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Cardiologist recruits superheroes to help families

Tuesday October 27th, 2015

A London cardiologist has been involved in preparing a superhero comic book - aimed at helping his patients.

Cardiologist Dr Simon Gibbs, from the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, was recruited to help prepare the "Medikidz Explain Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension" publication.

The booklet seeks to explain the disease to children.

It uses a team of superheroes to transport a young boy - based on a real life son of a patient - into a supersized model of a patient's body.

Dr Gibbs said the disease affects twice as many women as men - and is often diagnosed in young women just after they start a family.

He said: "Sadly, young women often find out they have this disease just after they have started a family and realise they cannot easily run around after their young children without getting out of breath."

The book was inspired by Jocelyn Barker, now aged 53, who was diagnosed in 1995 just after the birth of her second child. Her son Caleb, now aged 22, features in the book.

She went on to have a lung transplant.

She said: “My son Caleb and I came up with the scenario for the book and it is based on his experiences of being a child whose parent has been diagnosed with PAH.

“When we sat down to think of a scenario Caleb said that as a child he became worried about me if we were out shopping and I became very breathless when climbing stairs or slopes. He said people would stare and he would be very concerned that I was becoming very poorly or even dying.

“My husband and I made the decision as parents to tell our children the truth and we always tried to explain to them, in an age appropriate way, what was wrong with me. However, now with the prevalence of the internet, children can often source incorrect or out of date information about diseases which can often lead to them feeling unnecessarily concerned or upset. That’s why I think the Medikidz comic book is such a great idea.

"It explains to children in a clear, simple and factual way what PAH is and the hospital process."

Tags: Child Health | Heart Health | UK News

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