Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Hypnotherapy on a burn patient

A week ago, she was burnt by hot cooking oil. She was only 19 years old, the eldest girl. Her father died three years ago of cancer. She was cooking for the family and forgot about the oil she left on the fire. Without realizing the danger, she threw the food into the super heated oil and caused a major splash. She got burnt moderately on the left side of her face which thankfully did not damage her eye, however, her left arm, left legs and feet/toes were the worst affected. She is recovering well, but in pain and is given morphine every 4 hours.

I went to see her at the tail end of her 4 hourly morphine dose. She was quite alert, aware and coherent, although she was talking to me in a baby like voice. I had earlier gone to see her about three hours ago to assess her situation and briefly discussed her case with LCCH CEO/Director of Studies Peter Mabbutt to get some advice. I again explained to her this time about hypnosis and she agreed to try it. Fortunately, no one was in the room with us and I started without induction.  I used a story telling method and brought her into her favourite place.  As I was counting down, she complained about pain in her left arm, I continued to deepen her to her favourite place. Up to this point, things were going quite well until I mistakenly mentioned warm white instead of healing white light, which she responded to pain in her left arm where the burn was quite severe. I realized that anything to do with heat would provoke her memory. I was worried if I should have used the healing white light script at all, since light can be related to heat and that was not good for this patient. I quickly changed it to healing white light and repeated the words ‘healing white light’ as often as possible until she was relaxed and seem to reduce the pain. I then took a long pause since she was calm and for me to recover from her pain reaction. I then asked her to go to the control room and changed the setting of the pain to bearable. She did it and went into deep sleep for about 20 minutes. She was breathing normally and the shivering of her left hand had stopped. By then her mother had come in to witness this. As she woke up, she said the pain went away for a short while. She then asked her mother to get the nurse for her morphine. While the mother had gone to get the nurse, I again got the patient to go to the control room to control the pain. This time she went very quickly and was in deep sleep again in less than 2 minutes.

When the mother came back after a while, she was surprised that her daughter was resting well again. She woke up 15 minutes later due to the voice of the nurse and her mother entering the room through a noisy sliding door. However, she did not ask her mother and the nurse for her morphine. I said my goodbyes and left the room soon after, feeling good about myself. On the way down the elevator, looking at my reflection on the shinny door, I said to myself “great job Terence!”

By : Peter Terence D’Cruz
LCCH Dip 8

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