Seriously Silly

This area is dedicated to silly behaviour, from the life-threatening to the simply divine.

It's true what everyone says... Hospitals make you ill - very ill

Misery from misinformationPosted by Joe Wed, November 19, 2008 19:07:43

Now I had a lump. It was a small lump - just under the skin and located on the anterior wall of my chest. It grew slowly over a matter of months and became quite painful when knocked. I showed it to my GP, who diagnosed a fibroma and arranged an appointment with a consultant to confirm his diagnosis. That was earlier in the year. I duly received a letter confirming an appointment with a consultant on the 6th August. I duly attended the appointment and it was decided that the lump should be excised and it's histology investigated. A date was set for the minor procedure on the 2nd of October. The lump was finally removed on the 6th of November and the scar is healing nicely - thank you very much. Unfortunately, the stress and upset I have been through in the last few weeks make me wish that I'd simply not bothered, and put up with both the lump and the physical discomfort. But it's not over yet.... just yesterday I received a handwritten note from my doctors' receptionist - But here I'll break off and simply publish the contents of the 2 letters I wrote yesterday. I've made the NHS trust, Hospital and individuals involved all anonymous - for now.

Copy of letter to my Doctor sent today 19th Nov. 2008

FAO: Dr. Nice Man,
Druridge Bay Health Centre,
Broken Leg Walk,
Druridge Bay,
RightLand BE90 3HK

Cc: Mr. Big Chief, CEO Umbria Healthcare Trust

WRT Handwritten note delivered 18th November from Druridge Bay Health Centre

El Grande de JB de Forth
NHS No. (lots and lots)
Trust Ref. (more lots and lots)
D.O.B (too shy to reveal)

Dear Doctor Nice Man,

I’m afraid that you have been misinformed with respect to my alleged non-attendance at a hospital appointment on the 6th August. I had two hospital appointments in August, on the 5th and the 6th, both of which I attended. The appointment on the 6th wasn’t for an operation – just to see the consultant. (In fact I received a copy of the letter from the consultant Mr. StitchInTime addressed to you, with his diagnosis, and I also received a letter from the Trust confirming that I attended an appointment on 6th of August and inviting me to complete a survey.) This mischievous misinformation is just one more example of the serious maladministration at Protect The Innocent General Hospital, in a long string of such events in the last two months. I have refrained from reacting vigorously up until now, but receiving the note from your receptionist M**** this morning is, I’m afraid, the last straw. I have written a letter today to the Executive Officer of the Trust setting out the catalogue of events pertaining to the procedure to remove a lump from my chest, and I’ve included a copy of this, and all of the other relevant communications received by me, should you wish to refer to these. (The procedure was finally carried out on the 6th Nov. and the scar is healing nicely.)

I should stress that I have no criticism of the care I have received at the Health Centre. I have found that you & your staff are at all times diligent, helpful and understanding. What a pity this is simply not true in the case of the administration at the hospital.

Yours sincerely,

El Grande de JB de Forth

Enclosed: Photocopies of relevant material.


Copy of letter to Mr. Big Chief, CEO Umbria Healthcare Trust sent today 19th Nov. 2008

FAO: Mr. Big Chief
CEO Umbria Healthcare Trust,

Protect The Innocent General Hospital
Ruination Road
Killing Fields
Wine & Beer

cc Dr. Nice man.

18th November 2008

El Grande de JB de Forth
NHS No. (lots and lots)
Trust Ref. (more lots and lots)
D.O.B (too shy to reveal)

Dear Mr. Big Chief,

Please could you arrange that I receive a full and true copy of all of the information that the Trust holds on me, including both electronic and paper records. You may at this point be asking yourself why I am writing to you – as Executive Officer, and not Maud Ling, the Medical Records Manager, at Protect The Innocent General Hospital. Put simply, I do not have any faith in the administrative staff at the Hospital to carry out my request diligently or honestly. I am heartily sick of having to repeatedly correct wrongful assumptions & misinformation that results from the hodge-podge of maladministration at Protect The Innocent General Hospital The latest idiocy is that my GP – Dr. Nice Man, has been misinformed that I didn’t keep an appointment on the 6th August to see Mr. StitchInTime. Naturally, my Doctor has asked me why I allegedly missed this appointment.

Let me start at the beginning. Dr. Nice Man arranged for me to see Mr. StitchInTime on the 6th August to investigate a painful lump in my chest. (Attached: img097.jpg) I attended the appointment, and Dr. Nice Man's diagnosis of a fibroma was confirmed by Mr. StichInTime and one of his colleagues. Mr. StichInTime consulted his diary and I was given an appointment for an excision procedure to be carried out on the 2nd of October. I received a copy of the proposed procedure and signed a consent form. (Attached: img095.jpg) As requested in the appointment invitation I provided Mr. StitchInTime with a list of my current medication. (Attached: currentMedicines.doc) I later received a letter from the Patient Care Advisor (Inpatients) (unsigned) confirming the appointment on the 2nd October. This letter was retained by the Surgical Day Unit when I attended on 2nd October, and unfortunately I haven’t a copy of it. It was identical in content (except for the date) to a later one. (attached: img093.jpg) I also received a copy of Mr. StichInTime's letter to Dr. Nice man regarding his diagnosis. (Attached: img094.jpg)

I duly reported to the Surgical Day Unit at 8am on 2nd October, and was taken to a waiting area, where after a short while my BP was measured and the nurse asked what medication I was on. I informed her and she expressed concern when she discovered that I take Warfarin and had not been instructed to reduce my dose to bring my INR down to 1. Later, some blood was taken from my arm for testing, and later still I was informed that my INR was too high and that Mr. StitchInTime was unwilling to proceed with the excision – presumably because of the risk of haematoma. By now it was nearly midday, and the nurse apologized on behalf of the hospital and informed me that I would be contacted in the afternoon or next day with respect to making another appointment. I was given some tea and toast and left the hospital around 12:30.

No contact was made by the hospital either that afternoon, or the following day. In fact the next communication from the hospital was the following week, dated the 6th Nov. from the Patient Care Advisor, (Inpatients) (again unsigned) (attached: img089.jpg) accusing me of not attending my operation appointment on the 2nd Oct., and advising me that my name had been ‘removed from our waiting list’.
I telephoned the Contact Centre and spoke with one of the operators. I explained the facts to her, and she told me that the Surgical Day Unit had informed the Contact Centre that I was a ‘DNA’ and had not attended on the 2nd of October for my operation. I asked the young lady who spoke to me if she could arrange for me to talk to her supervisor, which she did and I received a telephone call on my mobile the following day from Sean Brotherhood. She apologized for the mix-up and confirmed that I had attended and the cancellation was due to an excessively high INR. I asked Sean if she would confirm our conversation in writing, and also correct any computer records recording a DNA by myself. Sean wrote to me on the 10th of October confirming our conversation. (Attached: img090.jpg)

I subsequently received a letter on the 31st October from the Contact Centre dated 30th October confirming that a new appointment for surgery had been arranged for the 6th November at the Surgical Day Unit at 8am. (Attached: img096.jpg) Although this letter exhorted me to ‘READ THIS LETTER CAREFULLY FOR IMPORTANT INSTRUCTIONS’, it makes no reference to arranging a deduction in my INR.

With only 6 days to go until the procedure was to be carried out, it was obvious to me that if I was to avoid another cancellation of the surgical procedure, I had to arrange reduction of the INR and have it tested on the 5th November. I contacted the Anti-Coagulation clinic and on the nurses' advice ceased my Warfarin dose and made an appointment to attend for an INR check on the 5th Nov.

The procedure was duly carried out on the 6th Nov., and I’m pleased to say that the wound – if a little itchy – is healing nicely. I had considered reporting my experience to the hospital, but I lead a full and interesting life and since the episode was over (I thought) was not prepared to commit my time to write a letter complaining – until this morning when I received a handwritten note from my Doctor’s receptionist, (attached img085.jpg, img086.jpg) which brings me round full circle to the start of my letter.

Mr. Big Chief, I’m 61 and retired in 2001 completely burned out from the stress of travelling to London each Monday, living out of a suitcase during the week, and having to travel back to WilliamsCastle on a Friday evening. In a period of 15 years, I had to put up with airplane cancellations, late departures, lies, excuses, bad food etc. etc., and that’s just travelling. Up until my retirement in 2001 I suffered from stress-related complaints amongst which were IBS, frustration and exhaustion. These days the only events in my life that can bring on comparable levels of frustration, upset & stomach-churning contempt in me, are related entirely to those of your hospital. I have only detailed the most recent examples of bad experiences with the Umbria Healthcare Trust. I haven’t complained in writing to date because I felt that it would be a complete waste of time on my part, and my observations would be dismissed as sour grapes.

When anyone writes personal information down on a piece of paper, and puts that paper in a folder in a filing cabinet and locks the cabinet, the information exists in one place and is not freely available to all. When anyone commits that information to a computer file, that information will be copied and referred to by many. Fine, if only the designated staff have access to the information, and don’t make ‘backups’ they can leave on a train. Fine, if the information is correct. Quite evidently, the information that is held about my hospital visits is incorrect. I want it corrected, and I want evidence that it has been corrected. I also want to check that there is no more rubbish recorded about me. Having been goaded into taking the action of writing to you, I want to see a positive outcome from my efforts. If I’m disappointed, then I will take the matter further.

If observance of correct protocols had been carried out, then surgery would have been carried out on the 2nd October as planned. As it is, nurse’s time, administration staff’s time, my doctor’s time, and my time, have all been wasted unnecessarily. The above episode coupled with the other experiences I have of your hospital have demonstrated to me that with a few notable exceptions, departments at the hospital are beset with systemic failures, procedural non-conformance, and flawed processes, with medical staff heroically having to muddle through using ad-hoc solutions of their own, because of broken procedures, whilst patients are lied to, kept waiting inordinately long times in waiting areas, and need to be very, very, aware that any duty-of-care is a process that they themselves must take ownership of, because if they don’t, no-one else will. Now that’s fine for someone who is still capable, but pity the weak, infirm, and vulnerable, because they will inevitably suffer – maybe even die?

I mention exceptions in the above and I am pleased to single out the following departments for their exemplary behaviour:
1. The Anti-Coagulation Clinic staff – helpful, friendly and understanding at all times.
2. The Physiotherapy department – friendly and very committed.
3. The Endoscopy Unit – well run with sympathetic and understanding staff.

Finally, I couldn’t find the name of the operational officer for Protect The Innocent General Hospital on the website – perhaps it is there, but I simply couldn’t find it. Similarly, letters from the hospital are invariably unsigned – leaving patients no personal point-of-contact. What is the reason for this anonymity do you suppose?

Sincerely Yours,
El Grande de JB de Forth

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