"I felt like a nuisance and a second class citizen"

About: Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske)

I was referred to Treliske for treatment of a right sided Bartholin's abscess. For context, I am a veterinary surgeon. I was examined by a doctor and a nurse, who immediately said my abscess was not big enough to do anything with. They discussed me at length as if I was not there. They made me feel as if I had wasted everyone's time and should not have been there in the first place. They were hesitant to enter into a conversation with me about the management of the condition, refusing to acknowledge that I had been on 4 courses of antibiotics over three months and that I had also developed a Bartholin's cyst on the left side as well. From personal experience, I knew that the cysts/abscesses would swell up and become very painful if I had sex, and that antibiotics were only a short term fix. I was quite upset by this point. The doctor sighed loudly and walked off, and the nurse immediately entered into patronizing mode, offering me a leaflet on the condition, "To help me to better understand it all." I was told that "No consultant is going to even look at you without us having gone through all the steps first." They helpfully pointed out that Flucloxacillin was the wrong anitbiotic to be on (even though two GPs and a hospital doctor in Scotland had all put me onto Fluclox), and that Co-amoxyclav would almost definitely fix the problem. They honestly couldn't wait to be rid of me. Unsurprisingly, both cysts came back a month later with avengence. I was seen by a new doctor/nurse team, who thankfully did summon a consultant. He took one look and pointed out that I had been suffering with the cyst/abscess for three months now, so really they ought to have done a marsupialisation procedure. However, he refused to acknowledge that I had a smaller cyst growing on the left. "Great!" I thought. "We are getting somewhere." All discussions were held as though I was not there, not privy to their decisions, not allowed to ask questions or choose my treatment. The next morning, I was in at 7.30am for my operation (general anaesthetic and maruspialisation of the right sided Bartholin's cyst). I had previously been informed by GPs and a hospital doctor that the op was always done under GA, because it is so painful. I waited until 11am, very hungry and thirsty, having not seen anyone since 7.30am, and having had no news.A surgeon came and informed me that they were too busy to do my op that day, and gave me the choice of maybe having it tomorrow, maybe next week, or he could do it under local anaesthetic. I was sick of being messed around and chose local anaesthetic, which he was confident would be fine. It was agony. I was left with more pain than I could handle, and allowed to walk away from the surgery 10 minutes after the first cut. I nearly fainted in the hall, and was sobbing. 2 months later, the abscesses are back, and I have been told they did a botch job, because it was done under local. I was operated on at derryford 2 days ago, who were fantastic.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske)

We are very sorry that you were unhappy with your recent care. We would like the opportunity to respond to you directly and would encourage you to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service at pals.service@rcht.cornwall.nhs.uk or you can call 01872 250000 and ask to speak to the Matron for Gynaecology Services.

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