"I felt the staff were totally inflexible in their attitudes"

About: King's College Hospital (Denmark Hill) / General surgery

(as a relative),

My mother went in for day surgery for a hernia op a couple of years ago - I'd have written up the experience here if I'd known the site existed at the time.

The surgery itself was performed brilliantly, but I have serious concerns about the quality of care in the daycare centre where my Mum had her op.

During surgery it transpired that my Mum had been slightly misdiagnosed in the run up to treatment, so needed various different things done. Crucially, her hernia was found not to be in her lower abdomen as had been thought, but in her leg. This meant more anaesthetic went into her leg so she had difficulty standing or walking for several hours after the operation.

The nurses in the unit seemed totally unprepared for this slight change in circumstances, and I feel did not adjust their protocol accordingly. So many nurses changed shifts throughout the day that I don't think many of them knew my mum's status.

So despite being unable to walk and very worried, my mother was treated like any other patient as though she'd had the op as originally planned. She was told by one nurse not to get out of bed, another told her that she HAD to try and walk, and encouraged her to do so unaided, despite having no feeling in her leg. She ended up having a nasty fall (at which point she was told off by the next nurse for getting out of bed) and was lucky not to injure herself.

Worst of all, at the end of the day my Mum was made to feel like she was making a fuss for pointing out that she couldn't walk. The staff gave her the option of being admitted overnight (which I think she should have been advised to do), but my mum felt that they made it sound as if this would be a huge imposition. I heard a few of the nurses at this point saying that they were late getting out for a colleague's leaving do at a local pub.

Not being the sort to argue, my Mum agreed to go home - but asked if she could be taken in a wheelchair to a friend's car. The staff refused to do this saying that she had to make her own way, and at this point it seemed to me that they might not be allowed to send someone home who needed a wheelchair - so they'd make her walk instead. I wish I'd spoken up, but I was fairly shaken by the day's events.

Finally, a couple of friends of ours agreed to come to the hospital and help get my Mum home - I had to ask a friend who was strong enough to help carry her to the car then up the stairs to her flat.

I feel very angry about what happened, as I do not feel my mother should have been treated as a day case. Day surgery would have been appropriate if all had gone absolutely to plan, but it didn't. I felt the staff were totally inflexible in their attitudes. I wish we'd complained while we had time!

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