"Painful And Distressing Sigmoidoscopy Experience"

About: Salford Royal / Gastroenterology

(as the patient),

I went for a flexible sigmoidoscopy which was a very distressing experience. I attempted this procedure a few years ago at another hospital, but they had to stop the test as I was in such pain. However, my symptoms got much worse.

I was seen by a consultant on a Saturday and called in for the test on the Tuesday with only a days’ notice and no prep instructions, and as I was on my own they couldn't do the sedation so I had a wasted journey. They had then arranged for me to have it a couple of weeks later. I explained that I suffer with mental health problems and anxiety. It was very difficult as I kept being given different conflicting information about the prep and what to expect.

Some of the people said not to eat anything after midnight the night before. Others said to eat and drink normally until the enema, which was to be administered in hospital. I needed to clarify what was the right advice as I have diabetes and I am on a lot of medication, but I couldn't get any clear advice.

Things got off to a bad start. I had booked patient transport which didn't turn up so then I had to get a taxi and barely got there on time. I was taken into a cubicle fairly quickly and then asked questions and signed the consent form. Next, I had an enema. I had to put on a pair of `modesty shorts', with an access hole for my bum and a hospital gown. The nurse put a cannula into my arm despite saying `no one has sedation’ for this procedure. She said they had had 12 patients in that morning and not one had requested sedation. It was ironic then that everyone I heard being admitted for the same procedure were all requesting sedation. I was really scared and started to feel unwell having not had anything to eat or drink and having diabetes. It was very hot in the cubicle and a bit claustrophobic. It seemed everyone had been taken in beforehand and it was now about 12 30 and all the nursing staff were going for their dinner and asking about the afternoon list of patients.

At this point I couldn't stand it anymore and was about to leave when the nurse said I was next in. Eventually someone came for me but I could see they were in a foul mood. This time there was no smiles or reassurance. There were two women and a man in the room (who had the endoscope). One of the women told me to take my shoes off, as they didn’t want them messing the bed up. No one said ‘hello’ or tried to put me at ease. Immediately I felt tense.

They then started asking me loads of medical questions, the ones I had already answered on the words such as allergies lists of medications etc. have a done my prep. I said I had already answered those on the ward, but I was told not to argue. She kept asking my BMI, but I had no idea what she meant. She took this to be me being obstructive.

The other woman was barking instructions at me. I felt terrified and was crying and wailing now which seemed to make them madder. I asked if my husband could come in for a minute but they said no relatives were allowed in the test room, so I asked if the nurse I had seen on the ward could come in, but they said no.

The man with the endoscope said called in another woman, who came in with the demeanour of a nightclub bouncer. She asked me what they problem was, I said I just wanted to get on with the procedure. She started asking why I was crying, so I said people keep shouting at me and barking instructions then she was telling me off, saying they are not.

They again asked if I wanted the test and told me to stop crying. She was very angry about it. They told me off for getting tears over the bed and making it wet. They all stood round in defensive way. I felt trapped. I told them I felt unsafe, which made them very angry and they took this as a complaint. I felt that they had no bedside manner and no compassion.

The doctor tried to insert the scope, but was sticking it in my skin and not in the right place which was painful. Frustrated that he was missing his target, he then thrust the scope into me with brute force. I nearly hit the ceiling and let out a cry of pain. This seemed to anger them even more. I asked if he could insert the endoscope a bit slower, as he was hurting me. They took this to mean I didn't want a male doing it and had a problem with this, but I said I didn't care who did it just that they were less rough with me. He tried it again and did the same and they told me brusquely, they were terminating the test.

I was left to walk down the corridor in my modesty shorts with the hole up the back, in my bare feet, crying and calling for my husband in the waiting room in front of bemused patients. I felt really unwell when I got home.

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Response from Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

Hi Mungo At The Crossroads

Thank you for telling us about your experiences. We were sorry to read about the problems you have reported and the Trust would welcome the chance to look into these concerns further, and to apologise for any distress which may have been caused.

Please can we encourage you to contact our PALS service on 0161 206 2003 or email them directly on pals@srft.nhs.uk - they will be able to explain how we can best investigate the issues you have raised to improve our service.

Thank you again for taking time to provide this feedback.