"Wisdom Teeth Extraction"

About: William Harvey Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

A little while ago I came to the Channel Day Surgery unit to have all of my wisdom teeth removed. One of my lower teeth was partially erupted and the other was not erupted and in an incorrect orientation so I knew it would be a tricky procedure. Firstly, I was made to feel very comfortable by all the nursing staff as well as some of the surgical team.

I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and as a result am very anxious (despite taking various medications) and was particularly worried about waking from GA due to the nature of PTSD. I alerted the nurse to this during my pre-assessment phone call and they were very understanding. I was called in to see the anaesthetist who, after asking if I had any concerns, very bluntly asked me how long ago my trauma happened (which as I'm sure you are aware has no bearing on the severity at any time) and also what the trauma was. I was horrified, I cannot talk about my trauma and did not expect to be faced with such a question. I was fighting back tears and trying to stop myself from panicking for the rest of the morning.

After being gowned up I was moved from one waiting area to another and was called for my operation. From what I could gather I was called by a member of the surgical team and a junior doctor/medical student. I told them of my concerns about waking up and of my condition. They made me feel at ease, talking me through what would happen as we walked to theatre.

The anaesthetist, again, did not impress me! The only time they spoke was to say 'I am going to give you something to calm down....you should feel yourself going off now'. I had a mask put over my face without anyone talking me through it - for someone who has a high level of anxiety this is all very scary. I was even told to 'remember to breathe' as I was so worried about what was happening.

On waking I fought. No one spoke apart from the junior doctor who was the only one who made me feel calmer. They told me I was going to be OK (all I needed to hear) They told me what was happening and I calmed. I heard her explaining that I had PTSD and was worried this would happen. Whilst being wheeled somewhere I heard the anaesthetist say, "you need to have a word with your student, she should not have said that in there". Obviously I cannot be sure as to what they was referring but if it was about what I heard then I would like her to know that she was the only one who made me feel safe in that moment - something which is rare when I am panicking.

Also, I was very unimpressed by the amount of information I received about what to expect post-surgery. I was not told what 'normal' healing was so spent two weeks unsure of whether I should be seeing white/yellow bits in my mouth etc. Yes, I was given information on how to keep my mouth clean but this was simply handed to me along with 'these are your painkillers; you have antibiotics to take for 3 days, do you have someone picking you up? ' Nothing more was said to me. I have no idea how the operation went or what to expect during the next few days and weeks.

Overall I was very unimpressed by my experience. The phrase 'they/we do this everyday', was a little annoying. Yes I understand you all know what you are doing far more than I but that's the point...I do not have an operation everyday and as it was my first GA it was terrifying experience which I hope never to have to go through again!

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Responses

Response from Julie Pearce, Chief Nurse + Director of Quality + Operations, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback, and I am sorry that you were unhappy about the service we provided and it sounds as if this was a stressful experience. I am very happy to talk with you so that we can learn and improve the service. My email address is Julie.pearce1@nhs.net

Thank you again for providing feedback and I hope you are recovering from the procedure.

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