"Refused surgery after seeking a second opinion"

About: Cheltenham General Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics Gloucestershire PCT Gloucestershire Royal Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I had a painful fall in the Summer of 2005. I had hopes that it would simply heal on it's own.

The pain and immobility eventually forced me to seek help from my GP in November 2005. By December, I was unable to walk and in desperate pain and went to A&E 23 Dec, fearful that something was terribly wrong. The dept was v quiet that day so they did an x-ray which ony showed a little arthritis on the knee.

My GP referred me to the hospital and whilst waiting for an appointment with the cnsultant - I was offered physiotherapy. The exercises made the knee extremely sore and too difficult to walk so after a few weeks I stopped it.

I was concerned at the lenth of time it was taking to get an appointment. I eventually had an appointment with the head orthopeadic consultant in April 2006. He referred me for an MRI. I rang th hospital to check when the MRI appt would be likely...I was told that they had lost my appointment and so would have to wait at the back of the current appointment list-this happened again. I eventually got my appointment fot the MRI scaan in June 2006. Thsi showed that I had extensive damage to my right knee. I got a letter form the consultant saying that what I needed was a knee replacement but that "It was not appropriate at this time".

I was given no explanationas to why I could not have the operation now nor how long I would have to wait. Anecdotally, I found out that this type of operation is generally done in one's late 50's....I was then 46.

So I went back to my GP in a very desperate state in fear of losing my job and my house if I was unable to work . I'd already had 2 months off work.

I asked for a referral to the Orthopeadic dept at Glos Royal. The appointment at Gloucester came through in October 2006.

Meanwhile the surgeon at Cheltenham General hospital had recalled me for a consult and decided to do the knee repalcement after all.

I forgot about the appointment at Gloucester unti the very day and thought I would just make sure he could offer any other type of surgery as a knee replacemnt is a big decision..

I mentioned the difficulties in accessing the treatment services at Cheltenham and the loss of appointments and on one occasion my records could not be found either! I quite clearly stated at this appointment that overall I would like to have the knee replacement as offred by the surgeon at Cheltenham.

In February 2007 I had my pre-op. assessment done. I was hoping for an operation date sometime in MArch. I got a letter from the consultant in March 8 weeks before my operation was due - to say that since I had gone for a second consult at Gloucester then this was tantamount to a lack of faith in him and he refused to treat me. He also said that he "doubted that I would be satisfied with ANY services at Cheltenham "....and had passed me over to Gloucester for management of my osteo arthritis.

I was devastated and I emailed him to beg him to hear my situation as to why I had gone for the second consult and that I had only comlained about the lengthy wait for consults and treatment. The surgeon insisited that I as I was already on the Gloucester orthopeadic surgeon's List then I could no longer expect treatment at Cheltenham. I immediately rang Gloucester and was told that I was NOT onany patient list there.

The Gloucester surgeon did agree to see me. The end result was yet another year's wait for the knee replacement in Feb 2008.

The administrator whom I sent the original complaint about loss of appointments etc sent me a very hostile and aggressive letter backing the surgeon at Cheltenham. There was no apology and explanation as to how my appointments got lost twice so lengthening my waiting time.

I was left feeling powerless, mistreated and not heard by this. I was very scared of not having any access to treatment at my local hospital simply because of the orthopeadic surgeons very disparaging comments and arrogant attitude towards a patient who was in extreme pain and very depressed.

I just hope that I never need to attend Cheltenham General hospital. I will say that all the nursing staff were exceptionally helpful and pleasant..if only the same could be said for the surgeon I had the misfortune to see.

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