"Teamwork between GPs and hospital consultants resulted in excellent care."
About: NHS Camden CCG NHS Camden CCG NW1 0PE University College Hospital / Accident and emergency University College Hospital Accident and emergency London NW1 2BU
Posted by Scotch Frankie (as ),
For a few seconds, the crashing and banging I could hear suggested that I might have been at a heavy metal concert, but then I remembered that my head was inside an MRI scanner.
It wasn’t where I’d have chosen to be, but it was reassuring to think that the staff at University College Hospital in London were treating me so thoroughly and professionally.
Less than 24 hours earlier I’d been feeling run-down and, although I’m not normally prone to high blood pressure, I was under such stress at work I thought my head was going to explode. I was also experiencing a tingling down one side of my face and one of my eye-lids had drooped.
I went to see a GP at the Parliament Hill Medical Centre in Kentish Town, London, late in the afternoon and the young doctor examined me quickly and thoroughly. Following a variety of visual and tactile tests he suggested that it was unlikely that I’d had a mini-stroke, and the tingling, which was on the right side of my face, suggested a facial palsy. But my sky-high blood pressure and drooping eyelid were a cause for concern.
He asked me to go home (I live nearby) and said he’d seek advice from a neurological consultant. Less than half an hour later he phoned me and suggested I should go back to the surgery, pick up a letter and present myself at the University College Hospital A&E Department.
I handed my letter to the receptionist there and had barely sat down for ten minutes when I was collected by a consultant and whisked into an examination room. He repeated the tests carried out by my GP, with a few added extras, and took my blood pressure again.
Then, almost before I knew it, I was in a hospital gown, had electrodes stuck to all parts of my chest and I was being given an ECG test.
The results were satisfactory, but an hour or so later I was taken by wheelchair – much to my embarrassment – to another department. There, I had my head stuck into what looked like a giant doughnut, for a CT scan.
An hour and a half later I was informed that the scan suggested that I hadn’t had a mini-stroke, as had been feared. However, the consultant was still concerned about some of my symptoms and decided to admit me overnight so that I could have an MRI scan the next day.
By lunchtime the next day I’d experienced the full range of high-tech hospital treatment and was completely reassured following the MRI scan that no problems had been diagnosed with regard to my heart and brain. The facial tingling then disappeared within a couple of weeks, suggesting it may have been virus-related.
As for the drooping eye – my wife experienced similar symptoms after digging the garden in the early evening. It seems that mosquitos may like to feast on exposed eyelids. In my case this unfortunately coincided with a virus and my blood pressure going through the roof.
It may be central London and it may be untypical, but the service and attention I received from Parliament Hill Medical Centre and from University College Hospital could not have been better. Well done the NHS.