"Mixed experience at Northampton General"

About: Northampton General Hospital (Acute) / General surgery

(as the patient),

I was admitted as an emergency patient for an inguinal hernia repair and the duty surgeon performed keyhole surgery the same night. I can only commend the surgeon, anaesthetist and theatre staff who were brilliant. I woke up in Hawthorn Ward around 6:30 a.m. as their day was beginning.

After being asked if I wanted breakfast I was given a jug of water. It soon became apparent to me (even in my groggy state) that the nursing staff were obsessed by my ability to pass water as every hour or so I was threatened with a catheter unless I could pee in a bottle. The lack of privacy and dignity in the ward as well as its stifling atmosphere was not conducive to this.

Eventually I persuaded a male nurse to help me from bed and walk me to the toilet. As the day progressed I was more able to do this myself and by 17:00 could walk and pass urine normally and eventually I was discharged.

I declined the lunch on offer as it looked barely edible and lukewarm. I had to refill my water jug myself as no-one seemed willing to help. The ward was just an untidy mess and there was a lack of bed bottles.

What I found particularly distressing was the total lack of consideration, privacy and dignity I felt was afforded to me and the other patients on the ward. The chap in the bed opposite me was being taken for dialysis and was nearly tipped on the floor as they tried to get him in a wheelchair. One poor chap had his problems discussed in loud voices throughout the day through partially closed curtains. The staff attempts with catheters and stomach tubes sounded more like Gestapo torture as he begged them to stop.

This unsympathetic target driven nursing made me very determined to resist the catheter and discharge myself if necessary. To date my recovery has gone well.

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