"Felt my husband was ignored by consultant"

About: Darlington Memorial Hospital / Urology

(as the patient),

My husband had a biopsy last month. It came back with some Gleason 6 scores (not anything to worry about immediately) and so we went to the consultant to find out what came next. We got there at the right time and we waited and waited. They saw everybody else before us then called us in. At the door they changed their mind, they thought they'd see one last person before us and we were sent back to wait. We finally got in and they said yes, you have cancer, but it's not aggressive and you can have a prostatectomy or you can just 'wait and see' and be monitored. They talked statistics into the air, ignored the fact that I (the wife) was there, and hardly told us anything at all. When my husband asked exactly where the cancer was on the prostate, the consultatn gave a cursory glance at his notes and said sorry they didn't know. My husband said, can I just ask a couple of questions and the response he got - verbatim - was 'Ok but make it quick, I need to be somewhere else at 12 o'clock'. The consultant was the coldest, most unsympathetic and unhelpful doctor you could ever wish to have. Furthermore, they wrote a letter to the GP outlining our visit which had been about 10 minutes in length, saying that they had covered all the therapies etc in full with us, which was completely untrue. They even got my husband's PSA number wrong. It was as though they couldn't care less.

So we came out of the meeting devastated and totally not knowing what to do. The upshot is that we sought a private consultation with someone else I found on the internet at a hospital some distance away - we needed more information, more guidance. This consultant suggested another biopsy, particularly since my husband had had a previous 'suspicious' biopsy which we had been told was nothing to worry about. On the contrary, the private consultant said it warranted further investigation. So 3 weeks ago he had another biopsy and a cluster of Gleason 7s were found - my husband is now a cancer patient and we are awaiting scans to see if it has spread. Had we stayed with our original consultant and done as they advised, I dread to think of the outcome. I feel that the service we got was anything but thorough and caring, and I pity any other men who have this person as a consultant when going through prostate cancer.

As a PS to this story, I should also say that I spoke to a nurse in the urology department who was very sympathetic. I told them of my concerns and they told me that it was 'only' the third time they'd heard of a complaint about this consultant. Surely once is enough? And how many men won't complain because they feel they have no other options?

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