"Lack of care investigating the cause of my..."

About: John Radcliffe Hospital

What I liked

I had an appointment for an ultrasound scan to investigate abnormal bleeding (ie. heavy and prolonged). I was seen on time, and the radiologist was very pleasent and efficient.

What could be improved

The consultant I saw subsequently was not interested in investigating my problems any further than the radiologist's report. He proposed surgery that would have been inapropriate in my case, as I found out later when I went for a second opinion at a different hospital. He was also not very sympathetic or approchable to my questions.

I went on to be treated at the second hospital, but I feel dismayed that I couldn't get the right treatment at the JR, my local hospital. As well as subjecting me to invasive surgery that would have done no good, it would have been a waste of NHS time and money.

Anything else?

The story in more detail: My radiology report had stated "multiple fibroids", giving the size and location of the largest one only (~ 5cm). On the basis of this, the consultant decided to operate on just this largest one, using keyhole surgery, and then fit a mirena coil, as a standard procedure. I got the impression he had not actually seen the scan himself. I was concerned that some of the other fibroids might also be causing my problems and need treating, and hoped this would be investigated before surgery. When I got the date of my surgery, I managed to arrange another appointment with him to discuss.

His answer was no, he would not investigate further, there was no point, he would operate on the largest one and that was that. And anyway, my problems were probably "hormonal", but no, that could not be tested for. He seemed irritated by me asking questions, and I felt dismissed.

The whole exchange made me very concerned, and so I arranged for a second opinion at a London hospital (as a private patient, to speed up the process, which cost a bit), with a female specialist who had sounded very approachable on her website. She did another scan herself, studied it closely, and discovered the fibroid the JR consultant was going to remove was in a location that would probably not have been giving me any symptoms. However I had another growth on the inner uterine lining ("sub-mucosal"), which was quite likely causing me problems, which hadn't been noticed at the JR. Also, being on the inner lining, keyhole surgery would not have worked.

I cancelled my surgery at the JR, and was treated at this second hospital (fortunately on the NHS), using hysteroscopic surgery, a much less invasive procedure. Since having this procedure, my initial symptoms have almost comletely gone away - so it was the right thing to do. So I think my concerns about the JR approch turned out to be well-founded.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from John Radcliffe Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to recount your experience, my name is Caroline and I work in the Children’s and Women’s division of Oxford University Hospitals who, if I interpret your experience correctly would have been responsible for your care at our hospital. If you would like to discuss this further please contact me on telephone number 01865 222091 and I will happily call you back.

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