"Service sadly lacking"
About: Weston General Hospital Weston General Hospital Weston-Super-Mare BS23 4TQ
Posted by Sarah Ross
I was referred to radiology to have x rays taken of my right foot having broken the distal phalanx of my little toe. The radiologist was extremely friendly however she had difficulty finding someone to read my radiograph. My first negative experience arose when I heard the radiologist asking, and the doctor abruptly refusing to look at my x ray. His office was a matter of feet away from the waiting area and as a patient and professional (veterinary surgeon in a specialist referral hospital) I was embarrassed to hear the exchange. I presume the radiologist then found someone else to take a look as I was told a fracture was present and could I go to A and E and try asking them directly for an out-patient appointment with the fracture clinic. I did as I was told but was treated rudely by the A and E receptionist who spoke to me as though I had an extremely low level of intelligence and told me I would have to be seen by the triage nurse like everybody else. I had no objection at all to this and tried to communicate that I was just passing on the message I had been given by a colleague of hers in the same hospital! After a long wait I was seen by the nurse who unsurprisingly said I had to go back to reception and make an appointment with the fracture clinic. I did so and got the first available appointment, two weeks later. I had not had anyone actually examine or treat my broken toe so drove home to strap my own toe prior to returning to work, wishing I had not taken a full morning off to go through this rigmarole. I attended the fracture clinic appointment on the designated date. I again had a perfectly pleasant experience in radiology. I was then seen by a consultant who said the toe had been broken, however my previous x rays were better and he wanted to request a second attempt at a true lateral. He indicated that even if there was no displacement he would want to see me back to ensure there was not a malunion as some time had passed between first injury and initial presentation and we were now two weeks on from this time without full healing. I went back to radiology. Unfortunately when I returned to the fracture clinic I was seen by another consultant who was completely dismissive. He did not interact with me as a patient on any level. He said he could see no fracture, if there had ever even been one. I tried to explain that indeed there certainly was a fracture which had been confirmed at this very hospital on two occasions (one no more than 15 minutes previously) and I myself was able to palpate and move the fracture ends for a long time prior to callous formation. He told me we were looking at a growth plate and that he did not need to see me again. I was shocked and taken aback and as I gathered up my things I asked what I needed to do with it (meaning my toe). He replied "hand it in at reception" and sadly was referring to the yellow form I was holding. Human health care gone wrong.