"Misleading and Upsetting Information"

About: Royal Gwent Hospital / General Surgery

(as a relative),

My husband had been told that he would need a major operation to "re-new" veins in both legs as his arteries were blocked. because I have an excessive fear of hospitals, and find myself unable to visit anyone with myself taking tablets first the Doctor told me he would telephone as soon as he had time on the day of the op to let me know what had taken place.

My husband went to the ward given on his information slip and was told he would be going into theatre at 9. 30am (information he then phoned on to me).

I had been informed (by the doctor that the op would take 3 - 4 hours so at approx 3pm I rang the ward to see if my husband was OK. A very nice nurse told me that he would have been taken to a different ward as they had no spare beds on theirs. She gave me another number to ring and told me to call them at 5PM (I wasn't told what ward it was) I duly rang at 5pm ( by this time my grandson was with me)....I don't know who it was spoke to me but they stated that my husband had gone into theatre at 9. 35AM and was still in there I panicked at the time scale (7 and a half hours) and asked what had happened.

The member of staff said they didn't know and that I should ring I. C. U. at 6PM and they would tell me. When I asked why he was going to Intensive Care I was told that "that's where the patients who have strokes or heart attacks go". (I know these were the exact words the member of staff used - I won't forget them for a very long time! )

Now I really panicked, I kept asking what was happening with my husband but the only answers I got were, "Can you get here? " (No I couldn't - it's approx 15 miles from where I live and I had no-one to take me) Then "Can you get hold of your family - I really think they should be with you" I said I had a son lived in (4 hrs away) another son who drives a lorry and could be anywhere in the UK and an ex daughter in law just up the road who has 5 children and is caring for her mother who is recovering from a cancer op. I also told the member if staff there were no neighbours I could get in as I've only lived here a few months and know no-one well enough to ask them to come in and sit with me.

I was begging and pleading for information about my husband but the member of staff kept saying "Calm down, have a cup of tea and ring your son because I'm sure he will want to start driving back to you". At this point I seriously thought that my husband was dead and I asked point blank, but was told "I couldn't tell you even if he was - just call your family".

I was on the point of collapse so I hung up and called my son. I told him the whole story and he said he would ring the number I had rung. (I later found out that he did and got the same person as I had spoken to...because the member of staff asked if he was the truck driver or the Portsmouth son)....He was told " It might be best if you go to your mothers house as she is getting hysterical"

..He tried to explain about my hospital phobia and this was one of the reasons I was getting upset...along with the fact that I didn't know what was going on.. He said he had just pulled into another country and would come as soon as he could.

Meanwhile I had rung my ex-daughter in law and she left her children and mother with a friend and came round. We were all very upset at this point....as we knew we couldn't ring until 6PM....and we assumed by now that the news was going to be bad.

Then just after 5. 30pm the phone rang and it was the doctor who had done the op.....and then the story came out. The Doctor told me that the op had gone well and my husband was just waking up and was fine (No complications).

I didn't tell him about my conversation with the nurse but I did ask why the operation had taken so long, the doctor then informed me that the doctor had not been able to start it until 2PM as there had been an emergency first thing.

The op was all over by 5PM. When I asked why my husband was in ICU the doctor said he wasn't....He was in High Dependency but that was because he could get one to one care there for a couple of days before they found a bed on a ward.

My son, grandson and I visited my husband a couple of days after the op (He was then on D2W) but I didn't tell him about the misinformation I had been given as I didn't want to upset him. I can not fault the care that he had on this ward (although he did come down with a dose of diarrhea - which he was told was nothing to do with the op - but they moved him to a room of his own) He told the nurses about my phobia and when I managed to make the trip and visit on my own a couple of days later (without any medication) they could not have been kinder to me, asking if I was OK, making me a coffee and telling me they thought I had done well to make it there by myself. A couple of days later my husband was able to come home to recuperate and I then told him what had happened on the day of his op. He was most upset when he found out what I had been told, and thought they may have got him and the patient who went in before him (the emergency) mixed up, Whether this was the case or not someone needs to double check patient information before another relative is mis-informed - plus they really ought to think before they speak. The upset that was caused to myself and my family was inexcusable when based on the information we were given.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››