Two thumbs up for this healthcare hero!

With big things happening every day in hospital, sometimes the smaller procedures can get overlooked – like 10-year-old Taylor’s visit to Queensland Children’s Hospital for a broken thumb.

Taylor had taken a fall swinging on his chair at Christmas lunch which caused a fracture in his thumb. With no experience in the hospital prior to this visit, to say Taylor was filled with some apprehension would be an understatement.

“He was worried—overwhelmed, unsettled, and unsure,” Katherine, Taylor’s mum, said.

“He needed his cast changed, and then eventually removed, and the fear of not knowing the process really affected him.”

Enter Andy Sullivan, Orthopaedic Technician.

Operating behind the front-line healthcare workers and specialists, Andy’s role in the hospital is to support patients who have fractures, injuries or diseases that affect the bone. This includes the application and removal of casts.

Right away, Taylor knew that Andy would look after him and his worry subsided. Focussing on the positives, and talking with Taylor through the whole process, the treatment Taylor received from Andy made him feel like a VIP patient.

From the outside looking in, Katherine was relieved to see how instantly at ease Taylor was with Andy.

“It was like they already knew each other,” she said.

Relative to some of the other procedures which take place at the Queensland Children’s Hospital, Taylor’s cast application may have been small, but Andy provided the same level of care he gives to each and every one of his patients – making the time to connect with Taylor and giving him the confidence to overcome his fear of the hospital.

“It was so refreshing for Taylor to be at the centre of his own care. Andy made it his mission to remove the fear factor,” Katherine said.

When it came time for cast removal, Taylor walked into the room and was ecstatic to see Andy as his technician for the day.

Introducing Taylor to the cast saw, playfully called the ‘tickle machine’, Andy demonstrated that despite the look of the sharp blade, it could only cut plaster. Andy also encouraged Taylor to speak up if there was any discomfort during the removal process.

While the ‘tickle machine’ lived up to the name, there were times when Taylor told Andy that the machine was a little warm. At this, Andy stopped, removed the cast saw and let it cool down, discussing things like hobbies and school, before proceeding.

What stuck with Taylor and Katherine was the level of attention from Andy, prioritising his patients’ comfort. Katherine said that if – touch wood – the time came where Taylor had to go back into hospital, that his experience with Andy would give him the confidence to comfortably do so.

Andy’s attitude is thanks to a career that has taught him to remain upbeat and keep a patient-centred approach.

“You have to treat people with respect and dignity no matter who they are—if they’re a young child with their first broken bone or a sports person on to their umpteenth,” Andy said.

“Everything I do throughout the day is to make sure that anyone who comes through those doors has a positive experience.

“My nomination was a big surprise, out of the blue, and I really appreciate Katherine and Taylor thinking about how I’ve looked after Taylor.”

QSuper’s partnership with Juiced TV gives children and their families within Queensland hospitals the opportunity to both acknowledge and thank their dedicated healthcare heroes.

Andy is one of many Super Heroes helping patients feel secure throughout their hospital experience. If you have a Super Hero at the hospital, help us to give them the recognition they deserve by nominating them for Juiced TV’s Super Hero Awards.