"with better co-ordination, I could have gone home two days earlier"

About: Queen's Hospital / General medicine

(as the patient),

My GP sent me to A&E on one Wednesday in October due to a severely infected middle finger of my right hand. I spent a night in an assessment ward and the next day was eventually moved to Recovery to have an operation (incision & drain). After some time, I was informed that I was "not on the list"! , but as a result of the intervention of theatre staff nurse, I was reinstated the operation was performed by an impressive and concerned theatre team.

The following day, I recovered.

That Saturday , I was visited by the consultant, who checked my finger and said that he would check it again on Sunday and probably perform a "Wash out" on Monday, my finger was re dressed. Later, I was informed that I must fast from midnight, as the wash out was to be performed on Sunday.

I fast and at 2. 00 PM on Sunday I was informed that I was not on the list, but would be, on Monday so I should fast again from midnight!

On Monday, I have a saline drip at 2. 00 AM, fast until 3. 00 PM, when I am informed that I am not on the list. At 5 PM, the consultant called to see me, checked my finger and said that a colleague would see me in the morning and I would definitely be on the list on tomorrow, so I should fast from midnight. In as polite terms as humanly possible, I express my anger at the complete lack of communication within Ward Ocean B and, apart from five "exceptional" Staff Nurses, the lack of apparent organisation and supervision of staff!

Tuesday, 10. 45am I am seen by an orthopaedic doctor who inspected my finger and says that a wash out is appropriate and will be done "today, if not tomorrow" I inform him that it is my third consecutive day of fasting and, later, I receive confirmation that it will be performed today!

Wednesday, I wait until the afternoon, when the theatre team, come to confirm that my nail was lifted and a small amount of infection was successfully washed out. All being well, I will be checked tomorrow and sent home.

Thursday, I experience acute constipation and ask a nurse for help; I am informed that "unless a doctor prescribes, darlin (sic), we can't help"! ! I wait until 2. 00 PM when a consultant checks my finger, pronounces it fine and, finally, I am on my way home.

I made these notes because it is evident to me that there is a complete lack of communication on my part and the other 3 patients in the room. In fact, the family of one gentleman expressed their similar concern on more than one occasion. Also, there was no daily presence of a Ward Sister. However, the exemplary and "beyond the call of duty" care and attention from Staff Nurses, who were unflappable and everywhere deserves my praise and recognition.

In summary, I believe a good "old fashioned" Matron, would transform the management, efficiency and moral of staff. The pressure on availability of beds is undoubted and, had I not been required to fast on three consecutive days, my bed may have been available possibly two days earlier!

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