Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: England, UK
Is our health service REALLY that bad? Or am I just a one off?
Let me fill you in on a brief history of my experiences since 2006.
I suffered a dislocated collarbone in 2006 by falling off a bike. After going to A+E and receiving morphine, the doctors decided, after 2 failed attempts to 'pop' it back in, that it would be ok for my collarbone to just sit on top of it's socket, as my movement was only a fraction impaired. They told me that to operate and bolt my collarbone back would only have a 30% chance of success, and it's often better to just let nature take it's course. So I agreed (of course) and went home. My collarbone now grinds constantly and I suffer some level of pain in it daily.
In 2007 I suffered a tear to my right ligaments in my right forearm. Only a small 10mm gash, but it was deep enough to sever a tendon, stopping me from moving my right hand at all. Back to the hospital, where not two but THREE specialists discussed my arm and then told me an immediate operation was needed. Six hours later I was undergoing surgery. When I awoke, there was a SIX INCH jagged scar down my right forearm. Not only did this surprise me (obviously it wasn't keyhole surgery, as they had told me) but it also left my arm rather sore. The good news is with physiotherapy (the ONLY part of the treatment that I felt confidence with throughout - great people) I was able to regain 95% use of my right hand. However, during the later stages of physio I noticed a bump over the scarring had appeared. Upon further exercise it grew to the size of an egg. Apparently a hernia - so I take it that during the (non-keyhole) surgery, something went wrong that I wasn't told about. A quick trip to my GP and I was advised simply to quit my trade and take up an office job. Never over-exercise my arm. This is the only solution... So a career change then? That's the answer apparently.
In 2009 I broke my right hand. It broke in 3 places from an impact on a tree during a bad sledging accident. I was admitted to the hospital after an x-ray showed the extent of the damage and told to go nil by mouth, an operation was needed asap. So I ate nothing for 12 hours ... only to be told that it would not be happening due to staffing problems and priority patients. Fair enough, I had a good meal and more painkillers. Not that they were working very well. But again the following morning after no sleep I was told to go nil by mouth. Twelve hours later with only light painkillers I was told again to eat something, it would not be tonight. This continued for FIVE DAYS. My broken hand was now black, I had strange tingling sensations all over my hand to arm to shoulder, and I was half a stone lighter and in constant pain. The nurse charged with making me a sling to sleep better got the sizes all wrong, making it impossible to use, but rather than get her into trouble I just made do all that fifth night, no sleep again. Come the next evening, I was told finally that I was being prepped for theatre. Got the gown on and the porter came to take me to theatre. However the surgeon informed me outside the lift that my signed consent form had been lost, so I had to go back upstairs. They could not do the op without this form. Fine I said, I'll sign another. Apparently, it had to be with the the doctor who saw me earlier as a co-sign. So I sighed and started to getting dressed. Where are you going, sir? Asked the nurse. Im going home, I said. Five nights nil by mouth, constant pain, no sleep and you won't operate because YOU lost my paperwork. You're a joke. Within the time it took to pack my bags, a new doctor miraculously appeared and told me she would co-sign. Just begged me not to leave the ward. So I signed and had the op. After the operation, I was in agony. They sent me home full of morphine, and once it had worn off I sat on my bed at home for 4 hours in tears before I HAD to call the ward and explain what I was feeling. The head nurse to me straight - come back to the hospital. Tell them on the front desk that the sister had said I need to be re-casted. My arm cast is too tight and the swelling will cause massive problems. So I did just that, only to be told to take a seat - for three hours, by which time I was feeling like vomitting all over the floor in pain. So I took a pair of scissors from the receptionists desk and started to cut my cast off. Two nurses ran over to me and asked what I was doing. I explained to them that the sister had told me my arm needed re-casting, and seeing as though the hospital wasn't interested I was doing it myself. Withing 5 minutes I was sat with a doctor who took one look at my cast and ripped it off. All the pain dis appeared. He told me that the cast was the temporary one put on after surgery, and then the arm is SUPPOSED to be RECASTED before I'm sent home. This never happened. I'm quite sure (and I hope to god) that some people got into serious trouble over that. A year later and my hand was fine, after the pins were removed.
OK this is the best one. Just last year, a small cyst that had been in the lower side of my back for my entire life decided to get infected. It came on very suddenly, and before a weekend was out I was in some of the worst pain of my life. I went to my A+E on Sunday night and saw a brilliant young surgeon. He examined me and told me that as it was 3am monday morning, I should go to my GP at 8am and tell him I needed to be referred to a skin specialist THAT DAY. He told me that the specialist would then complete the paperwork and send me to have it removed. He said that he was fully confident that should this happen promptly he would see me back in two days and he would take it out. So off I went. My GP's receptionist told me there were no appointments today - but tomorrow at 4pm would be fine. I calmly explained to her through gritted teeth that I'd just come from A+E, and the SURGEON TOLD ME ... etc. Blank face. I'm sorry sir, we have no record of .... So basically I called it off, and went to see my old GP. I will give the man some credit, he actually saw me an hour later, but upon entering his office and explaining what had gone on, he didn't even LIFT UP MY SHIRT or take a look at the cyst. He just told me no surgeon would take out an infected cyst. He would prescribe me some anti-biotics and to come back in two weeks. And he then prescribed me .... amoxocillin.
I returned home, fuming, and called the hospital and told the young surgeon what had happened. He told me that amoxocillin would have ZERO effect on my problem, and asked for the GP's name and practice. He then arranged for me to see a different GP, who also didn't refer me but DID prescribe me some better suited anti-biotics. Unfortenately she was an intern, and when I returned to see her after completing the course, no-one at the surgery could figure out which doctor I had seen. "But there IS NO Doctor Aluss here....". Turns out she left for Liverpool the day after she saw me, and my notes had been lost. Also turned out - they were the wrong pills. I needed a new 2 week course. By this time the cyst had burst, and because I was given no advice but to finish the pills before I returned, I sat at home with a burst infected cyst in absolute agony for 2 weeks. When I returned to my GP, he was horrified as to me sitting there with the poison leaking into my body. What the hell? No one told me. No advice - nothing.
So he gave me ANOTHER course of pills, this time to clear that infection out - and then a MONTH after my first trip to A+E he referred me to a specialist. I met with him, explained everything, and he sent me home with the instruction that he was going to meet with some people and I should see him on the op table 2 days later. I received a letter a week later saying the surgery had been denied because of prioritised funding.
Just 5 minutes away from picking up the phone to call a lawyer, my cellphone rang and it was one of the other GP's from my local health centre. I'd never met her before, but she told me how sorry she was to hear my operation had been declined, and that there was another GP practising there who had offered to remove the cyst on Thursday that week, should I be willing. I agreed and he removed it under local. Took him an hour and I got 15 stitches for a cyst the size of marble (it had shrank back to it's original size after the infected had cleared).
So ...... is it just me? Or do other people feel like the Health Service in the country is so far down the pan they seriously consider not even bothering asking for help?
My Elderly father has just taken ill these past 3 weeks and for the life of me I trust NO ONE at that GP Practice to have a clue or - worse - be interested in the slightest. What is going on with the NHS?