Written evidence from Member of the Public
I was diagnosed with total Ulcerative Colitis in 1990. What that meant for me was working (as Store Manager) through the daily pain/symptoms for 10 years (I won't list the symptoms). Most of my experience and treatment has been bought to the attention of the Chief Executive of the Trust. Rather then going into 'War and Peace' I'll simply list them.
In 2003 I had serious headaches, I contacted my Consultant's secretary, she spoke to the Consultant who told her that I should see an opticians. The headaches continued. I contacted the Consultant again, they did blood tests and I was admitted into hospital and given the highest dose of hydrocortisone possible over four days.
In 2004 I was nervous about having a major operation, having my large bowel removed (2 parts surgery). A nurse suggested I speak to a different Consultant. I agreed to to see the Consultant, to my total surprise and shock, 15 other doctors from all over the world were there. He was introducing them one by one, as you can imagine 'my head was spinning'. He was talking, I was in a cubical with all these doctors surrounding me, quite intimidating. Everything he said went over my head.
In 2005 I was wheeled into the operating theatre, the Consultant said two words before I went under 'Target 65'. He clearly viewed me as a number. There was no reassurance, nothing at all. Don't worry you'll be fine. After my operation another Consultant saw me, not my Consultant, she told me 'that I had a high pain threshold', probably after seeing the state of my colon which had been removed.
I thought it was strange that my Consultant hadn't come to see me straight after the operation. Then I understood why, it was because he had told me before the operation that the surgical scar would only be upto my 'navel' but it was 5 inches beyond my 'navel'. I only found out after the operation (I've not complained to the Trust regarding this).
On a different occasion my Consultant came to see me on my ward, he casually mentioned the scar and the reason why it went beyond my 'navel' was because of his 'big hands' and my 'small frame'. But this is typical of his treatment of me, he just casually explained in passing.
After I went home, I noticed a 'suture' sticking out of my scar/wound. I called the hospital. I was told not to worry, it's only a small one. I went to the hospital to have it taken out, it was 13 inches long.
I had the second part of my operation in 2006. In 2005 during the first operation the bit of the small bowel which absorbs B12 was removed to make the 'pouch'. Between 2005 and 2008 I complained about being tired and low energy. I attended all the hospital appointments. In 2008 my symptoms became worse, I attended A & E 4 times, I wrote a list of symptoms but they wouldn't admit me and kept sending me home. In the end I complained to the CEO of the Trust and a week later I received a letter to say that I was a bit short of B12, they explained that I should be given B12 injections every 3 months for ever.
The body stores some reserves of B12, about 2 years, but telling me 3 years after the operation that I need B12 injections every 3 months is shocking.
I had another reason to complain, once again my Consultant invited 2 doctors from overseas. Again my consultant didn't seek my permission. But knowing the hospital had rules regarding gaining permission from the patient, I told them to leave. My consultant said nothing.
I'm fairly sure that my Consultant thought he could getaway with stuff because I'm a member of the BAME community (to be honest I think of myself as human first).