"DRI fiasco"

About: Doncaster Royal Infirmary / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I was admitted to Ward 6 (Orthopedics) at DRI on a Wednesdy for surgery to remove a collapsed disc and have a spinal fusion. Admission went fine, first meeting with anesthetist completed ready for surgery. Off we went to theatre, last checks before anesthetic was administered the anesthetist asked how much I weighed (I thought she'd already know that!) and then appeared to change my drugs. Then I was out.

Returned to the ward ok after the operation and that's when the fun began. Visiting time on the day of the operation my wife arrived to find 2 nursing staff attempting to sit me up in bed at the same time asking which was my sore hip! My wife asked them if they should be doing that as I'd just had spinal surgery. The response was "Oh we thought he'd had a hip replacement". Then during my wife’s' visit I felt sick, my wife asked for a bowl and a Health Care Assistant came with a bowl and again I was asked which was my sore hip as she again tried to sit me up. Once more she was met with protests from the two of us and informed that I had not had a hip replacement but spinal surgery.

My wife rang the ward later that night to voice her concerns and was assured that this would not happen again. After this I was completely ignored by the Staff Nurse in question.

That night at approximately 3am I vomited, managed to hit a nurse, the floor and some in the bowl (I was still flat on my back). At this point I was given medication to prevent further nausea. The bowl was left on my bed side cabinet until I asked for it to be removed during the afternoon of that day.

That morning (Thursday) the food trolley trundled past my bed, so did the drinks trolley and then the lunch trolley! I was still on morphine and still drowsy from the operation so just kept going back to sleep. By teatime I was starving, the trolley once again trundled past me. I asked why I wasn't being fed and was told I was "Nil by mouth" the sign was still over my bed 27 hours after my operation!! It was decided that I could eat and drink and I was given a lovely Roast Pork dinner and a cup of tea. Picture this I was laid flat on my back with drips etc. in my left hand I just happen to be left handed! The tea was placed on my bedside cupboard in a plastic cup, I asked for it to be put in a lidded beaker for me. No problem, but it was placed back on the cabinet far out of my reach. Once again I asked for it to be moved and it was placed on my bed tray. I then had to ask for the bed tray to be lowered so that I could eat my food and drink my tea. When this was done the tray was about 12 inches above me, I had to try to blindly stab food with my left hand and see what I managed to get. After finding a potato and a pea I gave up out of sheer frustration.

The third day (Friday) breakfast arrived yippee! I was told by the Physio I could sit up to eat , but then the Surgeon arrived and told me I couldn’t sit up until I had been fitted with a corset for back support. The surgeon asked the Staff Nurse why the corset hadn’t been fitted. He was told that Orthotics were too busy to come to the ward to fit it. Panic ensued and I was bundled into a wheelchair and taken to Orthitics. The person taking me hadn’t got a clue where to go and I had to direct her (it turned out she was the cleaner!) In Orthotics the lady I saw fitted me with my corset. I was shown how to wear it and she said I could go. I asked her if she had adapted the shape of the metal stays to fit my back and she said that there was no need it fitted fine. It turned out it didn’t fit fine, 4 days later I had to be taken back to the hospital complete with 2 huge bruises one on each buttock for the metal stays to be bent so that the corset curved with my body.

On this day I also asked if my bedding could be changed as I had been sweating profusely and it smelled and was uncomfortable. I was told “you may be going home so we’ll not change it yet”. I spent another day laid in my pit to be told at teatime I wasn’t going home so they changed my sheets. By the way new night staff came on best set of staff so far.

Saturday morning at 8.30am I was told I could go home 11am onwards. On leaving the ward, I was told all discharge information would be sent to my GP, I needed to make an appointment to see the Practice Nurse myself and an Outpatient appointment and Physio appointment would be made for me and sent through the post. This did not happen the discharge information took 2 weeks and 3 telephone calls to get the information faxed through to the GP. I had to see the District Nurse not the Practice Nurse who had no information on me either so she hadn’t a clue what she was dealing with.

I was seen by a Physiotherapist on the ward but was given no exercises to do. On seeing the Physio at Mexborough this week I was given the impression that I should have been doing some form of exercise routine since leaving hospital.

In their defence I would say that the main problem appeared to be staffing levels. One sister to cover 3 wards and the majority of staff were Health Care Assistants who couldn’t do anything without getting the ok from a qualified nurse which was 1 Staff Nurse who was bombarded from all directions by all and sundry. No wonder they make mistakes. All in all this was a laughable experience, only slightly life threatening it’s probably the same old problems with the NHS too many chiefs and not enough indians

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