"Trouble with Rheumatology diagnosis"

About: Royal National Hospital For Rheumatic Diseases / Rheumatology Southmead Hospital / Rheumatology

(as the patient),

I had been diagnosed with a very rare Auto Immune Disease, Relapsing Polychondritis by St. Michaels Hospital on the 9 May and was told I needed this diagnosed by a Rheumatologist, so I saw a Rheumatologist at Southmead, on 4 September 2008. This consultant discounted all the results of blood tests as being false positive and all the information I took regarding symptoms etc. he scanned over briefly. He forcefully put his views across, and I felt was not listening to any information I was trying to give him. He refused to diagnose me with the condition, he said I had several symptoms but because I had the pinna pain (ear pain) different to the three patients he had seen previously, he was not willing to make diagnosis, he then terminated the consultation. I have Parkinsons and was shaking quite a lot, he literally threw all the paperwork I had taken in my lap and waited by the door for me to go. I was then trying to get all the paperwork into the folder I had taken with great difficulty because of the shaking and then had to get my coat on, all the time he and the nurse just stood by the door glaring at me. After quite a few minutes, I managed to get everything together but was not offered any help by this consultant or the nurse and just got a big sigh from him when I eventually left his consulting room. I put in a complaint to my GP next and asked for second opinion.

I was told I needed my consultant to sanction a second opinion. It was very difficult to contact this consultant, both by my GP and the PALS organisation which I had to get involved because of the lack of contact and response from him. Eventually the PALS organisation managed to speak to him on the phone and he then rang my GP. After a lengthy conversation with my GP he then suggested who I see as a second opinion, he suggested a Prof at the Bath Rheumatology Hospital. This appt. was for 22 December 2008, and due to the length of time all this was taking I decided to pay privately and went to see the Expert in this Disease, Dr. David D'Cruz at the London Bridge Hospital, London. After going through all the tests and paperwork I took and also giving me a thorough examination he had no hesitation in diagnosing me with Relapsing Polychondritis.

I then attended my appt. with the Prof. at Bath, and within a couple of minutes of my Consultation he advised me he respected my first consultant’s views. He had contacted him prior to my visit, therefore, had formed an opinion before he had even met me. I thought a second opinion was unbiased and a new look on things, but he already had my first consultant’s views. I do not think this is ethical, and I think he should have seen me and formed his own opinion about me. Had I not had the diagnosis by Dr. D'Cruz in London prior to my appt. with this Prof. I do not think I would have received an unbiased opinion or had my diagnosis confirmed. This is being investigated by the NHS Trust which was initiated by my MP.

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