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Meet Dougie – lover of nature, animals and just being outdoors!

03 January 2023

Meet Dougie – lover of nature, animals and just being outdoors!

Eight-year-old Dougie was diagnosed with gastroparesis and global bowel dysmotility when he was just a year old.

Gastroparesis is a long-term condition where the stomach cannot empty in the normal way. This means food passes through the stomach slower than usual and for Dougie, this resulted in chronic constipation and daily episodes of vomiting.

Having global bowel dysmotility means Dougie’s intestines aren’t efficiently pushing food through his gastrointestinal tract – the very long tube that contains the stomach, large intestine, and small intestine.

In search of help with Dougie’s deteriorating health since his birth, his parents got in touch with Professor Mike Thomson, a Paediatric Gastroenterologist at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. The family travelled to the hospital from their home in Hull, where Professor Thomson immediately diagnosed Dougie with gastroparesis. Professor Thomson then arranged for him to have a feeding tube inserted within weeks.

Kerry, Dougie’s mum, said: “Without a doubt, this saved not only Dougie’s life, but our mental states too. Not knowing what was wrong with our son made us feel helpless and extremely frustrated. Professor Thomson listened and helped us understand the problem and immediately created a plan to fix it.”

Due to his gastroparesis, Dougie has had suffered from numerous bowel obstructions – where poo is unable to pass through the body and can cause tummy pain, nausea and vomiting. To remove the obstructions, Dougie has undergone surgeries at Sheffield Children’s.

Recently his symptoms got worse, and Dougie had an anterior cecostomy (ACE) tube inserted into the top of his large intestine. This is a procedure where the bowel can be emptied by passing fluid through a surgically created tube or ‘tract’, from an opening on the outside of the tummy directly into the bowel. This means Dougie’s parents can flush water through the tube at home, helping him to empty his bowel every day.

Kerry said: “Since having the ACE tube inserted, Dougie’s quality of life has been amazing. He used to be in pain and feel sick all the time and he could only walk short distances. He’s now full of energy and we’ve been able to get out more and enjoy life!

“We want to raise awareness of gastroparesis and the impact it has on both the child and the family. Dougie was also diagnosed with multiple allergies at three months old. Contact with allergens, and even people who’ve touched allergens, can have a big impact on his body as it causes his immune system to react and his stomach to quickly stop absorbing feed. Dougie is home schooled due to complications of his condition; however, his uniqueness and loving nature makes him the most incredible brave soul who just loves people and everyone at Sheffield Children’s.

“Despite living in Hull and travelling to Sheffield for treatment, we wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. It’s warming, welcoming, professional, and we owe a lot to the hospital. I did The Children’s Hospital Charity Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge a couple of years ago to raise funds as a way to thank them for all of the incredible work done. And Dougie loves it – he loves the nurses and doctors and could never say a bad word about it.”

Thank you, Dougie and Kerry, for sharing your experience at Sheffield Children’s and raising awareness of gastroparesis.

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