"Upset by the attitude and behaviour of the doctors at Whipps Cross"

About: Whipps Cross University Hospital / Accident and emergency Whipps Cross University Hospital / General medicine Whipps Cross University Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a relative),

I'd like to share a story about my grandmother who was admitted to hospital after a fall on Boxing Day 2010.

My gran is 78 and was coming down the stairs and had a fall fracturing one of her vertebrae in her neck (the 3rd one down, across the process and body of the vertebrae in question).

An ambulance was called by the family members at home and the ambulance arrived and did the necessary to ensure my gran was taken to our local hospital, which happened to be Whipps Cross Hospital.

At some point during her arrival an xray was taken to ensure no broken bones and so on. We were told that my gran was generally fine and should take some paracetamol and her bruising and scrapes to her head and arms would be seen to. Follwing this we took her home. Please note that at this stage none of her family knew that she had fractured a vertebrae. We took her home in the car and aren't sure to what further detriment this may have aggravated her fracture.

Once home and tucked up in bed, a phone call from the hospital from the senior registrar on duty advised us that she had a fracture and she should be bought back to hospital. We were not advised how best to bring my Gran back, should we have called an ambulance? Was it safe to allow her sit in the car, again we were not sure what further detriment we may cause her injury. The hospital seemed content that we bring her ourselves.

Once at the hospital and readmitted my gran recieved wonderful care by the nurses on the ward. I'd like to say a big thank you to all those on the ward who cared for her. Often it is the nurses on the wards who are see the same patients for longer periods than the doctors who are understandably on rounds.

Although we recieved impeccable service from the nurses i'd like to point out the poor bedside manner in which the doctors approached my gran.

I am shocked at the lack of common sense two medical doctors had when visiting my gran. There was no friendly introduction of who they were to either the patient or family members present at the time.

One of the doctors asked how the patient was feeling to which the patient explained the neck brace was quite tight and quite high. We were aware that due to the holiday period the correct neck brace was not available but neverthelesss the patient needed to be relieved of some discomfort.

The doctor correcting the brace and his actions can only be described as being brutal ripping it off quite roughly and not reall supporting her neck properly.

The doctors then followed this up by saying “she can go home”, “she can go home” and walked away. It is my understanding the brace is applied so minimal movement occurs it is therefore unacceptable that such force was applied when removing and reapplying the brace. No communication between doctor and patient took place during this process to understand whether the procedure was hurting her or if she could withstand the pain. This does not sound like a process that took into consideration her injuries or in the way it should have been handled.

As a result of this rough handling we were concerned that no damage to her nerves would or any chance of paralysis.

As mentioned above that whilst at the bedside the doctors decided the patient was fit for discharge. However no patient history/notes were checked, there was no clear rationale of why the patient was fit for discharge when questioned by family members aside from: "She can go, she can go, she can go".

As the relatives present weren't really sure how it was possible that the patient was fit for discharge a verbal disagreement took place between one of the relatives and one of the doctors as the doctor was unable to articulate a clear rationale of why the patient was still told that she was going to be discharged, despite the Nurse expressing that a physiotherapist had to approve this. We further learnt legislation has been passed that as a result of the fall and my gran's age, without seeing a physiotherapist she cannot be discharged. Both doctors were neither apologetic nor pragmatic about resolving the situation, with no clear understanding of whether the patient was staying or going, causing further frustration.

This is shocking that we have some doctors who are non-compliant with legislation. From the attitudes and behavior demonstrated we are not convinced the doctors dealing with my mother were fit enough to make a decision about her health and welfare. An additional heated discussion took place between the same doctor and a ward nurse, where the doctors conduct was extremely unprofessional and unnecessary. He was very rude to the staff nurse on duty. The doctors general behaviour goes against the General Medical Council's Code of conduct in general.

Here are the things I do understand, the doctors in this country work long hours and work hard to achieve their academic and practical assessments. I am sure that these doctors do provide wonderful care for other patients and that determing the health and welfare of different patients takes careful consideration.

I am not medically trained but do admire medical professionals who save lives on a daily basis. These doctors are human beings like us all and have bad days but there is no reason to lose common courtesy and employ poor bedside manners and judgement. Trust is quite difficult to gain back when a situations like this is poorly handled.

It would have been nice to have received an apology from both doctors.

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