"I was rushed to hospital, the following morning I had an operation"

About: North Devon District Hospital / Cancer Services North Devon District Hospital / Colorectal surgery North Devon District Hospital / Intensive Care Unit

(as the patient),

After I had reported stomach-pains, my GP ordered hospital. An emergency operation was performed. My surgeon told me he had removed a large section of my bowel, that all had gone well, and that the cancer had gone. This was the first I had heard of cancer.

A few days later, when I was due to leave hospital, I was very sick, vomiting copious bile. X-rays followed, then a second operation because of 'adhesions' caused by the first operation.

Going into this second operation, a lot of statistics were read out to me about the risks the operation would incur. They included what I understood to be '50% mortality'. I asked for this to be repeated, and it was. Either '50% mortality' or '50% morbidity'.

Either sounded very frightening but I was already sliding away under the anaesthetic. I was in ICU for several days afterwards. During this time I experienced, periodically, tremendous physical discomfort that nothing would relieve. It was as if my entire body was in the grip of a serious cramp.

When I tried to relax, my body would snap back into the rigor. All the ICU staff who cared for me were wonderful, except for one. Altogether I was in the hospital for a month. The care I received from ward staff was exemplary. Being there for a month, I was able to observe the cleanliness regime - how immediately a bed was vacated the cleaning staffed rushed in to do an incredible job.

The unpleasant time in ICU recurred as a shadow of itself, now and then, at night, for a couple of months afterwards.

I have been attended extremely well by district nurses, by re-hab staff, by stoma staff, and by respiratory-physio staff. I have nothing but praise for all of them, particularly at this time of the limitations imposed by Corona. They have been professional, inventive, empathetic and good-humoured. I am making good progress back to health. I look forward to an appointment with my surgeon to discuss the reversal of my stoma.


Response from Jackie West, Clinical Educator, ICU, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust last month
Jackie West
Clinical Educator, ICU,
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
Submitted on 14/08/2020 at 11:53
Published on Care Opinion at 12:15

Dear fraf,

Thank you for taking the time to tell us your experience at Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, it is really helpful for us to hear from patients about their time with us.

As a senior member of the intensive care team I would very much like to respond to the portion of your story that relates to us. Whilst we were very pleased to hear that the majority of the care you received with us was good, we were sorry to read that we obviously did not get on top of your significant pain issues and that one member of staff did not give the level of care that you would normally expect.

We were really sorry to read that you had flashbacks to unpleasant memories from ICU, these issues are not uncommon in patients who have had longer stays within intensive care, but this does not make them any less distressing for you.

If you would like to contact us to discuss any of the issues that you experienced during your time in intensive care please do not hesitate to contact me on 01271 370268 or you can email me at j.west2@nhs.net.

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