"Hip Replacement"

About: Borders General Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics (Ward 9)

(as the patient),

I write to comment on my recent stay at BGH. I was scheduled for a hip replacement in September, and, apart from one incident which subsequently impacted on my entire experience, I cannot fault the treatment and care. I was impressed with the staffing levels, the professionalism of everyone, the cleaning, the input of OT’s and Physios - in fact it could have been an exemplary experience.

The problem occurred on my return to the ward from theatre. I cannot take certain medication and that fact was written in red pen in my notes, however, while I was still a bit groggy from the sedation, a nurse stood beside my bed and told me that I would be in significant pain and would need to take a certain painkiller, she was very persistent and eventually I was worn down and agreed because she said they could manage the sickness.

Sadly, that was when everything went horribly wrong for me. My blood pressure dropped significantly, my pulse oxygen level was down, my temperature was up to 38, but all that was as nothing compared to the nausea. It was beyond description, I have never experienced anything like it. I was on oxygen for (I think) 2 days, had no energy and could not summon the strength or motivation to function. I was further perplexed when they continued to insist that I would be in a lot of pain and was given paracetamol with a separate tablet of codeine, initially 30mg then reduced to 15mg. I was awake most of Wednesday night trying to think of a solution. I decided that I would take no more medication of any description. Finally on Thursday night I got some relief when one of the night staff said she had 3 different anti emetic injections we could try. The first had no effect, but the second took the edge of it at last. Why I wasn’t even offered these during the day is a mystery.

On the Friday I decided I had had enough and that I needed to go home as that was the only place I was going to get over the nausea. I managed to do all that was required for the OT’s and Physios and finally left at 6pm - without my discharge letter as it hadn’t been finished.

I must state very clearly and categorically that at no time at all was I in pain of any note whatsoever. Yes, I was in discomfort, but in no way could I describe it as pain.

I understand completely that I was expected to be in severe pain and that the staff wanted to prevent that however, having been in touch with other patients throughout the UK (via the hip replacement forum on Patient. Co. Uk), I discovered that I am by no means alone. It seems that even if one reacts badly to certain medication there is such an overwhelming belief that the patient will be in pain that it is worth persuading them to take the pills. It is not! Really, really not worth it.

My plea to you is that this particular element of care is re-evaluated. Please listen to the patient! Do not assume levels of pain that are not there. It is so sad that this one facet of my stay marred everything else.

I hope that you can encourage staff to listen to patients and take due cognisance of their history, notes and - most importantly - communicate with them to ascertain their current pain levels.

Apart from that one thing - great job. Oh and the resulting Pseudomonas UTI was disappointing: (

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Response from Stephen Bermingham, NHS Borders

Dear 'bordergirl57'

I am very sorry to hear about your experience. I am glad that you have contacted the Feedback and Complaints Team directly and I hope that we can resolve your concerns.

Best wishes,

Stephen Bermingham - NHS Borders

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by bordersgirl57 (the patient)

Thanks Stephen, I appreciated your help and advice. As I said, I only want to raise this as a concern not a complaint as everything else was great!

Many thanks.