"Given Up"

About: North Cambridgeshire Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics The Queen Elizabeth Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

Afew years ago, I was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn following a serious car crash that was not my fault . I was left in agony, not one panel was left undamaged on my car, which was stationary at the time. The force was so great that the truck in front moved and hit the van in front, writing the truck off. I was told by A&E to return the next day as the consultant on call was refusing to come in and I would not receive any treatment until the following day if they kept me in.

I was severely injured, with facial injuries and was barely conscious, I could not fit into my shoes or clothes. I was in agony. I was told that I did not have a neck injury not even whiplash which was just impossible. I felt completed let down and ignored, the staff showed me and my mum no respect.

Two years later, an Arthroscopy was done at the Norfolk and Norwich hospital where they did the bare minimum, not even removing the splintered bone fragments or fluid in the joint. I was told that I had broken the wrist joint through three quarter of the circumference and crushed the other quarter, damaged the ligament beyond repair and would never be able to do my work again. I was retired which meant that left me having to sell my house and everything I had worked for since leaving school. I was thirty one years old and had always worked long hours like everyone else. I lost everything. My life completed changed.

Through the complaints that followed, I felt like I was branded a liar and everyone thought I was over exaggerating.

I received no evidence and no compensation except for a minor injury equating to less than two years salary, seven years after the crash. I had not worked for the previous four years because the NHS would not sign me fit for work. My case was passed around from court to court, having being forced to pay all of the legal expenses and seven years later a court allowed my Solicitors to come off record supposedly for my own safety because of the threats they were making against me. I have had never-ending trouble and distress since the accident, especially in my dealings with the NHS.

I became so isolated I was terrified to leave the house. The police were involved a few times but I was told that if I wanted all this to stop, I should drop the case.

I have seen all the changes in the Complaints procedures over the years. On my third attempt, they agreed to take on my case but were in the middle of changing the system creating PALs. I feel this was useless and got me no where because by the time my complaint was made I was told it was too late and the NHS refused to accept it because it did not comply with their NHS time scales! Help!

PALs had no authority to force them to comply.

Over the years I have complained countless times, each time my official complaints were refused and as far as I am aware not recorded as complaints.

I complained to the Ombudsman who concluded this was a sad case. Every time I tired to complain this was brought up, making me believe that I could do nothing. There was so much confusion about the treatment I had received following the accident and it all became very frustrating.

I paid to see private doctors and was told by one consultant that I was over eager and that I must have looked up the symptoms to this injury so that I could claim compensation. I felt like the doctors were sticking up for each other. I had an arthroscopy done and some tests but it got to the point where I could take this treatment no further because I could not afford to, the insurance company refused to pay for this. The NHS said they had no legal obligation to follow the consultants recommendations for further treatment because he was not employed by them.

I did not receive the benefits that I was legally entitled to - how did these people ever get so much power over my life?

All this because someone on that day with a string of previous driving convictions shoved my stationary car under a truck, and telephoned the AA to come and move my car because it was in his way!

I complained and complained, never getting any answers to my questions. I only found out the name of my injury from a doctor who lost his temper with me one day - Lunotriquetral Dissociation. I could not find any information on this.

I was still in so much pain. I had being prescribed Co Proaxamol and Ibuprofen for years but it did not touch the pain. I had constant headaches of the like I had never had prior to all of this. I was vomiting all day and all night from pain, getting one infection after another. I felt unwelcome at my GPs practice. One day out of the blue they decided to sign me fit for work and my new GP told me to go out and get a job, any job and work my way up.

My new doctor said I was so anaemic that if my blood dropped one more level it would be life threatening. I still take Coproaxamol and a different anti inflammatory.

I moved to a small flat but the neighbours were unaccepting towards me and I feel that this was due to discrimination towards me as I was disabled. I was despairing and by this time totally depressed. I had given up speaking to anyone and did not bother speaking to the NHS because I felt like I would get more accusations.

I had an appointment at Edith Cavell Hospital but they just did a compulsory x-ray which I knew would not really progress my treatment.

I am now in touch with my local MP and hope that it will help. I feel like I am playing word games with the NHS, I don’t feel listened to.

I took my case to the Disability Rights Commission. The PCT were supposed to attend but instead sent two people from the Complaints department who said they were unable to address the issues that I was raising but agreed that I could receive a wrist splint. That was in 2005 and I won my case but in 2009 I am still waiting.

This injury is to my dominant left hand and I have to pay to have my car adapted to comply with the law just so that I can drive. The Government does not allow me any disability payments for this.

The last straw came last year when my GP told me that the consultant had said that I did not have a lunotriquetral dissociation. Although I was referred to the consultant in Norfolk by Cambridgeshire PCT, they have and continue to refuse to recognise the consultants diagnosis for the previous eleven years because they have not obligation to as he is not employed directly by them.

I was so upset and in so much pain I decided to go back to the QEH for the first time since 1999. I went to A&E and was asked what the injury was and then told that with this injury they would not be able to treat me but I could wait and see if they will see me. So I waited and was reluctantly referred to the Orthopaedic clinic the next day to see the consultant who acted as the medical expert in the court case.

The consultant was the expert independent witness acting and had been quite nice to me and when the Government changed the legislation to help "victims", I felt that both parties manipulated this so that they could pick and choose everything from the old and new legislation that was in their best interests, not mine.

I have since discovered that the expert medical witness was the same consultant that signed my paperwork, when I was taken by ambulance to the QEH i.e. the consultant who refused to come in and see me.

Eventually they told me to sit in a cubicle and I was there for another hour watching people come and go before me, I did notice that the medical staff had plenty of time and happily chatted away to these people answering all of their questions about their injuries.

When I saw the consultant he looked at my hand and said he could do nothing because I needed to be referred to a hand specialist - something I had been asking for for the last nine years since I learnt about them and refused this for nine years. I asked him to refer me to one but he refused saying he was not allowed to. I explained to him as a I had been saying all of these years that they are not allowed to refuse me the treatment that I am legally entitled to. The consultant left and I thought he was going to discuss it with a colleague but he did not come back.

Eventually I decided to go and ask at the reception desk but she was busy. I managed to catch a nice nurse, and told her that I was going out to put another ticket on my car because my parking had run out and I did not want to get a parking ticket, she just shook her head and walked off. I could not understand what was going on and was very nervous and upset by now. I was about to leave when the consultant approached me. Before I could turn around to leave because I really did not like the look of this, he had took me back into the cubicle and seemed furious, saying that he did not have time for this or me and that he had being pulled out of clinic.

I reminded him that in my opinion, my hand and wrist is in this state because the consultant (who I thought was him) refused to come in and treat me. I had been waiting for more years than anyone here today and surely I deserved some time and an explanation as to why this hospital had been funded for treating my injuries when I had received no treatment for the last twelve years and why I was still being refused treatment. He said he had set my wrist and that it had healed quite well for the serious injury that it was. I reminded him that no one had set my wrist , that it was stuck in a temporary wrist cast for three weeks and six days before it was removed and I was told to ‘Tubi grip’ it and that the pain was worse now than when the injury occurred. I reminded him that he told me that the injury was a minor injury which would heal for two years. I showed him the state of my hand and explained that I now had little feeling in my fingers and insisted that I be referred to a hand specialist.

He walked over to the door and yelled for security. I stood still, in the middle of the room where I was and did not know what to do but I knew I would make sure not to go near any of the staff or try to push past them in case they tried to claim that I had done anything wrong.

I just wanted to burst into tears and leave but I could do neither, by this time he and three nurses were stood in the doorway blocking my only exit and threatening to call the police.

Eventually I was told by a nurse who I’d met on a previous occasion she would sort it out. She blocked the doorway which I could not believe.

She left the doorway to walk to the other side to phone for security, so I could now safely walk over to the locked door to leave. I managed to open the locked door which I was not sure I would be able to do, as I now have difficulty with such tasks, and simply left.

I wanted to phone the Police but did not know what to do. This time I was determined to have a complaint accepted. The hospital registered my complaint. They claimed that I had been referred to the wrong department but I was refused a referral to a hand specialist and received no explanation or apology.

I insisted on seeing my notes and was allowed back in to the hospital supervised by the new litigation manager. I was told that only if they were found to be negligent could I receive treatment at this hospital. I felt like if only these people understood my situation and experienced the same as I did then they would act differently.

Every day is agony. I think about the accident all the time and wish it hadn’t happened.

The driver was charged with careless driving. I do not want revenge just justice. I am disabled now and he was never charged with the physical injuries he caused me which I believe now that he should have been. I had never been in hospital up to that point apart from when I was born, I was 31years old.

I have discovered that every few years they like to do a few tests, but refuse always to tell my why, bullyig me into going on the false hope that this time they are finally going to do something, and then as soon as they do the tests dump faster than you can blink until they do the same again in a few years. As one GP put it, it is been seen to be doing something when you have no intnetion of doing anything!!!

I have been given various drugs, xrays and scans since the accident and have seen so many different specialists and consultants but my injuries have never properly been treated in my opinion.

Is it to much to ask for a splint that is dark in colour that does not show the dirt, is comfortable and wearable, and washable and is replaced regularly so it is not perceived as unhygienic and disgusting by people. I have not been able to afford to replace my splints regularly due to the cost of them. I cannot simply stand the pain of keeping my hand in the correct position all day in a splint, it is too painful, as this thirteen years on, is a bit late. The NHS claim this will relieve my pain but in my experience it hasn’t and if they have really changed as they claim, they should listen and pay attention to what I am saying. I believe they are following their own agenda which I now believe is the White Paper Published in 2004 to be implemented in April 2009 for people with long term injuries. I was told out of the blue that I am being offered a pain management programme funnily enough also mentioned in this paper for which this PCT has received funding for this for me for the last five years, so why now?

I have been asking to be referred to a pain clinic for as long as I have been asking to be referred to a hand specialist with the appropriate funding and permission from the PCT to allow me to have the treatment for this injury so that I can continue with my life as I would have done had I received the appropriate treatment all those years ago.

The health service ombudsman finally agreed to look into my complaint again but the system has changed. I then had to contact the Healthcare Commission and put my complaint through them before I could put it once again to the Health Service Ombudsman. The health care commission said I would have to follow the NHS procedure again as they cannot look at such old complaints. This is where the Disability Rights Commission got involved.

Back and forth to the healthcare commission who finally agreed to look at my case if I can get it all down on paper, and I explained that this will take me time as there is thirteen years worth and I have difficulty writing and typing as this causes further deterioration of the injury.

I tried to complain to them recently to be told they cannot accept my recent complaint because they no longer exist and now I have to contact the health service Ombudsman as they have now taken over from the Health Service Commission and the e-mail address I was given is not responding. Deja vu I think, given up and fed up!

I resent being forced to contribute to this service through my taxes.

I know that people think that the NHS should not be given bad publicity because it takes away from the staff who do a good job, and there are good medical staff out there, indeed I work with some. However, surely the NHS should treat people better than this, what if this was you and your life? It seems to me that they have never placed any value on my quality of life.

It would be easier and quicker for me to write a book because what I have written tonight barely touches on what has actually happened. I am glad that at least part of the story is out now.

Nobody expects the NHS to get it right all of the time but it is what they do and when they make a mistake that makes a real difference to peoples lives they should make reparations. I can barely straighten both my arms, they are so painful. I am left with damaged muscles in my leg which I am unable to control and they move on their own. I cannot raise my foot properly and I fall over which is utterly embarrassing in the street. My neck was damaged, I have scars all over and these have never been diagnosed.

I have long since given up asking about this because I feel the response is so hostile . Everything I have said is true but I have left out a lot of details due to the length of time that has passed and the amount that this covers. This is not intended to be inflammatory or offensive to anyone and is intended to show my experience of the NHS which unfortunately is not good to say the least.

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