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Kids With Cameras: Diary of a Children's Ward (video)

Published: Mon 04 Aug 2014

Kids With Cameras: Diary of a Children's Ward
Starts Thursday 7 August at 9pm on ITV
Watch and embed this video on your website. Simply play and click on the embed icon upper right to copy the embed code.  
It is every parent's greatest fear to have a child in hospital but what is it really like for the children? In a new, groundbreaking ITV series, over 100 youngsters at Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle were asked to record their experiences of hospital, from their point of view. In an unprecedented step cameras were given to the children and the resulting videos, providing their unique perspective, are woven into this brand-new series. 
Children aged six to 16 talk to the cameras about their illnesses, they interview their parents and record themselves undergoing treatment, eating, playing, taking medication, interacting with medical staff. Whether they are in hospital for an everyday injury, major surgery or life-threatening illness, the videos are surprisingly funny, as well as honest and moving. Over three programmes, the series provides an intimate look and fresh insight into what it’s really like to be a child in hospital.  
In the first programme, we meet a six-year-old with anaemia who needs regular blood transfusions, an eight-year-old boy who is suffering with severe eczema, a young girl who has been seriously ill with a brain infection, a girl with juvenile arthritis who is a regular outpatient and we also hear from lots of other children as well. 
Isaac, eight, has spent the last six weeks in hospital after suffering a flare-up of eczema caused by a severe reaction to food. Isaac has to be bandaged 24 hours a day and take a cocktail of drugs to control the condition.  
Describing his treatment in his video diary, he says: “I’ve just got me bandages done, they are all sparkly. It feels nice because I don’t have to scratch no more and make myself angry.  Like I scratch and then I can’t stop, can I mam?”
Isaac hasn’t been able to eat since he arrived at hospital and is on a milk formula fed directly to his stomach. 
“The worst thing is not eating,” he tells the camera. “It’s the worst thing in my life. 
“I miss chips and chicken they are my favourite.”
Doctors at the hospital are hoping to find a food type that is safe for him to eat. They discharge him with a plan that introduces specific foods back into his diet, including his favourite - chicken. But just a week later Isaac is back in hospital as the chicken has exacerbated his eczema. Isaac is upset but the doctors agree he can try having a bit of cabbage. Unlike most eight-year-old boys, on hearing this news, Isaac is delighted.
Six-year-old Samuel has anaemia and has been a regular visitor to the hospital since he was three months old.  He has to have monthly blood transfusions and has a permanent portacath in the side of his chest - a small appliance under the skin connected to a vein where medicine or blood can be given.
Although only six, Samuel has begun to realise he is different to his friends and to his younger brother. 
He says: “My friends don’t have portacaths in and they’re not poorly likely me and they don’t have to go to hospital like me as well.”
He records one of his regular trips to hospital for a much-needed blood transfusion. He is so tired before getting the blood he can hardly keep his eyes open during the consultation, but afterwards he is full of life again and races around the hospital corridors. 
He tells the camera: “I’ve nearly finished my blood transfusion, that one on the left is my second one (bag of blood). I feel loads, loads, loads, loads, loads, loads better.”
Josslyn, seven, was rushed into hospital after an infection in her eye spread to her brain. She was put in an induced coma and a tube was inserted near her eye to drain the infection. She has been taking strong antibiotics ever since and after three weeks is getting ready to go home. She explains to the camera how she fell ill. 
She says: “I was in that ambulance because I was really, really, really poorly and in there they had special machines to keep me alive and breathing.
“I got rushed up to Great North Newcastle Hospital for children and I was in an induced coma and intensive care and then I ended up in this.”
Josslyn films a nurse taking blood from her and giving her medication. Her diary also reveals that despite everything she has been through, the thing she is most scared of is having a sticking plaster taken off her arm. 
Tyrone, 13, has asthma and is a regular at the hospital. He has spent two weeks there this time after having a massive asthma attack. After repeated tests, hourly nebulisers and large doses of steroids he is still not well enough to go home. However there are some parts of hospital that Tyrone enjoys - the food and the TV. 
He says: “I’m still really wheezy as you can hear, but I’m not really that bothered because I get free food and I’ve got the Sky TV over there. It’s a pretty good life I say.”
Nine-year-old Amelia has juvenile arthritis in her joints and was in constant pain when she was younger. She has to have regular injections for her condition where a big needle is inserted through a portacath in her chest.  
The night before going into hospital she says: “I’ve just had my bath and got ready for bed. It’s hospital tomorrow, that means a needle. I have to have a needle. I feel a bit nervous but I don’t have to be scared.”   
Notes to Editors
Made by Liberty Bell.
Great North Children’s Hospital is one of the biggest children’s health service providers outside of London and treats 80,000 patients every year.