Brave Boy

April 12, 2011 § 4 Comments

Photo by Øystein Horgmo © All rights reserved.

From time to time we’re called on to photograph different medical technical equipment in a clinical setting. It can be a new device that’s being introduced or a demonstration of proper use. This time it was the correct placement of the tubes from a heart-lung support machine to a nine-year-old boy.

Shooting equipment in the pediatric ICU (PICU) almost always involves a real patient. A critically ill child and his or her parents.  I greet the parents silently and they leave the room. I shoot the photos I need, making sure that the child can not be identified in the photos. The job is done. I know nothing about the patient and when the photos are sent away it’s all soon forgotten.

But in this case it turned out the job wasn’t done. A couple of weeks later the PICU called me up again and asked me if I remembered shooting a heart-lung machine. “The boy who was connected to that machine is now up and about, and we wondered if you could take some pictures of him. To show how happy things can turn out.” We arranged for him and his parents to come by the studio the next day.

When they turned up at our reception he was beaming in a brand new sweatsuit. “Well, it’s certainly nice to see you walking around,” I exclaimed. “Yes, and it’s only three weeks since his operation,” his nurse said. “So, what kind of operation did you have then?” I asked him. Too shy to answer, he just smiled and looked at his mother. “He got a new heart,” she said.

The Norwegian TV station TV2 is currently running a series called “Livet på vent” (Life on Hold) about transplant patients. A transplant surgeon told me that after the series went live the supply of organs has skyrocketed. Let’s make sure it stays that way.

Learn more about organ donation:

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