"Recent Hip replacement Operation"

About: Lincoln County Hospital

(as the patient),

I had hip replacement surgery recently (Neustadt Welton Ward – Lincoln County Hospital) and although the staff were very nice to me throughout, I feel that I need to tell you that the overall experience was not great.

Not that I expected it to be a walk in the park, but it could have been better.

• I booked in at 07. 30 on the day of surgery.

• I explained that I had not had my meds for the day because of the nil by mouth instruction, nor had I eaten or drunk anything since 20. 00 the night before.

• The paperwork was finished and at 08. 00 I was given a seat in my allocated cubicle on a very warm ward. The bed was unmade and remained so, as we were waiting for the air mattress to inflate. (I was told that this was to prevent pressure sores because of my low BMI).

• This it failed to do, and we received a second one, which also proved faulty.

• A visiting ‘Mattress’ engineer was then asked to look at the replacement but decided it was faulty and would get yet another.

• My husband and I then sat there until 14. 15 when a Porter arrived to take me down for surgery. This was after repeated attempts by my husband to find out when I would be receiving my operation, and explaining that I still had no instruction as to whether I should take my blood pressure and medication, or partake of a drink. (I did receive a half cup of water at about 11. 00, but nothing else and consequently I was already severely dehydrated when I went down for my op. )

• My husband accompanied me down to the OR and waited until the paperwork checks were completed. During this process it was noted that a recent ECG was not in the file but this was quickly supplied by the Admissions Nurse that had followed us down.

• On leaving the OR, this nurse then said to my husband that it was a bit worrying as it said on the ECG , abnormal. This was the first time anyone had mentioned an Abnormal Trace, and needless to say, my husband’s nerves were exasperated when the nurse added that he better stick around for half an hour in case something goes wrong.

• An hour later my husband returned home, and then re-attended the hospital at 18. 30 that evening, only to find that I had still not arrived back, and an ordinary bed/mattress in my designated spot.

• He reported this and was told that there were no more available, and no-one knew what was happening as regards my operation, and phone calls were made, - and then I was delivered to the ward on an air mattress that my husband insisted stay with me.

• I therefore remained in the bed that I had been transported in from the OR, and it was placed in my bed space, and everyone just walked off apparently, and left my husband alone with me.

• I was very confused, and my husband says that the bed was unmade and I was lying halfway down it. I vomited twice and he tried to sort out the bed clothes and gently pull me back up the bed but then noticed that I was wet and had obviously urinated.

• He called the nurses who came down and started to sort out the situation.

• When asked why there was no catheter in after an epidural, he was told that they don’t bother. Presumably this is SOP for Lincoln? But if so, why was no provision made to cope with such a natural phenomenon as urination whilst the bottom half of your body is effectively paralysed? (Pads etc? )

• The nurses began to change the bed clothes and wipe me down, but when my husband pointed out that the wound dressing was wet and needed changing, he was told it would be OK. He insisted however that it be changed and it was.

• An absorbent pad was then placed under my back in case of any further such occurrence.

• He then pointed out the paracetamol pain relief drip was on the side of the bed and did not appear to be working, and that there was blood in the wrist cannula.

• This was then changed and the drip hung.

• Asked when would I have been seen to he was told on their next rounds. Surely not? Would I have been left alone for an undisclosed period of time, confused, laid in my own urine, my wound site wet and contaminated, and with no effective pain relief after such a big operation.

I had a low BMI before the operation, but nothing to eat or drink for over 36 hours, except for a small cup of water.

I had no glucose or saline drip on return to the ward, and I had no pain relief except for a non-working paracetamol drip, and I apparently also suffered from hallucinations during the night, which has caused me tremendous upset since and could have been avoided if my husband’s research is to be believed.

Do you think that I was given the care that I should have received?

I would welcome your comments on this case.

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Response from Jennie Negus, Deputy Director of Patient Services, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

picture of Jennie Negus

Dear Loriv - in answer to your question....no...you did not receive the standards of care we would expect and I am so sorry - your anxiety pre and post-operatively must have been very high and you husband probably worried sick; please pass on my apologies to him too.

You have raised a number of issues; general organisation, communication, fundamental care being clear and I think it is important that we look into your concerns a little more. The key to using feedback to make a difference is to ensure the story is heard and owned by the staff involved so that they can make changes as necessary. Could you possibly contact linda.higginbottom@ulh.nhs.uk directly with a few more details (name, date of admission, ward for example) and she can then look into the concerns and come back to you?

Once again my apologies but also my thanks for sharing your story.

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