"I hope that what has happened to my car, will never happen to yours"

About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Cardiology St John's Hospital / Cardiology

(as the patient),

After suffering Heart Attacks (I am sure there was more than one! ) with Troponin Count of 7, 200, I was asked (the following week) how I was coping after my Angiogram. The anticipated excited response of a happy patient was somewhat misplaced.

Initially, I wasn't believed when I said I hadn't had an Angiogram.

The following week, the same question asked by a different person from the same department. Upset, I again said I hadn't received an Angiogram.

It was then explained to me that an email had been generated from The Royal Infirmary Hospital in Edinburgh. This email had made it's way to St. John's. Apparently, It said I had received the procedure and I had been discharged.

I had never been to the Infirmary.

For the second time in two weeks, I was eventually believed. The Angiogram questions were followed with a deafening silence. Like something should happen but didn't.

No apology. No explanation. Nothing. I was nothing more than a squeaky fart in a vacuum.

You would think a "fast track" would go some way to appease the situation. To make up for lost time. Surely an Angiogram would be arranged as soon as possible?

I waited 2 full months for the Angiogram. Nobody spoke to me during this wait. Eventually, I had 5 stents fitted - not insignificant. Maybe it would only have been 4 stents if I had been treated earlier? And yes, It is a dirty wee secret that I know some folks are lucky enough to get an Angiogram within 24 hours of being admitted with a Heart Attack.

Subsequently, I was never told how successful this procedure was. I was never told what condition my heart was in. I walked away from this chapter. Grateful to finally distance myself from the angina - like experience.

From my admission with having suffered at least one Heart Attack, to the completion of my Cardio Rehab took 4 full months. Time spent with a Consultant or Doctor (outwith admissions) was no more than 120 seconds. 2 minutes. One extremely short meeting after 3 hours sleep on the morning of my admission. It was like someone interrupting my cardio dream. A short commercial break. I never saw him again.

I have a car. When it gets sick, I take it to the car hospital. The doctors at the car hospital really do care about my old car. So much so, you can see It's been beaten up after working hard all its life. My car has Rheumatoid Arthritis. My car has Osteo Arthritis. My car has Myalgia Encephalomyelitis. My car has full body Neuropathies. My car now has Heart Disease. My car is tired. My car is anxious. My car needs help to survive and recover. My car needs treatment plans, servicing and M. O. T's.

My car has lost it's shine. It has long lost it's "voom voom. "

But, you know that for my car, the car Consultants' give it a full body medical. They treat the symptoms and give a prognosis. They tell me how well any operations have gone and if more treatment is required. They tell me how long this will take and are accountable for the work they do. They consult and agree the best way forward.

They do not generate emails saying that work has been carried out when it has not. They do not allow their staff to tell me they have made things better when they have not. They are not invisible. They apologise for delays. They apologise for mistakes. They apologise for lies.

My car is sad. It is sad and frustrated because it cannot function in the way I know everyone wants. It has to drive through difficult roads with Atos pot holes and GP speed bumps. So many medication roundabouts and red lights. Dead ends and one way streets are the usual. I see other road users and we share that same haunted look. Driving these roads are not fun. Driving when tired...

So to help with these very difficult roads (I cannot manage them on my own) my car has a lawyer.

This makes me very sad. So sad because my car's lawyer is.....

The ONLY person who really knows what is going on.

What it is like. How I cope. The pain I suffer. The dysfunctional services. The ego's. The mess. My car's lawyer has the accurate overview and monitors the blood pressure. He has the Sat Nav and the fuel to take me where I need to be. He is available. He is keen. He is accountable. My car's lawyer is on a short leash.

But enough of the high school metaphor. I am genuinely sad. I love the NHS. The Nurses have been beyond amazing. £12 an hour is a disgrace. They work. They work hard. Really hard. I have seen them in action and I am forever grateful.

It shouldn't be this way. It should be teamwork. Defined roles and responsibilities. Accountable. Skilled communications that are clear and understandable. Consultants supporting doctors supporting nurses supporting patients. GP's overseeing medications and treatment plans. Patients treated as service users and participants. Patients treated as equal but unique partners. Success achieved through shared goals that are driven from the "tail pipe" upwards.

So, I have told you a wee bit about me and my car. Why have I told you this? Simply because I hope that what has happened to my car, will never happen to yours...beep! beep!

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


Response from Jeannette Morrison, Head of Patient Experience, NHS Lothian

Dear TweeterCal

I am sorry to hear what has been happening to you, it sounds as though you have had a difficult time. I would be happy to look into this for you and would be grateful if you can please contact the Patient Experience Team and our contact details are:

Email: feedback@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

Postal: 2 - 4 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EG

Telephone: 0131 536 3370

I hope that we can help.

Kind regards


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Update posted by TweeterCal (the patient)

Hi Jeanette

I appreciate you taking the time to read my piece and respond. I am not sure what outcome you can propose by "looking into" my experiences further? Like I say, I am happy to distance myself from this chapter and rehabilitate. I am not finger pointing or asking for post mortems or apologies from people who are paid to apologise. I actually think myself very lucky to be writing on the Patient Opinion site. I think It is enough that my story is out there and has been read. Maybe it will influence something or someone that will make my experience less likely to happen again. Maybe not.

One of the values of this site is it's impartiality in offering a public platform to share experiences. Unfortunately, I have had cause to use this site before and I hope never to have to use it again.

I think that in my current condition, it would be unwise for me to engage in something that could cause more upset and stress my stents. I have given enough information about what has happened and I will leave the rest up to the reader.

Finally, I am not ungrateful to all the very highly skilled medical staff I have met over the past 4 months, I am only hoping that the seemingly prolonged waiting for this kind of truly amazing surgery is wherever, avoided. I suspect (electronic} communication, budgets and the forever stretching of limited resources is a major issue.

Thanks again, TweeterCal.