Medical 'Care'?

When The Boy was born, the standard of care that I, and many of the other mothers there, received was pretty abismal. After all he had developed an infection at 12 hours old and I followed suit after three days. Contrastingly, the medical attention that I saw exhibited by a different set of paediatricians and nurses, when he was rushed in at three weeks old, was second to none.

During my father's various hospitalisations for his cancers over the past three years, I've seen different levels of care, which is quite worrying on cancer wards. All cancer removed twice due to a brilliant surgeon and brilliant aftercare. Then three weeks into chemotheraphy he's rushed in with an infection in his PICC line, and DVT in his arm, because the district nurse didn't clean it properly.

Earlier today, I was sat in the outpatients department of a hospital waiting for my 2.30 appointment. One of the other patients (what an appropriate word) was still waiting to be seen from her allocated time of 1.30. I was finally called at 3.25, bizarrely, she was still sat there. The hospital wasn't my local hospital (trust me, this is a good thing); I battled to be seen there for eight long months for a second opinion as I didn't trust the first doctor!

This is all an aside to my main point. The corridors were full of chatting nurses and doctors walking around in a sedatory manner. I felt like grabbing one of them by the shoulders, showing them the over-crowded waiting room and shaking them into awareness. "Pull your finger out! Get a move on!"

Last night my poor five year old nephew had to go to the local Accident & Emergency department with a bad burn to his hand; a Pancake Day injury. My sister took him in at 7.30pm and he was finally seen by the doctor at midnight! That only happened because our mum went and asked the packed staffroom if someone would be tending to him soon.

Similarly, when my mother was taken in with a broken upper arm (falling off a 6 foot high ladder, the fool!), it was five hours before she was seen by a doctor, treated and discharged. Five long hours with minimal painkillers, whilst the staff stood around chatting about their shopping lists and nights out. At the age of 63, she was deemed too old to be operated on! The fractured elbow was missed and only diagnosed a month later. It was absolutely appalling treatment.

Need another example of shoddy work? Look at how Mammywoo's poorly son was treated.

I know that any public sector job is hard. I'm not in the medical profession (although my brother is a paramedic married to a nurse practitioner) but I know the grief that comes with being the front-line of working with the public. I am fully aware that the hours are long, the pay is far from compensatory for the workload and the recognition is non-existant.

But just what the hell is going on in hospitals nowadays? Why is the standard of care and attention so variable?

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  1. says

    I totally agree – I refused to give birth in our 'local' hospital after a previous negative birth experience there. I have to say that I chose to give birth in a Midwife led unit in Gobowen nr Oswestry Shropshire instead and the standards could not have been higher. I felt supported and cared for and not just on a conveyor belt!

    My thought is this, if this hospital can do it why can't they all?

  2. says

    I promised I would comment on this so now I am!

    I've never had anything but fab care for the children. They have both had a trip to A&E to the local hospital and both were given priority treatment. Missy Woo had broken her humerus and cried every time she moved so the place was grateful for her removal. When Monkey went, it was quiet anyway. Never any evidence of the staff hanging around talking instead of doing their job and they were nothing but professional. The fracture clinic was odd and ran very behind but I can't fault the staff, more the way it is organised.

    Anyhoo, my FIL's treatment has been shocking. He had an experimental keyhole op on a bowel tumour in December. He was meant to be in 2 – 3 days, 2 weeks if full surgery was required. Well, it went wrong and he's still there. (Tho hopefully coming out tomorrow) The procedure went wrong and the problem has seemed to be with healing the wound plus the consultant seemingly wanting to stay experimental. He's been moved wards god knows how many times, largely at the behest of my SIL who is a nurse manager at the same hossie. He needed special care he was not getting on the general ward. When they decided to send him home, they delayed changing his sponges for a day which promptly meant he developed septicaemia – which they then ordered lots of tests to cover up their cock up as they said it can't have been that that caused it but odd it only happened when they delayed changing his sponges by a day, thus putting him over the week limit.

    It seems really random. I guess some of it will come down to local staff culture and morale. It's difficult to standardise across a whole nation, let alone when there are umpteen different NHS trusts to contend with. I think the way forward is for people to really take notice of the ratings they get given by the Healthcare Commission. Our local trust – covering the two hospitals nearest us – has a good rating. The hospital where FIL went is not so good. Nuff said, I guess.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Thanks for sharing. It does just seem so random the care that happens doesn't it? I didn't know about the ratings, off to have a look now.

  3. says

    I was listening to a debate on just this the other day and the consenus seemed to be that it was down to too few staff rather than anything else. Is it frustrating when people appear to be on go slow or just chatting but I suppose we do not know if they have been on 12 hours straight and this is their first down tme. Also with the importance of the things the doctors do it seems important to me that they are calm and not hurried.

    We seem to be very lucky in our local hospital and A&E are quick to react. My care in the maternity unit was very hit and miss but that was definatly to do with lack of staff, they were run off their feet.

    I do hope it improves for the future. Mich x

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