participating in activities which are important to them; this might include doing well at school, playing sports, or being more independent at home.

With many professions involved, rehab plans for young people can quickly become complex. We meet regularly to keep things coordinated and to discuss plans for each child.

At 10am I do a ward round with the medical team- we discharge children who are well enough to go home, and plan further treatment for those who aren’t quite ready yet.

Most patients admitted with acute illnesses get home quickly; those in hospital following brain injuries can be with us for months. The period following an injury is an important time where recovery can happen with the right rehabilitation support. This is an under-resourced area for children in Ireland.

Children often don’t look any different after a brain injury (it is sometimes referred to as an “invisible disability”) so it can sometimes be hard for friends and teachers to understand when there are problems. These can include tiredness, learning problems, low mood, headache, and difficulty controlling impulses.

At 1pm We break for lunch –  Temple Street’s canteen is great! The hospital is in an old building but has a special atmosphere.

Then at 1.30pm, the multidisciplinary Spina Bifida Team meet for our clinic. Ireland has a higher rate of spina bifida than almost any other country, and Temple Street is the national centre for their care. Children with spina bifida have many different doctors and therapists involved in their care, who all come together to one clinic to improve care and reduce separate appointments.

At 6pm when the clinic finishes I head for my bike or the DART, and home. I try to get to the gym, but the couch and a good book sometimes get the better of me.