An investigated case study highlights the vital importance of education surrounding the index of suspicion from both the patient’s occupants and health care providers. The situation is as follows: a 13 year old aboriginal boy living in a small town in New South Wales presented to the GP, alongside his grandmother, with complaints of lethargy and pain in his ankles and knees. It was raised by the grandmother, that he had been unwell for some time. An elevated leukocyte count was detected upon this account and as appears no treatment regime was given. Six months later the patient was again reviewed for similar complaints of pain and fever. The two family friends accompanying him said they had ...view middle of the document...
If such episodes of ARF can be prevented then the possibility of the development of severe RHD, with the requirement for surgery to repair or replace damaged heart valves or other interventions, is reduced (Remond, Wheaton, Walsh, Prior, & Maguire, 2012).
During a study reviewing the severity and morbidity of ARF and RHD for children with significant cardiac disease in NZ, the calculated hospital cost for the two year period was $1,918,600 or nearly $1,000,000 per year (Gilbert et al., 2011). This involves both medical and surgical administration. It was estimated that the cardiac ward costs $1200/night, the peadiactric intensive care unit, $4700/night and the theatre costs $2700/hour (Gilbert et al., 2011). These expenses are able to be reduced with prompt treatments and management. Early identification of ARF and provision of secondary prophylaxis with antibiotics is therefore paramount and needs to be voiced by health providers. Due to the lower socioeconomic status of those most at risk, these expenses are daunting and may be reason for neglect of treatments. In the long run this will only account for a higher cost of treatment for an initially preventable illness (Remond et al., 2012). This needs to be promoted by health care professionals, along with the health risks involved, the cost and the possibility for prevention.
The high prevalence of ARF and RHD is a descriptor of current and unacceptable socioeconomic inequality within NZ (Hale & Sharpe, 2011). Education needs promotion surrounding this concern so awareness is established and medical help can be sought when needed. It is also a crucial role for health care professionals, including paramedics, to utilise any interaction with people at a higher risk of ARF and RHD, as an opportunity to discus basic foundations of both diseases, inclusive of preventable measures to avoid contamination of GAS and the spreading of the infection, common signs and symptoms, and facilities which provide assistance for such medical administration (Hale & Sharpe, 2011). NZ is not a third world country and should not be plagued with associated conditions. With acknowledgement and future development this preventable disease will be seen to decline if not be eradicated to lift the burden for future generation.
Gilbert, O., Wilson, N., & Finucane, K. (2011). Early cardiac morbidity of rheumatic fever in children in New Zealand. The New Zealand Medical Journal, 124(1343), 57.
Hale, M., & Sharpe, N. (2011). Persistent rheumatic fever in new zealand--a shameful indicator...