Autism Parenting

Autism Diagnosis Journey: Our Experience of the Portland Hospital #ad

This post has been brewing for months, I’ve wanted to write it so many times but haven’t managed to. Then I was contacted last week and asked to share my family’s experience of the Portland Hospital, which was a rather nice coincidence. 

our daughter with angry eczema on her face

I’ve written before about our eldest daughter’s eczema, food sensitivities and challenging behaviour. For almost five years our GP was un-supportive on this matter, advising to just keep her away from the foods that cause her problems, giving us the impression that there was nothing they could do about our situation. She has been on exclusion diets since she was two and a half, which has helped to a degree but hasn’t cleared the eczema up or stopped the violent outbursts. Then a chance encounter with a Health Visitor with a sympathetic ear last year finally got us a referral to see a Gastro-Paediatrician at our local hospital. A friend suggested seeing if hubby’s private medical insurance through work would speed things along a little, and we were fortunate enough to be able to use it. 

Dr. Sonny Chong – a top consultant in this field – would perform a colonoscopy, an endoscopy and various other tests under general anesthetic at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children. They would check for Coeliacs, Chron’s, Colitis, gut allergies, and anything else that could possibly be irritating our daughter from the inside. I was able to liaise with Dr. Chong’s secretary over email to book our daughter in, and it took less than a fortnight from sending the first email to the procedures taking place. 

I myself had terrible reflux as a child and various stomach complaints, which led to having major surgery at five and a half years old. I spent a lot of time in hospital during my early childhood. I can still smell the gas and remember the fear of ‘going under’, so as you can imagine I was understandably nervous for my girl. I needn’t have been though because The Portland took exceptionally good care of her. She really could not have been in safer hands.

one of the patches of eczema that we cannot get rid of, which are on both arms and legs

For all her behavioural problems, our daughter who had just turned five, was an absolute superstar throughout. She was nil by mouth from 4pm on the Friday, and the procedures were performed around lunchtime on the Saturday. She and my husband arrived almost two hours beforehand, but from what I hear she enjoyed having her own room and TV to watch what she liked and didn’t get bored. I was texting hubby throughout and it sounded very relaxed – she wasn’t scared at all which was the main thing. She was in theatre for less than an hour, and had a couple of hours to recover in her room afterwards. They also gave her a gorgeous blue toy bunny for being so brave, which she has become very attached to over the months. 

We were given some of the test results immediately and thankfully all the big bowel diseases were ruled out there and then. We had our follow up appointment with Dr. Chong about a month later and were told that she is not a coeliac, and she does not have any gut allergies either. Dr. Chong is a very thorough man, and wasn’t prepared to just leave it at that. He ordered another round of non-invasive tests to check for lactose, sucrose and fructose tolerance.

As all the tests so far have come back within normal range, Dr. Chong has advised that the next step will be to refer our daughter to a dermatologist to get some answers about her eczema. He said that her challenging behaviour could be linked to being in such discomfort from it all the time. Dr. Chong has taken our worries seriously and put our minds at ease every step of the way, and I honestly cannot fault him.  Our next appointment is at the end of this week, and I have full faith that he’ll help us get to the bottom of what is going on with our troubled little girl. 

recent photo taken of 5yo with her Portland bunny

“The Portland Hospital specialises in Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and is the UK’s largest private children’s hospital supported by a dedicated paediatric intensive care unit, over 60 paediatric beds and more than 120 consultant paediatric specialists. Our paediatric services complement our maternity and women’s health departments.

As the only fully private maternity hospital in the UK, The Portland Hospital places emphasis on safety and quality; with over 2,000 deliveries a year our ethos is to put women at the centre of their own care with the highest standards in healthcare quality and safety. We have a reputation for providing the highest quality treatment for patients supported by state-of-the art diagnostic facilities including MRI, CT and Interventional Radiology.”

This post was written in collaboration with The Portland Hospital. Click here for my disclosure policy

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Full time wife and mummy to three, home educator, blogger, wannabee chef and published author. Follow me on my journey through life...

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  1. mummytries says:

    They were absolutely first class Michelle, really can’t fault them x

  2. mummytries says:

    I’m so pleased your hubby has found something that works hon, hope he continues to see improvements. Apparently it’s only performed on over 12’s, so no good for my little minx sadly xx

  3. mummytries says:

    They have been incredible Vicki! This being a sponsored post is a sheer fortunate coincidence as I was planning on writing it anyway 🙂 gotta love blogging at times like this xx

  4. mummytries says:

    Oh hon I really hope your little lady is on the mend soon! Do you give her probiotics? Might help heal her gut xx

  5. mummytries says:

    Oh you poor thing! It’s so ironic to be given a cream to clear up a skin complaint only for it to irritate your skin even more 🙁 do you think yours might be food intolerance related?

  6. mummytries says:

    He really has been a star! Thanks so much for your kind words xx

  7. mummytries says:

    Thanks so much hon. Unfortunately we had to cancel our appt due to baby being unwell, but hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for another one xx

  8. mummytries says:

    It really has been a constant source of worry and stress since she was six weeks old and reacting to food through my breastmilk… But as I keep telling myself, it’s only food and could be soooo much worse!

  9. mummytries says:

    We were lucky enough to be covered under our private medical insurance! I can’t tell you what a difference it made going private. I love the NHS and think it’s amazing for big things, but they are totally swamped, so it’s good to have a back up plan for the smaller stuff (not that it feels small at all, but hopefully you know what I mean!)

  10. mummytries says:

    Food sensitivities are just the pits, I can only hope our kids grow out of them having been on such strict exclusion diets.

  11. mummytries says:

    It was a huge relief hon, i’d convinced myself that she either had Celiac’s or Chron’s. Just need to get to the bottom of her eczema now xx

  12. mummytries says:

    We really do have some striking similarities even though our childhoods were very different Denise! I’ve often wondered whether my operation and numerous procedures (mainly done under general anaesthetic back then) was due to Munchausen’s Syndrome. That’s a whole other post though…

  13. I’m so glad that you’re getting support with her eczema – the whole process must have been distressing for both of you but it sounds like Portland Hospital did their best to make it a positive experience x

  14. So glad you’re getting some very good attention, he sounds fantastic and I hope you get answers about your little girls eczema. My hubby is currently having the blue light therapy for his and he’s about halfway through and its working really well. He had one dose a few years back and its been positive both times. I’m not sure if its something thats suitable for kids but worth asking maybe? Good luck lovely x

  15. Wonderful to read such a positive, glowing review, I worked with them on a post recently, very impressed by everything I’ve read about them. I had Oliver at Queen Charlottes but had considered the Portland when were in London. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

  16. Thanks for sharing this, we’re going through similar issues at the moment with the eczema and reflux. My son was due to have similar procedures when he was 3 but he grew out of his symptoms and I hope Elsie will too. Fingers crossed you manage to get some solutions for your daughter soon x x

  17. I want to go here. I went to the doctor last Monday cuz I have itch and the skin around my eyes are swollen. They gave me cream and told me that nothing can be done with this problem. I bought the cream and its expensive thinking it will help and now my whole face is red and swollen and the area around my eyes are redder.

    I cant go back to the doctor as I dont have money to get new prescriptions.

    Sorry I am ranting. Its just that I wish our surgery just give more care. real human care =(


  18. Wow Renee you poor things, this must have all been really difficult for you. It sounds like you’ve got an amazing consultant though who will help you find the cause of little ones’ upset. It must be so frustrating for you in the meantime. I hope you find answers soon xx

  19. I’m so glad you’ve had such a positive experience with the hospital, and fingers crossed for your appointment this week. It must be so stressful and upsetting to know that there is something wrong, but not what it is. It’s reassuring to know that this Doctor is taking your concerns seriously x

  20. You must all have been under so much pressure and stress about this. I’ve heard other stories from friends about food and skin problems that just haven’t been taken seriously enough and it’s terrible for all concerned. So glad that you feel encouraged by your experiences and I hope you get some answers soon.

  21. So glad everything has come up clear so far. I used to work just round the corner from the Portland and my friend has had both her babies delivered there which cost her an arm and a leg!!! Fingers crossed you get some answers about her eczema, my little one suffers from it too and if this latest bout doesn’t clear up properly, I’m going to ask to be referred to a dermatologist! #sharewithme

  22. So glad you had a positive experience especially when it has to do with children it can be so tricky and scary for them already. We have had numerous trips with Buba to hospitals so I know the score. Great post. Thanks so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  23. So glad that your daughter’s trip to the Portland Hospital was such a positive experience and all the big bowel diseases and tests have been normal. Hope all goes well with her next appointment and that you can get some answers which will help improve things for your little girl x

  24. Good luck with this. I know you have waited a long time and it is a complicated problem your little one has.

    I don’t know if I told you I went to hospital when I was 6? I stayed for about 3 months. In my case, it wasn’t a real thing, it was a psychological thing caused by my mum’s overreactions. It’s interesting to think about the effects that removal from the home environment into a hospital has.

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