The pathology team at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital received a very special visit, when seven year old Zac joined the team to learn all about what happens behind the scenes of a hospital laboratory.
The visit was organised by the children’s community nursing team and pathology teams at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Harvey’s Gang, a non-profit organisation that helps to facilitate tours of hospital laboratories for unwell children who are frequently in hospital for treatment. The tours are set up to help young patients better understand their healthcare, demystify what happens in hospital and overcome any fears or concerns they may have.
Zac was diagnosed with an optic nerve glioma, a type of brain tumour, when he was just over a year old. Following surgery and ongoing chemotherapy at Great Ormond Street, Zac and his family moved to Hampshire last year, where he now receives regular blood tests and care from the community nursing and child health teams at Hampshire Hospitals.
Budding inventor Zac was joined on the tour by his father Colin, and got to visit different areas of the pathology department to watch the biomedical scientists work.
Every aspiring scientist needs their lab equipment, so as soon as they arrived at the hospital lab Zac was presented with his very own lab coat and goggles, provided by Harvey’s gang, to ensure he looked the part.
As part of the visit, senior biomedical scientist for haematology, Scott Norris, showed Zac how he and his team test blood, and demonstrated the technology they use to count blood cells using one of Zac’s own blood samples.
Colin Eckworth, Zac’s father, said: “Zac has been excited about this tour for weeks. He doesn’t enjoy having his blood taken, so this has really helped him to join the dots about what happens once the small sample is taken.
“Zac has been in and out of hospitals his whole life, so it’s been wonderful to be here for something fun and for Zac to be able to create positive memories and build up relationships with the team here. The staff have been fantastic, and we want to thank everyone involved for such a great afternoon.”
Alison Taylor, point of care testing manager at Hampshire Hospitals, which also runs hospitals in Andover and Winchester, said: “It’s been fantastic to welcome Zac and Colin to our labs and the whole team really enjoyed showing them around.
“Pathology plays a vital role in how we look after our patients, but we rarely get to meet the patients we are helping – visits like this not only help to support our patients, but it gives our staff a renewed sense of why they work so hard and do what they do. We are looking forward to welcoming more children and budding scientists into our labs in the future.”