"Some staff forget they are talking to humans"

About: Watford General Hospital / General medicine

(as the patient),

I was suspected to have meningitis on in May 2013 and was rushed to the hospital from the surgery. I was confused, in severe pain and had power loss on my right side.

When I reached the hospital, they have done a number of investigations. They had so many assumptions that I may have a brain tumor, spinal abscess, sciatica, spinal tumor, malaria or tuberculosis. Even though, my GP has suspected meningitis, the doctors didn't do a CT scan or MRI until the 7th day of my hospital stay when I lost the full power of my right leg and half power of my right hand. The inflammation markers were very high, I had severe vomiting and headache.

Once I was diagnosed to have Meningo encephalitis, the treatment was fantastic. They did everything to treat the meningitis. I had physiotherapy started during my stay in the hospital. I have got the support of the dietician as I was underweight.

I would say the medical & nursing care in Gade ward was superb. The nurses were very caring, kind and compassionate except one night nurse who used to prepare my morning antiviral fluid in the previous night and kept on my side table. As I am a nurse, I knew that it was wrong but was hesitant to report it to the day staff.

After 2 weeks of discharge from hospital, I had to get readmitted in gade ward. I struggled for 14 days without having a diagnosis. On one Saturday, I had severe vomiting and headache... my BP went up to 234/125 mm Hg....I felt very dizzy and had a feeling that I was dying... I was only 25 years and my vital signs showed that there was something wrong. The nurse in charge was very anxious and called the doctor around 9: 00am. She did whatever she could to help me. The wonderful carers I got on that day had to change my clothes and beddings at least 3 times because of the projectile vomiting.

The nurse was continuously making calls to the doctor. But unfortunately, no doctors came to see me on that day or the next day. I was so worried that I was in the hospital. Otherwise, I could've called 999 and got the medical help I needed.

This year I had an operation to remove my appendix and ovarian tumour. I was rushed to the surgical department in the midnight. I had the surgery done around 5: 00 am. That was very quick and saved my ovaries. The care was very good.

After few weeks, I had a severe abdominal pain and I had to go to hospital again. There, I was in the surgical ward and the experience was very bad. I was told that I was waiting for a CT abdomen. I was seen by a surgeon and two junior consultants. The surgeon was so furious and was very rude to me. He was very angry that I couldn't say anything but cry. I went to the hospital with the physical pain. But, I was so hurt mentally and emotionally. He didn't want me to go for CT and he wasn't respecting the nurses. He told me that I can go home and see my GP if I have any problem.

I was in the hospital waiting to find out the reason for my pain. He wasn't concerned about me. When he left the room, I was full of tears, badly hurt and depressed. He didn't even offer me a tissue to wipe my tears. After some time, I asked the nurse about my discharge. She told me that 'nobody has discharged you, you are in pain' and asked me 'why do you want to get discharged'. This happened in the mid morning. In the evening, the nurse came to me and said, "You can go home now. I have got all your papers ready. Can you please pack your belongings and call somebody to come and pick you soon? ". At that time she forgot that I am disabled person and I need time to arrange everything.

So, there ends my hospital stay. After that very bad experience, I was very upset and didn't want to go and see my GP for two weeks. My brother told me that I have to give a written complaint against that surgeon. But, I was very sad and depressed that I couldn't do that. My GP reassured me and told me that I have to take care of my health and it should be my first priority. But still, I am so worried. When most of the doctors, nurses and other staff are very good, there are one or two who forgets the professional ethics and doesn't realise that they are dealing with humans not with dummies. I am writing this with pain in my heart. I don't want this to happen to anyone. Even though I have a lot of good memories about Watford general hospital, the first thing comes to my mind is that day.........that surgeon.......the heartbreak........I don't want to remember it. This had a very negative impact on my health. I fell sick a number of times......But didn't want to see the doctor.

When I saw the doctor, it was too late. He wanted me to go to hospital. I never went. I am still in pain. My GP told me that it will not be the same surgeon who will see me. But, I am not convinced. What if that same surgeon comes again and make me depressed? That is the fear I have now.....I don't know how long will it take for me to recover from this trauma.....

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Response from West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for taking the time to let us have feedback about the care you received from our team at Watford Hospital.

I'd like to start by saying I'm sorry to hear about the treatment you received – we always try to do the best we can for our patients and I was concerned to read that we had not done more for your pain.

I would like to be able to look into this further for you. That way we can find out why we didn't make you more comfortable.

By doing this, we will look into what happened and take the appropriate action, which may include retraining our staff where necessary.

With this in mind, it would be very helpful if you could please contact our patient advice and liaison service (PALS). They will be able to investigate what happened and, importantly, let you (and me) have feedback. It is important to us to capture our patients’ concerns and you will be helping us to learn from your experiences and to ensure that something similar does not happen again.

Our PALS team can be called on 01923 217 198 or you can email pals@whht.nhs.uk.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need to. My name is Stevie Pattison-Dick, Assistant Director of Communications and I am on email Stevie.pattison-dick@whht.nhs.uk or phone 01923 436 283.