This article, from the journal Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, highlights the importance of education as well as the role of the patient and their family in the care of Anorectal Malformations.

Here’s the abstract of the paper:

During this early part of the 21st century online technology has prompted many major advances in medical care. In this section we argue that this is particularly evident in the treatment and care of patients born with Anorectal Malformation (ARM) and Hirschsprung’s Disease (HD). Our stories show that anyone born with these complex colorectal conditions in the 20th century was destined to a life of isolation and stigma. Here we explore the lack of understanding and recognition of the psychological effects on children and families which has characterised this period. We show that advances in clinical practice has been supported by developing social media platforms.

There has been a rapid creation of online support groups for patients and families which has enabled survivors’ greater access to patient and parent organizations across the globe and thereby stimulated a sense of belonging and solidarity. Online technology and social media platforms have also opened up the opportunity for pediatric medical professionals to provide a greater level of patient education.

There is no doubt families have become much more aware of the complexities of ARM & HD and achieved greater comfort and understanding of their needs. We have generated “lightbulb moments” for pediatric providers with adult ARM & HD patients, enabling them to share their lived experiences in a therapeutic exchange. In the past survivors felt they were abandoned by the adult healthcare system. We are seeing evidence-based research of major psychosocial issues experienced by adult patients and, as a result, improved understanding of how to treat ARM & HD survivors across their whole of life journey.

The winds of change continue to direct our cohorts to a mature approach based on improving levels of interactive communication and education. We argue that this maturity has mostly been facilitated by the use of online technology and the ensuing collaboration between providers and patient and
parent organizations.

Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, 29 (2020) 150990

You can download the PDF of the paper to learn more.