"Post-Laproscopic Appendectomy Care"

About: East Surrey Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I was recently a patient at East Surrey Hospital, Redhill and have been left feeling extremely upset and annoyed by the way I was treated.

I am an air hostess and was abroad on business (not on 'holiday' as is suggested on my Discharge Summary) when I started suffering with severe pains. After visiting the hospital while I was away twice, I was still unwell and on my return to England I immediately went to A & E in Crawley. It was in the early hours of the morning one Sunday in October. I explained my symptoms to the person on reception who asked if I could return during normal hours as I did not appear to be in much pain. I can assure you that I was in a great deal of pain and had been suffering discomfort for almost a week. Describing my pain seemed not to be sufficient. Did I need to be more dramatic?

I persisted and was seen by a doctor who sent me to A&E in East Surrey Hospital, Redhill with suspected appendicitis.

I had a laproscopic appendectomy later that day. I was looked after extremely well by the doctors, nurses and other staff at East Surrey Hospital until the day after my surgery. At this point I was in the Day Surgery Unit, floor 1.

On Monday, I was given conflicting information about whether I could leave the hospital, as my pain was still not controlled and I was suffering with constipation. Due to this, and that my parents were travelling down to help me, I stayed for another night. That night was awful. I was in a lot of pain and got no sleep. The nurse on duty did very little to help make me more comfortable.

At about 5 or 6 in the morning a doctor came to look at me. After examining me, he said that he was glad that I had not been discharged and that he was unsure if I would be able to leave that day as well.

On Tuesday, in the morning, I went to the bathroom with difficulty to freshen up. I was really struggling to walk and the pain was great. Most of the nurses, except one, made no secret of the fact that they thought I was being 'over sensitive'. I could tell by their lack of willingness to help me, their manner towards me and the looks they gave me. I am by no stretch of the imagination a 'soft' person. I have never been off work for a prolonged period of time with sickness and it is not in my nature to exaggerate how I am feeling.

On leaving the bathroom, I heard one doctor ask another doctor what I was on the ward for. The second doctor replied that I had had my appendix removed on the Sunday, which was met with a great deal of laughter and comments about people usually being discharged the same day. The second doctor replied that the hospital was 'being kind' by letting me stay. Can you imagine how this made me feel?! I was already feeling horrendous and now people were making me feel like I was taking up a bed unnecessarily. Those people knew nothing about my case, they had not examined me and yet there they were mocking me. I feel this behaviour is disgusting.

So there I am feeling very emotional, being told one minute that I am not fit to leave the hospital and the next minute that I am a joke, when my mother and friend arrived.

I explained my feelings to my mother and we asked to speak to someone. We were given the opportunity to tell somebody how I had been treated and the second doctor from earlier came and apologised. I then left the hospital still suffering from severe stabbing pains in my right hand side. I hadn't spoken to anyone about how to manage my pain or been assured about whether what I was feeling was normal.

I later was contacted to be told that I had not been given my Discharge Summary or discharge medications. This seems incompetent!

I had been given a 3 week sick note.

Due to my job being of a physical nature, a representative from BAHS (British Airways Health Services) and my GP deemed it necessary for me to have a further 2 weeks off.

My company, unfortunately lost my original sick note. Today, I rang East Surrey Hospital, Redhill and spoke to a member of staff from the Day Surgery Ward. I explained that I needed a duplicate sick note. The person on the phone had an arrogant, rushed manner. They said that I needed to contact my GP for a duplicate sick note, which was fair enough, but then added that I 'shouldn't need more than 3 weeks off'. I have already been given an extra 2 weeks off work, so how do you think I have been left feeling after this unnecessary comment? I am left feeling like I am work-shy and taking more time off than I should. This person does not know my case or anything about my recovery or the job I am returning to.

I know that I am not ready to return to work and am upset about how long I have taken to thoroughly recover. My GP, my employer, my family and the guidance online all suggest that I am recovering at an appropriate speed, however the staff on Day Surgery Ward have constantly made me feel like I am a 'drama queen'. I cannot stress enough how upset they have left me feeling on numerous occasions.

For people who are working in a caring profession, I find their way of treating people to be shocking.

I am a hard-working person, an ex-teacher and currently an air hostess, and I pay my way in this country. To be treated the way I have by NHS representatives is horrendous.

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Response from Ian Mackenzie, Director of Information and Facilities, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

picture of Ian Mackenzie

Dear AnnoyedAsh

I am very sorry to read about your recent experience.

In order for this to be looked into properly it would be really helpful if you could let me know your personal details. Could you either e-mail me at ian.mackenzie@sash.nhs.uk or call 01737 231988 and I will ensure someone looks into what happened.



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