Interview: Dr. Manal El Sayed, Paediatrician and Neonatologist
Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Dr. Manal El Sayed, and I’m a Paediatrician specialized in Neonatology. I joined the team at Humber River Hospital in April 2020.
How would you explain your job to a friend?
Paediatricians care for patients 0 to 18 years old, and Neonatology is a subspecialty focused on babies who require support. Some of the babies I work with are born very early, and others are born full-term but still need support in their breathing and feeding. I am part of the team that cares for the babies in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
What makes you proud of the NICU at Humber?
At Humber River Hospital, we are equipped to care for babies born as early as 30 weeks. I’m proud that we can provide this care close to home for parents in our community.
Our NICU is an amazing place where we can do wonders for our families. I work alongside nurses, respiratory therapists, Clinical Practice Leads who maintain quality control, other physicians, and other support staff – and everyone is so hard working and devoted. It is truly an amazing team to work with.
What is your favourite way technology is used in our NICU?
Our electronic health records enable full transparency with our patients. When a baby is discharged from our NICU, we can give their parents a complete and detailed summary of their stay, including daily reports and progress. The NICU is an intensive care unit, so there is a lot of collaboration that makes having complete records really important. Everyone on each baby’s care team has access to their full history and test results. And their parents can access these at any time.
How has COVID impacted the NICU?
We have had to limit our visitors to only one parent per baby per day, but we are doing our best to promote parent-infant bonding because we know it is essential and can help enhance recovery. We also try to communicate with each family on a daily basis.
What do you love about your job?
As a Paediatrician, it’s wonderful taking care of children from such a wide age range, from premature babies to chatty four-year-olds, to teenagers nearing adulthood – Every age is different, and every age is special.
What is something awesome you have done in the last year?
Shortly after I joined the team at Humber River Hospital, I responded to a Code Pink for a really young infant, born under 30 weeks. We were able to resuscitate him and stabilize him, and when he was ready we transferred him to Sick Kids. I’ll never forget that moment of pride in my work and my team.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by perseverance. Perseverance by the healthcare workers around me who make sacrifices for our patients. And perseverance by families where a child has a chronic illness. That requires a lot of compassion, courage, and empathy and I really admire that.