"Freezing cold everywhere and poor communication"

About: Southmead Hospital

I was asked to arrive by 8.30, and did so, only to be told that the receptionist does not start work until 8.45. At 8.50 I was taken to a room to have a wire put into my breast with the aid of an ultrasound scan. I was told to undress and the room was extremely cold. The staff could not find everything they wanted in the room and had to keep going out to fetch things. The assistant did not know how to freeze and save the scanned images, so the radiographer had to reach over me to do it all herself, and got jelly all over the computer keyboard in the process. Then I was taken to an even colder room for further mammograms. I was taken from the breast care centre to the main building by ambulance: there was nowhere for the ambulance to park outside the main entrance, and we arrived at the required gate by a circuitous route. The temperature in both buildings was far too cold. I was moved from one cubicle to another without explanation. Another radiographer described as "a scratch" the most excruciatingly painful injection I have ever had. She failed to obtain my consent for injecting me with radioactive isotopes, and disputed that she needed to do so. I was then required to go to another floor for a further scan. The staff in the Brunel building could not find a big enough lift to accommodate a bed. I was driven round in a circle in the search for a big enough lift, before being taken to a different department for scanning. When this was over I was returned to the ward without my notes. Meanwhile the anaesthetist had been twice to the ward to look for me but had left again. There was a further delay while staff tracked down my notes. By this time I had not eaten for 17 hours. I was shivering with cold and very hungry, as well as being scared because of the operation, and in pain from the injection into my nipple. By the time I got to the operating theatre I was so cold that I could hardly move. I was in a great deal of pain after my operation. I was repeatedly injected in the back of my hand with ineffectual pain killers. I asked them to find a different place to jab me because my hand was so sore, but nobody took any notice. Finally they gave me an oral dose of morphine. The supervising recovery nurse said that I needed to be kept in overnight. I started to cry and urine leaked out of me. I told the nurse I had wet myself and nobody took any notice. I was returned to the ward with wet pants on a wet sheet. I was wired up to machinery and exhausted. After some time I asked to go to the toilet and told the nurse I had wet myself on the recovery ward. By the time my daughters arrived to take me home I had been at the hospital for eleven hours. I had no choice of hospital for having this treatment.

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Response from Southmead Hospital

Dear Anonymous, firstly apologies for the delay in responding to your comments. I am very sorry that you experienced such sub-standard care and am deeply concerned about some of the incidents you describe. If you haven’t already done so would you please contact the Complaints Department, (complaints@nbt.nhs.uk) so that we can investigate and prevent a recurrence of the incidents you encountered. Kind regards - Steve Sykes Advice and Complaints Team

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