"A hospital of contrasts, medical 5*+, support and..."
About: Stoke Mandeville Hospital Stoke Mandeville Hospital Aylesbury HP21 8AL
Posted by 9.9fingers
I first went to A&E with a finger injury at around mid day. There were long waits to get anything done, totally inadequate seating for the number of people who were there, many, like me, in obvious discomfort. Staff attitudes varied from indifference to downright rudeness. When I eventually got to triage my injury was not even looked at. The general view seemed to be that because my wife, who fortunately was with me and able to give the much needed support and sympathy that was lacking elsewhere, had managed to bandage my hand neatly and put it in a sling I must have already received professional attention so was wasting A&E time. Fortunately the nurse practitioner was much better. He examined my injury and found that my finger was actually amputated. By then it was far too late to attempt to find the missing end for re-attachment, so he cleaned and dressed the injury, arranged for an x-Ray to determine the bone damage (radiography was fast and efficient) and sent me to see the plastic surgeon on duty. He was extremely over-stretched, having to go off to deal with other situations, before he could see me - including leaving me alone in his consulting room for about half an hour. His view was that more would have to be taken off, meaning a subsequent return to day surgery. At day surgery, two days later, there was a lot of confusion about when I should turn up - I had originally been told to go in the afternoon for a local anaesthetic but the records seemed to suggest - when they could find my details - that may not actually be the case. I was seen, after a long wait, by a nurse, who told me that I would probably need to return on another day because they were giving priority to dealing with cases where the end of the bone was exposed. I pointed out that I was one of those cases, and was sent back to wait further. Then everything changed. I got to see the surgeon who was actually carrying out the operations. He examined me, gave me several options, two of which involved reconstructive surgery (not on offer previously) rather than further amputation. Naturally I went for a reconstruction, and despite being in surgery for far longer than originally expected, the longer procedure was definitely worth it. He has done an absolutely fantastic job. Two months later, I have an almost complete finger now which is getting well towards normal operation and normal sensation. The first follow up outpatient appointment was as chaotic as A&E, with staff unable to sort out which patient was which and an interminable wait. Fortunately we were able to arrange for my wife, who has had nursing training in the past, to look after the dressings, which she did brilliantly. My second and last follow up went much more smoothly, the only real problem being delays and a lack of space and seating in the waiting area. The consultant surgeon was as pleased as I was with the outcome of my reconstruction surgery and Stoke and I were able to part on a positive note.