"Excellent service from my GP"

About: Broadgreen Hospital / General surgery NHS Liverpool CCG

(as the patient),

I feel very strongly that Dr. Patel should be praised as she was an enormous help to me recently in being diagnosed. She is a GP at Eaton Road Surgery.

I started with symptoms of Raynauds in November 2011 but didn't seek medical help until the following year when I read that Raynauds could be a symptom of something else. I attended Eaton Road Surgery (unfortunately I can't remember the name of the first doctor I saw, I think he was a locum) and was told that I could take medication to help with the symptoms but aside from that and keeping warm, there wasn't a lot I could do. I chose not to take the medication due to the side effects and to manage it on my own.

A few months later, I started to notice that my hands and fingers would go numb overnight and that every morning I would wake up and both hands would be very swollen and stiff and I couldn't make a fist. I went back to the same surgery where another doctor (who was very nice, but also a locum) examined me and decided I should have some blood tests and x-rays to rule a few things out, and to ring up two weeks later for the results. When I rang for the results, I spoke to a different doctor who told me that the results had all come back clear so there was nothing to worry about.

A couple of months ago, I realised that the numbness was travelling up my arms and the swelling was getting worse, I was also getting some pain in my arm up to my shoulder so my husband insisted I visit the GP once more. This time, I was lucky enough to see a fantastic young doctor who's name was Dr. Meghna Patel. She immediately said that she thought I should have had more tests, as there was obviously something wrong - hands don't swell for no apparent reason! She took the time to discuss her thoughts with another doctor who agreed and she sent me for some more blood tests and there and then made an appointment for me, with her, at the surgery for two weeks time. I never felt rushed or patronised and she could not have been more helpful or reassuring.

When I returned for the results of the tests, she was once again very reassuring but told me that a couple of the tests had come back positive and as she was not a blood specialist, she wanted me to see someone who could explain things in more detail and wanted to make an appointment for me to see a Rheumatologist. As I wasn't in a lot of pain, and the swelling at the time wasn't too bad, I suggested that we wait and see how I get on as I didn't want to waste anyone's time, but she insisted that I should speak to someone who specialised in this area and, again, rather than sending me off with a password and telephone number for Choose & Book, she made the appointment herself. She managed to get me an appointment less than two weeks away which was fantastic. Again, she was so helpful and reassuring, I was aware that I had been with her for longer than the normal five/ten minutes but she really made me feel like I could take as long as I wanted.

I went to see the Rheumatologist at Broadgreen Hospital and was told that due to my symptoms and blood test results, it was likely that I have an auto-immune disease called Scleroderma. The Rheumatologist (I think it was Dr. Katherine Nelson) told me that I should be very happy as I had "an excellent GP" - her exact words. I didn't realise at the time, but apparently Scleroderma can take years to diagnose as it is often mistaken for other auto-immune diseases, and the blood tests I was sent for by Dr. Patel showed up certain antibodies (including SCL-70) which flagged up the Scleroderma. Because I have been diagnosed early, there is a much better chance of catching any damage to internal organs.

So, I just wanted to give some credit where it's due - everybody seems to have time to complain, but I wanted to just let someone know that I am very grateful to Dr. Patel and I think she deserves some recognition.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››

Updates, changes and questions related to this story