"Post Operation Limbo"

About: Glasgow Royal Infirmary Royal Alexandra Hospital (Paisley) Western Infirmary/Gartnavel General

(as the patient),

I underwent a mastoidectomy in October of last year. I was in and out the same day which was fine by me. Unfortunately nobody told me what to expect in terms of bleeding from my ear, nobody told me how long I would have the stitches in for and nobody told me who to contact to get the stitches out. I should have asked but given that I had just had a hole drilled in my head, I wasn't feeling too focused. The one thing I was told was, don't take the packing out of the ear canal.

The next morning the bleeding was heavy and I felt unwell. I phoned the hospital ward and was told there was nobody there who could help as it was the weekend and that I should go to A&E. I did so, at the RAH in Paisley. The doctor there told me he wanted to take the packing out to see where the bleeding was coming from, I told him it was coming from the wound from the operation and that he could not take the packing out, doctors orders. He ignored these orders, removing the packing from a very fresh and rather tender wound. He immediately realised his mistake and pushed some of it back in, very forcefully, before leaving muttering about getting some more help. After 30 minutes an ENT doctor came in and put the packing in, just as roughly, and sent me on my way telling me all was fine: which it was.

Two weeks later the stitches were getting sore so I phoned the ward again to enquire about this. I was told they should have come off the week prior and that I was to have made an appointment with my GP clinic for this.

I called my GP clinic who told me to come in. I was still feeling both groggy and unwell at this time but drove to the doctors only to be told that I had come to the wrong place and that I had to go to a different clinic, but that I would need an appointment.

I got an appointment for the next day and attended on time. The very helpful attendant asked me, which stitches do I take out, there are two sets. I told him I had no idea and, once again, had to call the ward to clarify. I was initially told both sets, then was asked to hold while they found a doctor who, when he eventually spoke to me, clarified it was just one of the sets. The stitches were removed and all was well with the ear, well, apart from being made to wait for over an hour for each check up appointment.

In comparison, at the same time as this debacle, I had a toe-nail removed and the care was exemplary, swift and helpful.

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Response from Paul Cannon, Head of Administration, Acute Services Division, Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS

Thank you for providing your feedback, I will draw your posting to the attention of those involved in the management of ENT services and A&E services in the Hospitals mentioned.

I am sorry that there appears to have been a breakdown in communication but was pleased to read that your experience in relation to your toenail was entirely different.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to provide this feedback. It is appreciated.


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