"Wisdom tooth extraction - Part 1"

About: Kingston Hospital

In order to be fair, I have waited a few weeks for the pain to subside, following a wisdom tooth extraction, before writing this, but my anger at how I was treated at the time of surgery has not abated. My assessment appointment had been a positive experience; “bedside manner” was excellent, I had been spoken to as a human being, told clearly how the procedure would be carried out, fully informed of options and had been given ample opportunity to ask questions. I was told, without my asking, that I could have someone to stay with me during the procedure if I would find that helpful. My husband, non-squeamish and a scientist himself, who has accompanied me during a number of interventions in the past, made a natural and excellent choice. On the day of my surgery, I was chaperoned in by a decidedly patronising nurse. No. It was out of the question that my husband should accompany me. Village-idiot patient must have completely misunderstood at the assessment appointment. He would see things that he shouldn’t and may well collapse. There wasn’t the manpower to treat an additional patient. Additionally, he wasn’t sterile! Didn’t she think that we knew what procedure I had come for, and that I wouldn’t have asked anyone not up to the job to accompany me? Had I known, I would certainly not have had him to waste half a morning pointlessly sitting in the waiting room. He could simply have collected me afterwards. Then followed a second “misunderstanding” from my assessment: an inappropriate choice of anaesthesia. I didn’t understand the choice which I had made (for a local anaesthetic, without sedation) and should have been directed to have a GA. Maybe I “misunderstand” yet again, but I thought that part of the purpose of the assessment appointment was for the patient to be given the opportunity to make appropriate informed choices AND to take reassurance from knowing what to expect on the day. Being told just before the procedure that I couldn’t have my husband with me and that the choice of anaesthesia was inappropriate was less than reassuring. After all of this timewasting, there was a begrudging acceptance to carry out the procedure under local anaesthetic, but the surgeon spoke to me as though he really didn’t want to do the job, complaining at the complexity of the extraction due to the orientation of the tooth, saying that he’d “really earn his bacon for today” if he could get this one out. This hardly inspired confidence in his competence. Were it not for the wait of several months for treatment, I would have walked out there and then, something which I now dearly wish I had done. When the treatment began, the nurse insisted on gripping my hand tightly. I found this intensely irksome (I understand that not everyone might feel this way – to give some context I was abused by a woman throughout childhood and I can even now sometimes find physical contact with a woman difficult –for which reason I remain anonymous). (Continued in Part 2)

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