"I am deaf not daft"

About: Northern General Hospital

(as the patient),

In December 2008 and January 2009 I had a general medical check up at Northern General Hospital. I found the doctors generally reassuringly thorough and competent. It is, however, difficult to find out how I am being treated and why. Their final verdict was, “We don’t know what caused four falls down stairs in two hours”. I found this rather disappointing.

In terms of the nurses, I give them a regrettably poor rating. I was (more than once) denied water when seriously dehydrated. I was later denied access to the WC when urgently in need. From what I saw, other patients were similarly mistreated. Comments I heard included, “I’m in charge, and it’s my job to get you better”. The bleeping call button was sometimes ignored for more than an hour and a half. At other times, switched off, then forgotten. These were reported to seniors who took them seriously. The buttons were then verbally acknowledged but then ignored for long periods! The nurses appeared to have a set routine for the shift. Any call which interferes with that routine is ignored, “We’ve got jobs to do”.

The auxiliaries were generally very good, cheerful and efficient. However, the toilets were not kept clean. I was painfully reminded of an elderly relative in the hospital some time ago, who broke her hip slipping on a soiled WC floor. She still suffers from the pain.

Generally, I want the staff to know that I am deaf not daft. Several members of staff made little or no allowance for my severe deafness. I was made at times to feel that I was being treated as stupid. Staff should be aware of disabilities of any kind, as stated on the admission form.

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