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Specialised neurological care closer to home for Townsville three-year-old Nate

Published:  05 July 2024

When three-year-old Nate Clelland first became unwell, his condition deteriorated quickly.
His family brought him to Townsville University Hospital (TUH) where it became clear he was suffering from several concerning neurological symptoms.
Thanks to an early diagnosis by paediatric neurologist Dr Trupti Jadhav, Nate was treated for Guillain Barre Syndrome, and made a quick recovery within a couple of weeks.
“While it was very scary for my husband and I to navigate this with our little boy, we were so grateful for the timely and prompt care he received,” she said.
“We were thankful to learn that Dr Trupti had only in the preceding months joined the hospital as a specialised paediatric neurologist.”
Dr Trupti Jadhav is the first paediatric neurology specialist at TUH.
Dr Trupti said having a local neurology service for children has been long awaited by the north Queensland community.
“My goal is to build a paediatric neurology unit at TUH so all investigations and interventions can be done locally,” she said.
“Because the burden of travelling to Brisbane and the impact on families cannot be understated.
“There is immense potential for our hospital to grow and expand its resources so that more of our patients can access local care, especially across our rural and remote communities.”
Clinical director of paediatrics Dr Andrew White said the need for local paediatric specialists had become increasingly important as neurological care continued to grow in complexity.
“We are delighted that Dr Trupti could join our team this year, moving from a position in Melbourne children’s hospital,” he said.
“Her arrival means specialist care is available locally and patients like Nate don’t have to be transferred to Brisbane or talk to a specialist on telehealth.
"In the last three years the Townsville Hospital and Health Service has supported developments in local paediatric specialists in cardiology and respiratory medicine, and we are looking to do more in neurology.”
Jessica Clelland said the treatment her son received in Townsville was a blessing to her family.
“Nate spent his third birthday in hospital; he has two sisters, and it was special for the girls to be able to visit and see for themselves that Nate was improving and to celebrate his birthday with him,” she said.
“There truly isn’t anything like being able to spend some time at home for a sense of normalcy at a time when your child is unwell and in hospital.”
Nate spent eight days in hospital but required ongoing treatment after he was discharged.
“It's a huge asset to the families of north Queensland to have a local neurologist, and hopefully we'll see the paediatric neurology unit grow here in Townsville.”

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