"Surgery excellent, food awful, discharge was..."

About: Derriford Hospital

What I liked

Surgery delayed 24hrs - good communication, no cancellation, first on list following day.

The nurses made me a coffee on a couple of nights around 2 - 3 am, much appreciated !

Follow up appointment, at 6 weeks, with surgeon was thorough, informative, and reassuring.

What could be improved

Surgery delayed 24hrs - lack of HDU beds.

Food was very bland and uninspiring. I existed mainly on soups and puddings.

Epidural in my back was partially withdrawn, leaking some fluid down my back instead of into it.

Needed attention from pain management specialist to counteract inefficient epidural feed.

Leak not fully recognised until removal 48hrs later.

Discharge was very stressful

1) Op on Thursday, discharged as scheduled on following Monday - I was happy with that.

2) 12 noon on Monday I volunteered to vacate the bed immediately as there was an urgent need for an HDU bed (sounds familiar?)

3) 12:30 Taken to an unoccupied meeting room about 100m away. Told to wait for dressings and tablets.

3) 13:00 Ward nurse brought dressings and discharge papers. Told to wait for medication.

4) 14:00 Assistant from pharmacy brought part of medication (Codeine pills) and asked did I want the Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. I confirmed that these pills were also required as I was 3 miles from nearest chemist also not permitted to drive for 4 weeks.

5) 16:00 Pharmacy assistant finally delivered medication.

From 12:30 to 16:00 I was sat on the equivalent of a dining chair. No refreshment was offered, although some visitors who joined me for a short while brought me a drink.

From 15:00 I was in need of the toilet, but worried that if I left the room I would miss receiving the medication.

By 16:00 I was feeling decidedly weak and was beginning to have doubts about undertaking the journey home.

Fortunately my taxi arrived very quickly and I was back home by 16:45.

My wife was horrified at my condition when I arrived home. In her own words "Your complexion had gone grey, you were unsteady on your feet, and looked worse that when I saw you the day after your operation"

I remained in bed for 48hrs after arriving home and it took a further five days before I felt as well as did prior to discharge.

Anything else?

Really annoying was that the Paracetamol and Ibuprofen pills were absolutely normal ones that I could have purchased from the chemist on the way out!

Bemused by the constant visits from various doctors and other medical staff often with 3 or 4 "trainees" in tow.

Can't remember seeing the same doctor twice - always seemed to be someone different.

Story from NHS Choices

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