"Fantastic service all round!"

About: Heavitree Hospital / Day case surgery Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) / Colorectal surgery

(as the patient),

I was first admitted to the RD&E in October 2012 with acute diarrhoea. I was quickly diagnosed with ulcerative colitis but didn't respond to steroid or immunosuppressant treatment.

After a few days I was rushed to theatre for an emergency subtotal colectomy, performed by Steve Mansfield. My colon had perforated and I was quite close to dying. I spent nearly a week in ITU before being moved to Lyme Ward where I stayed for another 5 weeks, suffering from a post-operative ileus, unable to eat and requiring an NG tube and TPN feeding through a PICC line.

I eventually recovered and in August 2013 I had keyhole surgery performed again by Steve, to create an ileo-anal pouch, or j-pouch. I spent 5 days on Lyme Ward again, this time recovering well. I was back in again for the reversal or "takedown" surgery in October 2013, this time I spent 4 nights on Lyme Ward again.

The story should finish here but sadly I was never able to shift the ulcerative colitis in the small part of my rectum which had to remain as part of the pouch anastomosis. I spent the next 15 months having regular consultations with the GI medical team, including Drs Tariq Ahmed and Abhey Singh. I tried several treatments including prednisolone and infliximab infusions. I was hospitalised three times in early 2014, spending an average of four nights each time on either Exe or Oakment Wards. I also had two day-case surgeries in the second half of 2014 to drain abscesses and fistulae and to fit seton stitches, these were also performed by Steve at the Heavitree Road site.

I decided in late 2014 that I no longer wanted to try to make the j-pouch work, and in January 2015 was admitted for pouch excision and proctocolectomy surgery, again with Steve Mansfield, in partnership with Andrew Gee. I suffered from a slight post-operative ileus again and was discharged from Lyme Ward 8 days later.

I'm now nearly six weeks out from the surgery and I'm feeling better than I've felt in the last three years. The stoma that Steve has created this time is a textbook example, absolutely no issues with it whatsoever and it looks so clean and neat, as do the scars from the laparotomy and proctocolectomy.

I really can't begin to thank everyone who has been, almost without exception, absolutely fantastic throughout my treatment. I've always felt that the doctors and surgeons have been excellent, particularly in consultations where I've always felt that the information I've been given is clear and my questions answered.

But mostly I'd like to thank the nurses, particularly those on Lyme Ward, who have had to deal with many weeks of me, who will freely admit to being a fairly difficult patient. I am extremely nervous and prone to panic attacks during even the most innoculus of procedures and treatments, but I've always been put at ease by the nurses there, who are full of care and compassion unreservedly, and always have plenty of time for me. I'd also like to thank the Stoma Care Nurses whose patience and education made the transition to being an "ostomate" as simple as possible.

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Responses

Response from Rebecca McGuffog, Patient Engagement and Experience Officer, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Josh Short

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your story with us regarding your experiences of your treatment at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. I am delighted to hear that you are so happy with the care and treatment you received.

I would like to thank you for your positive feedback. Kind comments such as yours are always gratefully received. I would like to wish you well for the future and hope you continue to make a good recovery.

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Response from Peter Brain, Volunteer, Healthwatch Devon

Dear 'shortjosh',

The comments and responses on the web-site of Patient Opinion are shared with us at Healthwatch.

This experience you describe was eventually a good one, despite the setbacks on the way. As the trust says, it is helpful to have the full story of your long journey which we all hope is back to good health. It is admirable that you can be honest about your anxieties, which will be shared by others. We wish you well.

More generally we are building a picture of the provision of services in Devon and these comments will help the NHS and other providers develop and improve their services.

If you wish to discuss any health or social care issues with us in confidence, including seeking advice or information about services, please call 0800 520 0640, or email info@healthwatchdevon.co.uk or go on-line to www.healthwatchdevon.co.uk.

Yours sincerely

Peter Brain

Volunteer

Healthwatch Devon is the consumer champion for Health and Social Care in Devon.

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Response from Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford)

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. I am delighted to hear that you are so happy with the care and treatment you have received during your several admissions to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. I would like to thank you very much for your positive feedback. Kind comments such as yours are always gratefully received. I would like to wish you well with your future treatment.