"Whittingon: A&E and MRI"

About: The Whittington Hospital / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

I went to A&E at the Whittingon in late April with rapidly decreasing vision and was seen after a wait of 4 hours. The A&E doctor who examined me left me alone in a exam room and, with the door open onto the corridor, had a loud discussion about my case with a senior colleague. I heard the colleague mention the name of the condition I was later diagnosed with, along with the throwaway comment, 'That could be very serious.' Immediately after this the first doctor returned and tested my blood pressure, and seemed surprised that it was sky-high.

I was promptly admitted to stay overnight. I had some fantastic care from a very young and compassionate team of doctors who sent me for CAT scans around midnight and quickly came to tell me the results (which were encouraging). The next day I was sent for a MRI scan to examine the optic nerve, which staff now suspected was causing the problems. Having a brain MRI is an extremely distressing experience, and I stayed, as instructed, stock-still in the tube for 40 mins. At the end, as the radiographer let me out, I was struck by the oddly graceless comment she made to me: 'Quite well done.' Frankly, I could have done without the 'quite'. Later, a doctor came to talk me through the MRI result. Unfortunately the MRI operator had not done her job 'quite' well enough. She had somehow failed to scan the optic nerve. When I asked why, the doctor shrugged with exasperation. 'I have no idea. It was written ALL OVER YOUR NOTES,' she said, emphatically. I felt for her while marvelling at the waste of time, money and manpower that would now be involved in a second entirely avoidable scan.

At this point I went private. The scan was the last straw. I'd had enough of lacksadaisical, unmotivated nurses, poor food, and dead man's slippers and nail scissors left around the bed I was eventually allocated on a general ward.

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