"Surgery and overnight stay in Ward 7A"

About: Lister Hospital

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I was admitted for a bilateral salingo oophorectomy. I cannot fault my surgeon, and his team of theatre staff, or the quality of care I received afterwards in Ward 7A. However, there were several inconsistencies in the advice given to me at my pre-op and then on admission. At my pre-op I was told I was likely to be in hospital for 2 or 3 nights and to take an overnight bag. On arrival at elective admissions on the day I was given unclear instructions from a somewhat stroppy nurse brandishing a leaflet which she, wrongly, claimed i'd have been given at the pre-op, that I needed to send some of my possessions home. I misunderstood and sent my daughter home with my handbag and valuables, but then was later chastised for not sending home my overnight bag, all of which added to the stress prior to major surgery. I did point out that staff shouldn't assume all patients will have relatives able to return in a few hours with their possessions - in our case there's no public transport from Harpenden to Stevenage and I have no family other than my daughter. This is a minor point in the grand scheme of things. By contrast the very kind theatre team arrived in no time and took me down to theatre without any fuss and were hugely reassuring at a time when one is inevitably very nervous. The surgeon has done a wonderful job, as my wounds from laparascopic surgery are healing exceptionally well and have been "dry" since the dressings were removed on the 2nd day in hospital. It felt as if I'd no sooner been wheeled to my ward post-op, than a senior nurse was making noises about me being able to go home later that day. I was in no way prepared for this. In the event I had an extreme reaction to the drugs/anaesthetic and was vomiting violently all afternoon and into the evening. I could not even keep water down and very weak and dehydrated. I did not see a doctor post-op on my 1st day. My suspicion is that I was not put on a drip as the nurses were under instructions to discharge me the same day. I was still vomiting and very weak when my daughter left me at 8pm that night. Several times, despite being sleepy and weak that evening, I was told by one nurse in particular that i'd have to vacate my bed the next morning and sit in the day room all day. my daughter was unable to collect me till 630 pm on the 2nd day. All of this pressure to give up my bed and go home wasn't conducive to rest and recuperation did unfortunately detract from the wonderful care of the nurses. I don't blame the nurses as they are clearly under orders from managers to free up beds at the earliest opportunity. but it's an indictment of the nhs and the lack of resources. It speaks volumes that one of my fellow patients in 7A had been readmitted after being discharged 2 days after a full hysterectomy. she'd contracted a serious infection and been rushed to A&E, so in her case an early discharge was definitely a false economy.

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Response from Lister Hospital

Many thanks for your feedback - both on the areas that you felt worked well and those that could do with improving. We've arranged for your comments to be fed back to the pre-op, theatres and ward teams, but we would also be interested to follow-up the important matters you raised during your pre- and post-operative phases of care. If you were willing for us to do this, perhaps you could email us at generalenquiries.enh-tr@nhs.net so that we can liaise with you directly?

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