IT will take more than managers to reassure patients if my husband’s treatment at Hinchingbrooke is anything to go by.
Just before Christmas 2009 he was taken into hospital with a chest infection. During his time there he had a bad bleed from his rectum. Despite reporting this to several nurses, this was basically ignored, only being given a bedpan for a sample, which no one ever bothered to collect. He did tell several people again that it was there for collection – in the communal toilet for everyone to see.
He was in hospital all over the Christmas period, and for three days during that period no one took his temperature or checked his blood pressure or vital signs. He was discharged just after Christmas.
In the period after that he continued to bleed, so I took him to our GP who immediately referred him to the hospital to see the rectal consultant. He was seen within the 14 days and told he had rectal cancer. He required radiotherapy an operation and chemotherapy.
He was finally admitted on March 29 to have his operation. As you can imagine, he was quite ill after that and suffered from hallucinations due to the anaesthetics.
He was discharged after about nine days, far from well and still suffering very badly from the effects of the anaesthetics.
I was beside myself with worry as we had no help whatsoever and were just left to get on with it. He was readmitted to hospital shortly after as his bowels had blocked up: not a lot was done, and he was discharged the next day still in the same condition as when he went in.
Next time he went in with the same thing, he was admitted at around midnight and given an enema. A very nice doctor came and saw him and said he needed further treatment and would be given pain relief. None of this happened, and he was discharged at around 5am or 6am, and I was handed an enema to give him later that morning.
When I told the nurse that I had never given an enema in my life before and I was worried that after his major surgery I would do some damage I was told 'you'll manage'.
He was discharged middle of winter in his dressing gown and underpants and sent off to get a taxi. We did after that get a couple of visits from the district nurse but only if I called them. I rang the colorectal nurses (who we had been told were a back-up help service) only to be told that he was nothing more to do with them as he was no longer an in-patient.
He has been admitted to hospital on several occasions, and most of the time just left to get on with it and discharged before he was well.
He had his chemotherapy (this department at the hospital were wonderful and couldn't do enough for him) and told that one year after his op he would have a further colonoscopy to check that all the cancer was gone. He should have had it at the end of March or beginning of April this year. We are still waiting.
Mrs ALMA SHANKS