"Not listened to when being treated for earache"

About: Central Lancashire PCT Royal Preston Hospital / Ear, Nose and Throat

(as the patient),

In June 2007 I was stung/bitten inside my left ear whilst in Turkey. The left side of my face swelled up for a few days and I went to my GP in July 2007.

The locum I spoke to prescribed topical antibiotic ear drops which eased the pain and symptoms of ear discharge and partial deafness. A month later the symptoms had returned and I returned to see my GP who prescribed oral antibiotics which had the same effect as before ie the symptoms alleviated for a short while and then returned. This same pattern of antibiotics whether oral or topical was repeated 4 times until in December 2007 I demanded a second opinion.

In December 2007 I visited a ENT consultant at Royal Preston Hospital Audiology Clinic. Following a hearing test the consultant was given my story and following a cursory examination I was prescribed topical antibiotics. The same rattern developed as before and when I returned to see the consultant in January 2008 the symptoms had subsided bar partial deafness. The consultant pronounced no infection and told me to inhale steam to clear the eustacian canal. By the time I was to return to my next appointment in March 2008 most of the symptoms had returned and my affected ear had discharged 3 times.

The day before my appointment I complained reluctantly to PALS who contacted the customer care department at Royal Preston Hospital. Karen of customer care rang me and listened to my saga. She contacted the consultant and when I saw him next day he confirmed that my ear was still infected and started serious treatment which consisted of sucking out the infected matter in my ear and prescribing an antibiotic earspray and oral antibiotics. So far the effect has been good with my hearing largely restored and the pain and discharge relieved. I see the consultant again on 3 April 2008 and I hope that my misery will be over.

In my opinion neither my GP nor the ENT consultant listened to my story and so did not treat my ear appropriately. They ignored my observations that the symptoms would go dormant and then return. As a result I have suffered far more than necessary and a lot of NHS time and money has been wasted unnecessarily. I feel that the moral for the medical profession is to follow the elementary rule of listening to the patient.

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