"Humiliating treatment at the breast clinic"

About: The Whittington Hospital

This is the second time that I have attended the One Stop Breast Clinic. This second trip was a very different experience from the first. None of the same staff were present. On arrival at the Ultrasound room I was upset to see that a man was present in the room - indeed that people came in and out of the room - whilst I was uncovered on the bed, with no curtain. A very kind nurse placed some paper over me which was swiftly removed by the doctor. There is no screen to get changed behind. I commented to the female doctor that i had found it uncomfortable to have so many men running the breast clinic - and I was surprised that she promptly called over the man in the corner (I have no idea who he was) to learn how to use the ultrasound and carry out the aspiration! The nurse tried to reassure me but the doctor and trainee doctor? did not really acknowledge me. The female doctor had to take over the procedure from the man and seemed quite annoyed that I had four cysts, telling me that she couldn't aspirate them all and so i should choose which ones she should do. I was not expecting to have to do this and told her that she was the expert and I wasn't able to choose. When they had finished with me they both got up and returned to their computers. I got dressed and waited before realising that they had forgotten me so I asked if i could leave. They responded with a brief yes and returned to their notes. Following on from this humiliating treatment, lying exposed in a room whilst people came and went, I was then forgotten in the consultants waiting room and it was only due to a "matron?" who spotted me waiting there that I was finally seen. I have to return in August for a Mammogram and I am worried about my condition, but do not have confidence in the staff to look after me.

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Response from The Whittington Hospital

We are sorry to hear how distressing your experience was when you attended the One Stop Breast Clinic. Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us. We have passed on your feedback to one of our consultants who clarified that it is normal for there to be up to four people in the imaging room at the time of scanning. These would be a consultant, as our service is consultant led, a specialist registrar; who is a qualified doctor continuing their training in breast radiology, a clinic helper and a mammographer. The doctors, consultant or SpR, may be male or female. The mammographer works between the mammography room and the Ultrasound room and may go between the rooms to enable her to process images. There is a curtain around the door which should remain drawn as long as the patient is in the room. Breast cysts are benign and sometimes are aspirated with a needle. Generally this is done for symptomatic relief . If a cyst is simple and not symptomatic then drainage is not required. When a patient has multiple cysts, it would be normal practice to ask the patient if the cysts were symptomatic so that the cysts causing discomfort can be identified and the correct one drained. If you would like us to look into what happened in more detail , or if you would like to meet with someone to discuss your concerns before you next appointment, then please do contact our PALS department on 020 7288 5551 or via email at whh-tr.whitthealthpals@nhs.net. They will be happy to assist. Again, thank you for sharing your feedback with us.

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