"Distressed by lack of dignity"

About: The Royal Liverpool University Hospital / Gastroenterology

(as the patient),

I'm a proud man in my mid 30's whom was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis around 2 years ago. During these two years I have undergone various minor treatments, without success.

After yet another visit to my Gastroenterologist, it was recommended that I undergo another flexible sigmoidoscopy. This was to take place in the Royal Liverpool Hospital. I received an information pack which contained an “Enema” which had instructions on how to use, and information leaflet.

The leaflet contained information suggesting that should I feel unsure about self-administering the enema, I could bring it along and have it done for me. I called the reception desk first to double check, which told me that it would be fine. I was told I’d be given a private room with an en-suite toilet for privacy. Feeling that this may be a better option, I decided it best carried out by a professional.

I arrived at the Royal around an hour before my appointment, and explained that I wanted assistance with the enema.

After around 15 mins wait I was called in. The male nurse, who saw to me seemed disappointed that I hadn’t chosen to do it myself, and made me feel a little un-masculine, to have asked for assistance. He followed this up with, “you don’t want me to do that for you” “do you”? This left me a little embarrassed and I agreed to deal with this myself. I was handed a filthy gown, and he left me to it.

I followed the instructions on the packaging, and got on with it.

Not to include too, much detail, but lest say the enema was doing its job.

After about 15 mins, the nurse came back, and asked for the room back, as they needed it for another patient. I explained that I was unsure that if I had finished using the toilet. He told me there was another one where he was taking me. We then noticed that my gown didn’t fasten and he draped a blanket over my shoulders to cover my exposed rear, and I was walked down the corridor in search of another room. He decided that I would wait at a chair in the corridor and use a toilet that was there. By this time, I was desperate to go. I tried to use the toilet but it was locked.

He pointed this out to him, and he took me to another room, and knocked on the door. This room had another patient that was being consulted in it. He asked them to leave. I felt embarrassed being there, whilst a patient and a member of hospital staff were asked to vacant the room as I needed the toilet. Whilst the other patient was gathering their belongings, I noticed that the toilet I was to be using had an “out of order” sign on it.

By this time, it was becoming difficult to hold my need for the toilet; after all I had just had an enema.

I was taken back to the first room I had been in, and left for around 45 mins before anyone returned.

To follow up on this, the flexible sigmoidoscopy operator was incredibly professional, he had a manner about him that was considerate, and respectful, and for this I applaud him.

Unfortunately, his efforts had little effect calming my worries, as I had become a little distressed by the lack of dignity I was provided, at the forefront of this procedure.

I’m embarrassed talking about my condition, at the best of times. But to be in the hands of someone whom I thought would have been a professional; I have been left feeling degraded, and a little violated be the lack of respect and dignity I was shown.

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Response from The Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Thank you for your comments. We are sorry to hear that you didn’t have a good experience of care at the Royal. We would like to find out more from you so we can investigate your concerns properly. If you would like to contact the Customer Relations Team, they will be able to help. You can contact them by phoning 0151706 4903/2265, via complaints@rlbuht.nhs.uk or typetalk 18001 0151 706 4903/2265.