"Double edged sword"

About: Queen's Medical Centre

I had the misfortune of suffering a brain haemorrhage in mid Dec and was transferred to ward D10 over night. Upon arrival I encountered what I can only describe as one of the best nurses I have ever met, she explained the process clearly ensuring I knew what was happening, she escorted me to scans, took care of my personal effects prior to surgery the list goes on. At the same time I met my surgeons, one was pleasant but business like whilst the other was from the same mould as my nurse. He afforded me his time without making me feel like I was monopolising it, he explained eveything in detail, contacted my husband to explain the operation......just brilliant. I had my operation and was transferred to NSPU which again was superb, the nursing staff were kind, helpful, very caring and extremely polite no matter how busy they were. So imagine my shock when after four days I am transferred back to D10 only to be met by various members of staff that didn't come from the same school of manners as my first experience. Upon arrival I requested some pain relief and was told that I'd get it in a minute, twenty minutes later when my head is really starting to hurt I ask again to be told sorry I've been busy I'll get it in a minute when an hour has passed and I still don't have even a paracetamol let alone the tramadol or morphine I've been prescribed. Over two hours I waited for some pain relief but more alarmingly I was made to feel like a nuisance for asking. Over the following weeks I encountered many nurses that covered the full spectrum from loving their job to one who actually told me that " quite frankly I'm struggling with it". I repeatedly got told to drink excessive amounts of fluids to increase my blood pressure so that it would pass the limit the doctors had set. One nurse gave me 7.5 litres of fluids in less than 24hrs to inflate my bp, when I challenged her as I was feeling excessively nauseous she informed me that "we all wanted the same goal (no more bleeding) and that different people got the results in different ways". I had to listen to the nurses cat calling and back stabbing the previous night or day shifts mistakes which was very bad. I was astounded by some of the nurses I encountered however I met "my" nurse again and she was a breath of fresh air, she knew when I was having a rough day before I did, she also spent a whole night shift devoted to keeping me out of HDU and succeeded even though the ward was excessively busy. The other shining credit was the surgeon who visited me nearly every day to check on my progress, he didn't walk round with the entourage of daily suits who hum and tut at the end of your bed he would come during the day and between him, my nurse and a handful of other nurses and one sister they made a really bad time in my life bearable and those few people are the only thing that kept me going some days so I can't thank you enough. You saved my life....literally

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Response from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to write about your experiences, to tell us about things we did well during your time on ward D10, as well as showing us areas in which we could improve. Your comments about the positive aspects of your treatment will be greatly appreciated by the staff concerned. I am extremely sorry that you felt that other colleagues on the ward did not show you the same standard of care, and I will be looking into all of the concerns you describe.

With regards to the 7.5 litre of fluids that you expressed concern about, I would like to reassure you that this is something which is a clinical necessity, to keep blood pressure at a certain high level. This is to avoid damage to the brain caused by lack of blood flow. The blood vessels in the brain spasm due to the blood causing irritation, during these spasms is when blood flow can become insufficient and cause stroke symptoms. We give this level of fluids to aid that blood flow.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of your experiences with me further, please get in touch with me by email at james.povey@nuh.nhs.uk.

James Povey

Acting Ward Manager, D10

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