"12 Months with still no diagnosis."

About: NHS Lanarkshire Wishaw General Hospital / Endoscopy

(as the patient),

I would like to complain about my treatment (or lack of it) from the NHS.

Over a year ago (early October 2014) I had a fall, resulting in damage to my spine and diaphragm area. The spinal damage was diagnosed as 2 concertinaed vertebrae after an x-ray at Wishaw, and has since stopped hurting. However, the damage to my diaphragm and abdomen has still not been established, despite severe pain at the start, and extreme discomfort ever since. The discomfort shows no sign of decreasing. Immediately after the fall my abdomen became severely extended and hard, and remains so, making me look as if I were 7 months pregnant when I am standing. I have difficulty with breathing when standing up straight and walking; I cannot bend down or sit with any comfort; I cannot pick up anything even slightly heavy; and can only eat a small amount before I feel bloated. Lying down is my only comfortable position.

However, when I lie flat the swelling disappears, which makes examining me lying down pointless. I keep pointing out to various doctors who have examined me. A scan of my abdomen (October 2014) proved normal, but as I was lying down, this was to be expected.

After 4 months my GP referred me for an appointment at the endoscopy clinic at Wishaw General, and I had to wait a further 8 months before being seen, finally, in October 2015 (12 months after the start of my problem). My colon and oesophagus were examined at this appointment, but NOT my diaphragm. This is extremely frustrating, as I made a point of emphasising to the doctor at Wishaw that in my opinion the diaphragm was at the root of the problem.

I have had hiatus hernia twice previously, both times diagnosed through endoscopy: I know the symptoms all too well. Why do so many of the medical profession fail to listen to their patients? I may not have a medical degree, but I do know my own body. The results of the 2 scopes are that “all is normal”. Yet how can it be normal when I am still suffering?

I am still waiting for a diagnosis of what has actually happened to my body and for some treatment to help me. I now have an appointment for December to see a specialist at Wishaw (which will be 4 months after referral). I presume that any further diagnostic action recommended by the specialist will entail a further wait of many months.

At the moment I feel extremely despondent, and in a state of limbo, with no sign of diagnosis or treatment in sight.

Although I am 83, before the fall I was active, fit and upright: not any more.

The quality of my life has been seriously affected, and I am now unable to carry out many day to day activities.

My own GP has shown great caring support but says they can do no more. It is the tardiness of the NHS generally that I blame for not responding to my obvious needs, for letting me down, leaving me in this state of limbo for so long. Is it my age perhaps? Because I am over 80, should I expect a different level of attention than if I had been younger?

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Response from Maureen Dobbin, Senior Nurse, Surgical & Critical Care, Wishaw General Hospital

picture of Maureen Dobbin

Dear MWS,

I am sorry you feel let down by the NHS and would like to assure you that age is not a factor if you are otherwise fit and well for investigations and treatment.

Can I advise you that Patient Opinion is a feedback service only and as it appears from what you have written that this is more of a complaint than feedback. If you would like to make a complaint, you can do this by contacting the patient affairs department on telephone number 01698 36655801698 366558 or the NHS Lanarkshire website to get details of the NHS complaints process.

Best Wishes


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Response from Hakim BenYounes, Chief of Medical Services, Wishaw General Hospital, NHS Lanarkshire

picture of Hakim BenYounes

Dear MWS

I am keen to help

could you please phone 01698 366558 with your details so I can review your records and phone you back to discuss the best way forward to help you.

Mr Benyounes

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