"Fractured ankle and surgery -no-follow up"

About: St Thomas' Hospital / Accident and emergency St Thomas' Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

In November  I broke my ankle in three places and was admitted to St Thomas’s via A&E. After four nights, ORIF surgery and a cast being fitted, I was discharged home on 4 weeks elevated rest ( no weight-bearing). During this time, I discovered that no follow-up appointment had been scheduled and so my cast that was due to be changed in 4 weeks would possibly be on for longer. After some unorthodox phone calls ( to my consultant's secretary) I got an appointment sorted and some advice over the phone regarding the extreme pain I was suffering. Follow up appointments went well and my lighter cast was fitted but still no weight-bearing for a further 2 weeks.

 In December I attended the fracture clinic and my cast was removed. I received an air boot. I was told to wear it for a week and then start weight-bearing and didn’t need to come back to the clinic . I thought this odd as I had, had Surgery as well as the breaks. No X-ray was take that day ( as on previous occasions) and I wasn't given a physio plan or assessment. I asked about exercises and was told to flex the ankle pain allowing.

It has now been a week and 3 days since that appointment . I have tried to put weight on my ankle and stop using the air boot. This has proved extremely painful and I get pins and needles in my toes and foot. Also, my joint is still so swollen I have no movement in it.

I managed to find the physio dept phone number online and spoke to someone today. The lady was very nice and helpful but said I should’ve been assessed and given a physio plan!  She has now told me to contact my own GP and get an ‘E-referral’ ASAP but this could still take a few weeks.

I’ve been left feeling anxious and stressed that my recovery is not going as it should and I don’t know what I should be doing. I looked online and was shocked to see the differing levels from each NHS trust regarding aftercare. Some had virtual fracture clinics with email contact ( this would’ve been useful )

I do hope my GP is able to get me a referral quickly and I can get help with my situation. 

Also, I contacted  PALS for advice and they forwarded my email to the orthopaedic department,  I am still awaiting a reply. In the meantime I am trying to do exercises I found online and hope they are right for particular injury and circumstance. 

It is easy to see how people slip through the net and all the patient surveys etc. don’t seem to change that. 

Responses

Response from St Thomas' Hospital

Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear that you are still in such pain. We are concerned to read that you are struggling to obtain a follow up appointment and we would like to apologise for this. We see that you have contacted the PALS Team and they have raised this issue with the Orthopaedics Team on your behalf. If you would like to contact the team again on 020 7188 8801 or email pals@gstt.nhs.uk they can follow this up with the team.

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Update posted by Sharkfin68 (the patient)

Hi,

Thank you for the quick response.

since writing this post and it being published, I did receive a phone call on Friday advising me I will get a referral. However, I have had to phone again today as no one got back to me. I am hoping that I will be called back tomorrow morning to organise an appointment.

If not, I will contact PALs again and also see my own GP.

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