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Hospital visit by reindeer sparks inquiry

Bosses of a Scottish healthcare trust have launched an inquiry after a reindeer was taken into a hospital to visit children shortly before Christmas.

A review was ordered by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) leaders after a hand-reared and vet-checked fawn was taken around several wards at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in the Yorkhill district of Glasgow.

The animal had been on display outside the children’s hospital as part of a charity event to celebrate Christmas when a staff member decided to take the animal inside to show some children.

The NHSGGC revealed the animal did not come into contact with any patients in isolation, but other patients petted it as it was paraded around the facility.

The trust said the staff member decided to take the reindeer into the hospital without the consent or knowledge of managers or senior clinical staff, but described the incident was “well intentioned”.

A statement from the trust said: “As such we conducted an internal review to learn lessons.

“At no time did the fawn urinate on a child and appropriate infection control procedures were taken with those children who petted the animal.

“The reindeer fawn did not go into any isolation cubicles or have contact with any patient in isolation.”

Readers' comments (82)

  • this is such a sweet but sad story, a member of staff does something that they know will cheer up sick children and an 'internal enquiry' follows.

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  • Matilda McCrrimmon

    Will enquiry be able to weigh up patient joy, increased recovery rate due to improved mood v small risk of infection . Bah humbug GGC

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  • what 'lessons' - children love animals and how magical it must have been for them to see a real reindeer at Christmas.

    did any of the parents complain? did any of the children complain?

    how is this any different to a patient or visitor being able to have their guide dog bought it or pets as therapy.

    maybe managers were not asked because they were off on their christmas holidays.

    where I work we have a lake nearby and every day see ducks, geese, swans, rabbits and all their babies walking and flying around, it's a great environment for patients and staff and I've never heard anything negative said about it.

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  • This nurse would have been welcomed with open arms by Santa at Christmas this year in Switzerland. I am sure he appreciates helpers who show initiative and kindness. (she obviously has far more than her share of the six 'C's!).

    Poor, unfortunate Santa was bereft of his reindeer because the government have just changed the law and as they were coming from France they had to go into quarantine instead of accompanying Santa on his rounds of the cities, towns and Christmas villages!

    I bet the UK post office does not have a Santa mail department. The Swiss post office employed six extra secretaries to sort answer 17,000 letters sent to him by children which he obviously couldn't deal with himself being too busy tramping around in deep snow without the assistance of his reindeer, although many donkeys, llamas and alpacas, goats and rabbits did all rally round to help him. cf the same applied to the Laplanders at the Christmas village in Montreux.

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  • “At no time did the fawn urinate on a child and appropriate infection control procedures were taken with those children who petted the animal'

    I hope the fawn washed its 'feet' and had a thorough bath when it returned home! More chance of passing on infection from visitors and staff not washing their hands than from the fawn -what a joke!

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  • Anonymous | 11-Jan-2013 1:07 pm

    as you say, hopefully the poor fawn came out of it all intact. It was probably at greater risk from hospital-induced infection.

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  • Pathetic as usual,get a life managers,always ready to condemn staff.This was a lovely idea and probably lifted spirits immensely.
    Once when i worked in ITU a patients dog visited a dying man,it meant the world to him.No-body got an infection after that. As usual mangers are panicking about their own backs,they are soul-less and lack compassion.

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  • tinkerbell

    how wonderful and magical for the children. Good medicine. a reindeer would never urinate on a child it is against their code of conduct.

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  • managers now trying to pin blame on a fawn - how delusional!

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  • "Hospital visit by REINDEER sparks inquiry
    11 January, 2013 | By The Press Association

    Bosses of a Scottish healthcare trust have launched an inquiry after a REINDEER was taken into a hospital to visit children shortly before Christmas.

    A review was ordered by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) leaders after a hand-reared and vet-checked FAWN was taken around several wards at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in the Yorkhill district of Glasgow."

    silly and misleading article. From the headline and subtitle one might imagine a full-sized adult reindeer from the wild, antlers and all , was doing the rounds of the wards. Then you start reading the report to discover it was only a harmless Bambi-like fawn which had been hand-reared and checked over by a vet!

    I bet the managers, if they were at work at all, made the poor little creature terrified of them.

    the following assumptions are also extremely odd and I just wonder what else was expected of it which it did not do - cough, sneeze, vomit.....

    “At no time did the fawn urinate on a child and appropriate infection control procedures were taken with those children who petted the animal.

    “The reindeer fawn did not go into any isolation cubicles or have contact with any patient in isolation.”

    Fawns are usually very sweet and well mannered and enchant many children and adults alike. Châpeau to the nurses for their initiative in helping bring pleasure to these sad children at Christmas.

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  • "A statement from the trust said: “As such we conducted an internal review to learn lessons."

    just wondering whether these hoped for lessons were learned and what these were and whether they will inform future practice?


    it emerged last night - the mind boggles and all that time without doing pipi! It was obviously very well house trained.

    "Reindeer taken on Christmas ward round at children's hospital
    A reindeer was taken round a number of wards at a children's hospital in the lead up to Christmas, it emerged last night."


    By Telegraph Reporters
    6:45AM GMT 11 Jan 2013


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/9794851/Reindeer-taken-on-Christmas-ward-round-at-childrens-hospital.html

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  • this is such a pathetic story why are we even bothering to reply. A member of staff did a very thoughtful thing, that should be the headline.

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  • hopefully the lessons they have learnt are

    - children don't want to be in hospital at christmas
    - reindeer and all baby deer are magical
    - the staff involved obviously have their patients best interest at heart and should be rewarded for their initiative
    - they (the trust) are now the laughing stock of the profession
    - they do it again next year

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  • maybe the only reason the managers are cross is because a member of staff showed kindness and initiative, something they obviously lack. they were probably angry that they were not consulted before this happened.

    an internal review - why?

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  • Anonymous | 12-Jan-2013 10:54 am

    a type of envy in a struggle for power as it is actually the nurses who hold the knowledge, skill and experience power as far as caring for patients is concerned? the only way they demonstrate who is boss is by attempting to assert their position.


    internal review as they such a compulsion to 'learn lessons', even though one never discovers what it is that they actually learn

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  • Omg!!

    Did that member of staff bring some joy & happiness to children & parents (and staff!) at Christmas time?

    Shame on them!

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  • Let's hope the manager's don't laugh and call him names..

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  • tinkerbell

    perhaps the only lesson that's been learned is for the managers, that nurses shouldn't be allowed to take their own initiative out of hours and at weekends when managers aren't about, cos if they are left to their own devices nurses are only going to introduce some joy and fun into nursing for their patients.

    it's not as though a herd of deers are lining up outside hospital departments waiting to come in and create havoc and 'urinate' on everyone.

    It was christmas for crying out loud. I think the nurse or nurses who organised this should be applauded for their kind thoughts to bring a bit of joy onto the wards for the children, they have certainly displayed the 6 c's.

    I hope having to answer to the 'management' doesn't deter them from doing the same or similar again.

    I would find it hard not keep the smile of my face as they were quizzing me about why i allowed such a thing to happen.

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  • tinkerbell | 12-Jan-2013 12:53 pm


    if you are lacking the six 'C's you're no good and risk being followed about by the 'care detectives' yet if you dare to display them you get investigated and reprimanded?

    one thing I would say in favour of the managers' inquiry, and sincerely hope that lessons have been learned from it, is that deer can be very destructive and have a propensity for nibbling all the roses! However I am not sure whether deer and reindeer have the same habits. Possibly something important for further investigation before next Christmas! I hope they are taking their time for these meetings out of their working hours! It does not seem an appropriate expenditure out of tax payers funds.

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  • Lessons learned: tell the reindeer to stay clear of the managers in future.

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