"Simply The Best"

About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Cardiology & Coronary Care Unit

(as the patient),

I attended the Royal Infirmary in August with what I thought was indigestion, being in my 30's, I never thought I would hear the words "you have had a Heart Attack"

I was admitted to A&E and well monitored, I remained there overnight while I waited for a bed to become available, this was tough as the department was very busy, the Doctor that delivered the news id suffered a Heart Attack was finishing his shift and I didn't see another Doctor until I was moved to a ward the next day, by that point my anxiety and stress levels had gone off the scale and I felt mentally exhausted from having not slept and I didn't feel like myself at all. 

I was fortunate to be moved to Ward 114, and I was blown away by the care I received from the Nurses and Doctors. Firstly when I arrived on the ward there was a young male nurse working on the ward from ICU, id like to say a huge thank you to him for his support, this wasn't his ward and he didn't know much about the ward and wasn't able to answer my questions about my heart, he tried his best though which I really appreciated,  he found a nurse from the ward who was able to bring me lots of literature about Heart Attacks, I found this really useful later on however at that point, I needed a human in front of me to talk me through what had happened and the Nurse was able to find me a Doctor who was able to come over and talk to me.  The young nurse working on ward 114 from ICU when I arrived was brilliant and very supportive, he came down with me when I went to have my procedure done and it was reassuring as I was being passed to another team I had never seen before to have the procedure done , so to have that person who was familiar there from the ward before I went in was very helpful and supportive, I felt he went above and beyond at a time I was stressed and scared, very grateful for his support and thanks to the nurse who got me the Doctors help. 

I was provided care by lots of different nurses from ward 114, all absolutely brilliant, caring, attentive and supportive, and really knowledgable, I was surprised how busy they were at times yet they always made time for me and were always on hand to assist, they still provided me the same fantastic level of care at the end of their busy shift as they did at the beginning, they deserve so much credit for what they do. If you can find the nurse who was caring for me on my last day, I would appreciate if you make her aware of how much her care really helped me deal with everything I was going through, she monitored me so well, checking bloods, finger pricks frequently, giving my medication and explaining it and checking on my wellbeing, I particularly appreciate her helping me with the information in relation to diabetes when I was feeling worried when I came back from  the diabetes clinic, she helped me more than she will know as it was all a bit overwhelming, I had felt my time in the diabetes clinic was rushed and unfortunatly the Doctor I dealt with scared me a bit and made me feel anxious again in his approach and tone, so I didnt feel confortable with any of the diabetes matters I had to deal with in hospital (The diabetes care improved as an Outpatient)  and thats when the  nurse on ward 114 really stepped in and helped me, anything I wasnt sure about my nurse went and got me information and made sure I had the knowledge I needed and understood it, I cant tell you how much that helped me with the challenges I faced dealing with diabetes when I was discharged.  The nurse also took the time to go through my medication for my heart with me before I left, having had no medication to take beforehand to now having several to take daily, it was a bit daunting but the nurse was brilliant and she sat on the bed and went through everything in detail with me and answered any questions I had, that meant a lot and helped me so much and removed the worry of how to cope once id left. She also kept her word to me that I'd be going home soon and it was great to finally see my name being wiped off the admissions board on the wall, and while I was glad to be going home, I honestly felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend,  the farewell hug as I was leaving from her was the best and it was humbling to see she genuinely cared about me as her patient.  

The nurses did an incredible job looking after me, it felt nothing was too much for them and they were so supportive, I was impressed with their knowledge in helping me understand everything that was happening around me, I thank every one of them for their positive attitudes and genuine care of me.  Also a huge thank you for turning the beeping monitor I was attached to onto privacy settings at night so I could get some sleep, small things like that make a big difference and thank you for the endless supply of tea, its little comforts like that that you miss from being away from home, it was appreciated. 

Upon my admission to ward 114 I was exhausted from having to spend the night in A&E while waiting for a bed, but very grateful to be in a place where I was being cared for and  monitored, when I was moved to ward 114 I was anxious and more stressed than I have ever felt in my life, the nurses were fantastic and said they would find a Doctor for me to speak to, a Doctor came over, sorry, i can't remember their name unfortunately but they did tell me, I was just at the point I couldn't even remember my own name, let along all the people I was meeting at that moment in time.  The Doctor was fantastic in helping me feel reassured, it was difficult as I had so many questions and as I had not been seen by my Consultant yet, this doctor could only give me generic information about Heart Attacks and what had potentially happened to me, but that was enough at the time, the doctor seemed a little nervous at first, my heightened state of stress may have scared the life out of him (Sorry!!) and I think I tested his full medical knowledge about Heart Attacks but he was brilliant, and as soon as he realized he could answer my questions he was confident, very professional and remained calm, and despite being busy on the ward he focused his attention on my concerns and gave me his time and more importantly he listened, when your scared and frightened and don't know what's happening to you, that Doctor giving me his time to help me was priceless.  The Doctor came round later with the Consultant and was taking notes so hopefully his details will be somewhere in my notes and you can pass on my thanks to him, he got the brunt of my stress as he was the first doctor I came into contact after my night in A&E and he did a fantastic job and was really supportive, I could see he was really busy so I appreciate him taking the time out to come and chat to me, he really made a difference in the early stages for me. 

To all the doctors who supported me with portable scan, monitoring me, prescribing medication, keeping my records updated and sorting out my discharge letter, the biggest thank you for looking after me and caring, you do a wonderful job and your professionalism in delivering fantastic patient care doesn't go amiss, every Doctor I dealt with listened to my concerns and my worries were never dismissed by any of you, this had such a positive impact on my experience as a whole, you genuinely made me feel I was in safe hands and that I was going to be ok.

The Cath Lab Team deserves a mention also as they were incredible.  Going down for this procedure was the most terrified I have ever felt in my life, I have never experienced the feeling of being rooted to the spot with fear but I did when I was waiting outside the lab to go in.  I was really upset at this point, to the point I had zero control over how I was feeling, its a horrible way to feel but the nursing team from the lab were brilliant and reassured me they see people scared and upset every day.  What I really appreciated was seeing the Doctor who performed the procedure, he came out before I was taken in and introduced himself, he did his utmost to reassure me I was going to be ok and that the procedure is very common and he performs them many times a day.  I recall babbling nonsense to the Doctor throughout the procedure, I have no idea what we talked about as the wonderful drugs you gave me kicked in and did their job, my apologies though, it must be so distracting for the Doctors when patients talks but I have to say it was reassuring for me, I couldnt see the Doctor as there was a screen between us so I didnt see anything being done so it was a huge relief when the Doctor talked back to me, because I couldnt see him, it was great just to hear him and know he was still there, it also distracted me from worrying and being more stressed, its great to see our Doctors have such a solid understanding of how a patient is feeling at that time and are accepting of patients babbling to them as they work, it must be difficult when they are trying to concentrate but as a patient, I cant tell you how much it helped me to get through the procedure that we had that 2 way conversation, keep chatting to your patients, it makes such a difference! A big thank you from me and well done to the Doctor who completed my procedure, it was over quicker than I expected it would be and I never felt a thing.  Thank you also for showing me the before and after shots of my procedure, was quite something to see and quite another thing that you're able to perform such procedures, I appreciate the time the whole team gave me and grateful to have yet another fantastic Doctor look after me.   I don't recall my journey back from the Cath Lab,  I was probably feeling a mixture of relief it had gone well but was also still sedated a bit I imagine, as a result, I don't remember thanking the team or indeed the Doctor who performed my procedure, he was fantastic and I'm very grateful to him and the team for his care of me that day.

My Consultant was Dr Northridge, upon meeting me for the first time he introduced himself and explained what he was there to do, I really appreciated this as I had never been in hospital before so had no idea who he was or why I needed him, so glad though to have been under his care and came to realize very quickly just how valuable it is to have such a fantastic Consultant. I had two worries, first was I didn't understand what had happened to me or what the next steps were and the second was I was a young female and i worried was I going to be taken seriously or would my pain be dismissed as something else and I wouldn't get the treatment I needed. These are worries i need not have had, Dr Northridge examined me and acknowledged while I was young, id had a heart attack, he then explained to me what had actually happened to me and then proceeded to tell me what he was going to do to help me. He also noticed I was very stressed and moved quickly to reassure me I was going to get the treatment I required and put my mind at ease by telling me I would be back living my life as before doing all the things I do now, he did state I would need to make lifestyle and dietary changes and he repeated this each time he visited me, that's been a life-changer for me, it would have been easy when I got home to fall back into your old way of life, however Dr Northridge explained how to look after my heart so well and his reiteration of what I needed to do really hit home and has lead to me making positive changes in my life. The message about diet and lifestyle changes is so important and your  Doctor can't repeat it enough, Dr Northridge made his points very professionally and tactfully but also made clear the importance of what he was telling me to do to keep my heart healthy going forward, I got the message very quickly and very grateful to him for giving it to me. 

Everything then started happening fast after my assessment by Dr Northridge, I had scans, bloods taken and thoroughly checked by the Doctors and monitored by the nurses, I was to have a procedure called an angiogram, Dr Northridge explained this in  detail and reassured me I would be ok and that the procedure is done multiple times a day, he told me I would be ok and the area in my arm is numbed so I wouldn't feel anything, I don't think I believed him at the time and thought he was trying to get me to relax a bit so my heart rate would come down before the procedure, however I have to give him that one as he was spot on, I felt nothing during the procedure and i recovered really well afterwards. a massive thank you from me to Dr Northridge for getting me to the Cath Lab an in front of the fantastic team there who treated me so well.   I was also told I had diabetes, again this was completely out the blue and while it's not the news anyone wants to hear, I'm very grateful to the Doctors and my Consultants for their investigations that found this so early on, as result I've been saved from a lot of complications and further ill health and its now under control and being well managed. 

I appreciated my Consultants approach, he was caring but also very direct with some humor and wit as he made his way around the ward, he was very clear in his explanations and he focused on me when he was discussing my treatment, he was never distracted and he always gave me his full attention, I felt he listened to my concerns and that was important as it made me feel part of my care and treatment, it wasn't all about a Doctor taking control and dictating to me or excluding me, he took my concerns on board and addressed my worries, it made me feel really included in our chats when he came to see me.  I was thoroughly assessed and treatment began very quickly, my Consultant treated me the same way he would treat anyone presenting the symptoms of a Heart Attack, my age or being a young woman wasn't a barrier and he along with the team of Doctors gave me the best care, it made me feel grateful that id sought help when I did and I was lucky enough to get myself in front of specialists who gave me exceptional care and I felt positive that as a young female I was taken seriously and given the proper assessment and treatment and I wasn't dismissed for "not fitting a profile " I'm so grateful to Dr Northridge and the Doctors and Nurses for how they treated me.

Being quickly assessed and getting in front of the right Doctors has ultimately led me to make a very quick recovery, and I'm back doing everything I did before I had my Heart Attack.  What your Doctors and Consultant say to you is so important, Dr Northridge's advice has had a big impact on me and i feel better now than I've ever felt.  The Doctors and Nurses often say they are "just doing their jobs" however they do so much more than that, they give people second chances, they save lives, keep family and friends together and for me, they gave me a chance of not only a future but a better one at that.  The most important thing about the experience for me was wanting to feel safe again, when I heard the words Heart Attack you think all sorts and it really was a terrifying few days, however after everything I went through my Consultant, Doctors and Nurses have done one major thing for me and that is they have made me feel safe again, about my heart but also my health in general, I'll never forget Dr Northridge coming round and telling me my procedure went really well and that I was going to be ok and be going home in a few days time, even better was when he came over and told me he won't keep me any longer and I could go home, I was being discharged, I had my shoulder drop moment there and then, realizing that I had got through the hardest few days of my life and i was going to be ok, his smile and handshake was very much welcome and appreciated.

I feel very privileged to have been supported by the wonderful and dedicated Nurses who just gave the best care, I experienced exceptionally skilled and dedicated Doctors who really listen and care and I was lucky to have a very experienced, knowledgable and talented Consultant who provided me incredible care. We are very lucky to have such individuals as part of our NHS service. 

Id also like to say a big thank you to our Researchers, since leaving hospital I've seen some interesting studies and papers released and its so great to see so much of this taking place in Scotland, I had no idea we have such fantastic research going on in Edinburgh, and your dedication and hard work looking at new processes, methods and technology to use in the future to help treat and diagnose those who have issues with their hearts is very much appreciated, your work is so important, I'm very grateful to our researchers of their continued investigations, keep up the good work, I look forward to seeing more results from your research in the future. 

A thank you to all the domestics, catering, auxiliaries, porters, who all participate in the hospital running smoothly, ward 114 is spotless and it was great to see such high standards from all the Nurses and Doctors on the ward being maintained throughout my stay. 

I note some of my colleagues and friends have left some reviews, thank you Sara, Jeannette and Chrisanna for your kind words of support to them, my Heart Attack had a big impact on those around me, I'm very grateful to you for taking the time out to acknowledge them and their experience. 

As a first time patient in a hospital, I had no idea what to expect, my situation came completely out the blue and was unexpected, it was terrifying and the unknown about my heart issue, until I met the staff on ward 114, was tough mentally to deal with, the care I received, however, was above and beyond what I could have expected to receive and I feel the luckiest girl to have met such caring, dedicated and a thoroughly professional team that treated and cared for me so well, I've often wondered what perfection is like from a service, I've never had that before, however, i certainly received it on this ward.  you're all simply the best. 

I'll never forget my experience or the amazing staff I met along the way, I'm lucky to say what has been a really negative situation to happen to me has made me make some really positive changes in my life, I was also fortunate to be provided with so much knowledge and information from my Nurses and Doctors that I've been able to pass this on to my friends, family, and colleagues, information we probably wouldn't have had otherwise and it's making them make changes to their own lifestyle to have a healthier life too. 

My recovery went really well and I am living a much healthier and better life, I have lost the months of August to October this year and having visited every medical facility in Edinburgh since leaving hospital as I've been getting my diabetes under control i think its fair to say I feel I've had my quota of healthcare from our wonderful NHS staff this year, very reassuring to know though that in our time off need, despite being completely under-resourced and under staffed, our dedicated professionals continue to provide exceptional care day in day out.  I'm very proud of you all. 

I did leave the hospital with one concern, while all the Doctors and Nurses are busy looking after the patients, whos looking after you, i think we are all guilty of being overcome by our jobs and you all work long hours, how busy you all are was a real shock to see...... please remember your wellbeing and health is just as important as the patients you look after and we appreciate that your only human too, take your breaks, take your holidays and most importantly take care of yourselves.

Thank you for everything you all done for me, I'll never forget the care you all showed me.  

I wish you all the very best for the future x

Responses

Response from Lynsey McMillan, Team Manager - Complaints & Feedback, Patient Experience Team, NHS Lothian

Dear Smiley Happy Solicitor

I would like to thank you for taking the time to provide this lovely feedback and I will make sure that your kind words are shared with the teams who looked after you.

Kind regards

Lynsey

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Response from Chrisanna MacIver, Senior Charge Nurse, Coronary Care Unit, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian

Thank you for taking the time to tell us of your experience during your time as a patient in ward 114. Your feedback is so encouraging for our team and I am delighted to hear that we were able to make you feel safe at such a vulnerable and frightening time for you. I am sorry to hear that you had a long wait before being admitted to cardiology and that this led to increased anxiety as you waited. I am however reassured to hear that we were able to relieve that anxiety somewhat after being admitted to the ward. As I read through your comments it reinforces to me the importance of good communication, listening, reassurance and kindness, all of which we aim to be at the heart of everything we do. It is great to hear that the information you received was helpful and relevant and that anyone not able to answer your questions found out someone who could. You mentioned the nurse who came to help us from intensive care and despite not being familiar with the area you found to be very supportive. I am glad to hear of this great example of teamwork as we regularly support one another from ward to ward. As you observed, our ward can be very busy and staff work very hard so this kind of feedback is valuable and uplifting. I am in the fortunate position of leading a group of dedicated and knowledgeable nurses who I believe do make a difference to our patients on a daily basis but it’s great to confirm this from your feedback.

I will share your comments with Dr Northridge and the medical team who as you describe supported you so efficiently and thoroughly through this difficult time. I know that the cath lab staff will also appreciate your kind words and I will make your I share these comments with them. Our domestic team will be delighted to hear that you found the ward to be spotless and I will make sure this is relayed to them as well as the wider support team. You also mentioned the importance of research as you have become more aware of its many aspects and advances. There is a group of research staff who we work closely with and with whom I will share your comments. I have spoken to the nurse who helped you as you prepared for discharge and she is pleased to know that she was able to help you in this way and appreciates your feedback.

Finally and most importantly I am delighted to hear of your recovery and progress. It is our privilege to work in the NHS and care for our patients. We wish you continued good health and very best wishes for Christmas and a healthy 2020.

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