GREAT NEWS! Ian was discharged from the hospital this afternoon! He is going to Bristol for a while to recouperate with his family and asks that people leave off contacting him directly for a bit as he's got a month's worth of email/messages to get through already and his phone is playing up at the moment. He hopes to be back to his usual online presence soon, but for now just wants to relax and enjoy being 'on the outside'. As always, thanks for all your messages and kind words, and you are welcome to continue leaving messages in the guestbook here.
Ian and his mum have made a formal complaint to the hospital today, and Ian wrote the following about his experience last night around 10pm:
This is for the Patients Advice and Liaison service of Salford Royal.
Not everything is right here. Your motto is ‘safe, clean and personal’ but in practice someone is going to make a mistake here at some point. There's a few a scare stories doing the rounds including a guy with cancer who came in the same time as me. He was nil by mouth but still fed by a nurse, which gave him pneumonia as the food gathered in his lungs. Or the girl on my ward who was also given food when nil by mouth and got a serious infection which almost wiped out her immune system.
But this is about patent 2042873 on the ANU ward. I've notice a few glaring errors while I've spent some time in your hospital and I want to make sure they are covered.
1. I spent a lot of time in the ICU and according to my parents they were less that impressed with the nurses and the lack of information they received about what was happening with me. As you can imagine, it’s a scary time and a little information no matter how small can help put the mind at rest. This is why having to book time with the doctor to find out what’s happening is a bad thing. At one point my mum was treated to a conversation about hospital pay instead of a update on her son who was lying in bed. This shouldn't happen. I'm not saying they are all bad on the ICU ward, my mum remembers the names of some really good nurses but generally it was hit and miss, which is not what you want in your moment of despair.
2. Moving from ICU to a ward. I really wish this was a easy move but it wasn't. I was plonked in a ward with stroke victims which is something a bit like I had but not exactly. Worse still they were all pre-surgery. The first time I was moved I was plonked in A3 which is a neurological ward then after one day, moved to the ward I'm on now. Although some of the people are interesting, they’re once again pre-surgery and I am post surgery. Basically I got the feeling that they didn't know quite what to do with me and put me on a ward (any ward). Having a stoke is like a bleed on the brain but not quite the same. So I can see the logic in putting me on the ward but for future reference it would have been better to me in with post-surgery people.
3. We get woken up at the crack of dawn to have breakfast, which is fine, but for the last few mornings I've not had my pills one of which is to treat high blood pressure. You’re meant to take them in the morning to make them more efficient (according to my mum who takes the same pill). The problem is that not taking the pills means I could be heading back to having a bleed on the brain or worse still. Unless when they’re waking us up in the morning and loading the pills into our mouths, I'm not getting my pills and have not for the last few days. What makes this worse is the fact that my chart says I did get my pills, which is a lie because I'm not insane and would remember if I had the extremely sour tablets or not. I'm also not on any sedative medication and so would remember if I did. Most of the time I sleep, so there is no time to give me pills in the morning let alone anything else. The pills come in little containers which are given to directly to the person on the ward because "being a open ward, we don't want patients swapping pills". This is also why the medical box is locked by the side of the bed I guess. But it makes proving if I took the pills very difficult. In the end it was hard to prove it either way because the packet was empty, which makes me think that some nurse got to the end and couldn't be bothered to get a new packet from the pharmacy.
4. I'm totally terrified of needles and injections but forcing me to have a shot every night in case I develop a clot is a little excessive. Why wasn't I introduced to the alternatives which may have helped ease the tension of being jabbed every day in the stomach? What those alternatives are I'm not totally sure right now but I'm informed there are alternative blood thinners such as aspirin?
5. To date I've seen my doctor once since leaving ICU 6 days ago, he's been too busy to see me and mark me off as fit to go home. Everyone else has asserted that I'm fine but I need the go ahead from my doctor. I could mark my self as capable, but that means if anything happens I'm on my own. No, instead what I need is for the doctor to spend 5mins with me and tell me to go home, but being from ICU means my doctor isn't the normal doctor you get on the ward and so I have to wait for my doctor to make his way downstairs to my ward. This sounds very easy and painless but it’s been 3 days since been assessed by social services as fine to go home. 3 days I've been waiting for the doctor to come and see me and sign me off. On the ward the usually doctors come every day and come explain what’s happening, but mine never comes and even when he does, never explains what’s happening. All I wanted was someone to say ‘yes you’re fine to go home’ but instead all I got was the run around when trying to get through to my doctor. I understand he has surgery but not all day for the next few days. Too busy to see me 3 floors down. All the other doctors come around once a day and speak to their patients for about 5mins while mine is super elusive. What makes things worse is that because of the mismatch between ICU and the ward I don't get the same privileges as people on the same ward. Its frustrating being fit enough to go home but having to wait for someone to get their butt over to the unit to mark me off as well enough. According to the nurses this isn't a new thing and it always happens when a patient is from a different department. I feel like I'm the butt end of a hospital joke or some kind of hospital politics. The worse thing is that I've actually got somewhere to be on Friday. My mum was going to take me to Cornwall for the weekend but how can she plan for this when she doesn’t know when I'm out of here. I got a feeling I'm going to be here over the weekend using up a bed which someone could really use.
6. Nebulisers. My mum had come up to visit me and that time with my parents is special. So I was appalled when I was asked to don a nebuliser and use it while my mum was visiting. It’s not exactly the most attractive of things and you can't talk to your loved one through it which is a shame if they come and travelled all the way up to speak to you. Nebuliser is also a thing which can be started at anytime so why this nurse felt the need to butt in I don't know. I feel it was so rude and for the sake of an hour she could have waited till visiting hours were over, but no that was too much to ask.
7. I feel like I'm in one massive lord of the flies scenario. Those who are really ill get the most attention, which is right, but it gets a little tiring, For example the guy next to me is in for lack of nutrition and gets a lot of attention like a name check by everyone that comes in the room while I get nothing. This would be fine if the guy had been here before me but according to my room mate, the guy arrived the same day as me and only arrived a couple hours before me. It just helps makes you feel human if the nurses say hi when entering the room, something obviously not reserved for myself. I hardly get a name check by anyone even when entering the ward. Maybe it’s the way my name is written on the board above me or something?
8. Ultimately I just want to leave and I’m very tempted to leave of my own accord. Surely you can see this isn't right but it’s my only option right now. Some of the nurses are helpful but others are not. I'm told that I can leave for weekend leave but then I should be back for Sunday evening. This is not what I seek, I'm well enough to leave and should be assessed as such. I've spoken to the ward manager and had the same answer, they’e trying to get my doctor but failed for many reasons. In the end I spoke to Patient’s Advice (Ann Cullen) and they’re also trying to get through to the doctor but once again its like hitting my head against a brick wall. I got the number of David Jones who’s meant to be the lead manager but he's not answering his bleeps either so we’re back to square one. Someone just needs to answer there bleeps and come and see me. One of the nurses told me I've been basically left in the wrong ward and now the doctors are not willing to come and see me.
[Ian added this note after being discharged this afternoon:]
Good news, after 5 days I'm free to go. A doctor (not mine, he’s still awol) came down and discharged me. I asked what took so long and he said he doesn't know.
[Ian and his mum made the formal complaint verbally today, but will also be putting the above in writing after some editing.]