"Wisdom tooth extraction - Part 2 (of 3)"

About: Kingston Hospital

I didn’t wish to be discourteous to a member of staff, but I thought I gave gentle but reasonable signs that this was unwelcome – yet still she clung on like grim death, cramping my hand. There was absolutely no need for her to do this and if this is her function, it is a cost that the NHS would do well to dispense with. Physically, the experience of the extraction was no worse than any of the fillings I’ve had and I was happy with my choice of local anaesthetic without sedation; I would make the same choice again. During the procedure several other members of staff came in, calling very loudly about referrals from A&E. Presumably they were considered sterile. Lengthy conversations took place between them and nurse and surgeon whilst they continued to treat me. I began to worry lest mistakes be made on me. I was treated like I just wasn’t there. The surgeon also spoke to the nurse on several occasions about time and wanting to get the job on me over and done with quickly. I was disappointed that the days of “Does he take sugar?” are far from past. Throughout, it was clearly apparent why these two members of staff prefer to treat unconscious patients. The aftercare sheet provided was poor; useless, save for two contact numbers in the case of persistent bleeding. The nurse did not ensure I understood the contents of the sheet. (Surely as a village-idiot prone to so much misunderstanding, I needed this). I would constructively suggest that patients receive the aftercare information sheet at the first appointment. Additional advice that could be included might be: before having the procedure, have available a food blender and drinking straws (I was unable to take solids, or even to insert a teaspoon into my mouth, for 9 days). I also found ice packs and pineapple juice ice lollies very helpful and maybe others would, too. Expecting us “village-idiot patients” to re-invent the wheel is unreasonable and unnecessary. Additional post procedure tips regarding the control of pain and swelling could so easily be given. The focus was so much on keeping things short that there were woefully missed opportunities for helpful, practical information. Additionally I would suggest that there be a common policy on such things as whether a patient can be accompanied or not and that decisions made at the time of the first consult be documented with a copy to the patient. This would erase the potential for misunderstanding. In sum, I award two stars. These are for the very good assessment appointment and, despite the surgeon’s surly words and manner, a technically decent job – plus the fact that, as requested, I was given my fragments of tooth  (although bloody – which I didn’t mind but some might - and on a tiny piece of gauze; I had to ask for a small biohazard bag). It was, however, very upsetting for the experience to be so much at variance with what I had been led to expect from the assessment. (Continued)

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››