"Our whole experience"
About: Holme Valley Memorial Hospital Holme Valley Memorial Hospital Holmfirth HD9 3TS
Posted by Constance Gladys (as ),
This is our experiences of two operations which my husband had at Holme Valley Memorial Hospital which I hope is never repeated again for any patient in the future whether at this hospital or any other. These experiences probably demonstrated the lack of care and compassion that is the hallmark of our NHS.
This Locala hospital was set up by the NHS to operate the hospital. At times they refer to themselves as part of the NHS and, at others, they will stipulate that they are not.
In April 2014, my husband was due to have an operation on his bunion. We weren't informed of the actual time until less than a week before the event even though we had asked to be informed earlier as it was important to us. This was due to the fact that my husband is also my carer; I have MS, cerebral palsy, asthma and I am very prone to chest infections including pneumonia. Therefore we had a lot of structures to put into place to ensure that things from our end would run smoothly. Given that I don't drive and live in an outlying area where the bus service is not all that regular we asked for hospital transport to be arranged. This was refused. We also asked for a later time of operation if possible given that my medication regime and being assisted to dress etc took, at that time, approximately two hours. This was ignored.
We were informed just days before my husband's operation that he would have to be at the Holme Valley Memorial Hospital ( HVMH) for 8am. We were still without transport and such a time would mean that we would have to get up at 4am to be able to fit in everything. As I was still very ill, this didn't help but we had no choice. The only person who did have a car was my sister who was not well herself at the time and did not live anywhere near us. As she looks after her granddaughter from 5. 15am she had to find someone who could look after the child so that she could run over and pick us up at 7am to run us to the hospital.
When we got there we were told that my husband would be out between 10am and 10. 30am and we had to be there 10am prompt. As my sister had to go back home and arrange more care for her granddaughter before coming back to pick my husband up we asked if we could just arrive at 10. 30am as we had tight arrangements to fit in. We were abruptly told, No! ' Apparently, , my husband could not wait in the waiting room if he was out before 10. 30am as ' the waiting room was for other patients! '
My sister, at last minute - given the total lack of communication by HVMH - had to make a lot of last minute arrangements but did manage to pick me up so that we were back at the hospital for 10am. At 10. 10 am the sister informed us that my husband would be out at 10. 20am and was just finishing off tea and biscuits. My husband however, did not appear until 10. 45 with no explanation given at all. for this delay.
As he was being wheeled out to the car he was informed that he would have to go onto the back seat and keep his foot elevated. It is a pity that this wasn't conveyed sooner as my sister only had a three door car and as my husband's leg was anaethetised he would have been unable to climb into or out of the back seat.
He had also been informed that he would have to have an xray but as HVMH didn't have the facilities my husband would have to make his way to the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, some distance away. We had chosen the HVMH as it was more convenient given that I didn't drive, and hadn't been informed of this lack of facilities until it was too late. Although my husband was supposed to keep his foot elevated for 55 minutes out of the hour, he had to make a journey on crutches which entailed walking to the bus stop and catching the bus to town, walking to another bus stop to catch the bus to the infirmary, , walking from that bus stop to the infirmary xray department, waiting in the department ( all the while unable to elevate his foot) and then making the return journey which took five hours in all. This makes a mockery of the instruction to keep your foot elevated without explaining how this was to be achieved.
At the follow up appointment he was accused of not keeping his foot elevated and if anything went wrong it would be his fault. I had come down with pneumonia the day following his surgery -which I expected would happen if the stress of not being able to plan anything which would have given me adequate rest periods occurred. I was also repeatedly asked if I was sure that a) I couldn't drive and b) whether we didn't know of anybody who did. My inability to drive is entirely due to having been in a car crash when I was 22 - as the innocent party, I am more than a little fed up of constantly being blamed for not driving some 40 years later as though I was being deliberately provocative.
A little compassion and understanding would not come amiss. it is appalling that the caring professions lack such knowledge and understanding that they cannot see that some disabilities are indeed hidden.
Due to the lack of rest, the hospitals reluctance to either provide transport or point us in the direction where it might be obtained, my husband could not elevate his leg as often as was recommended. His foot swelled to the point where the skin cracked and he unfortunately got an infection in it. This was over the bank holiday period when neither HVMH was open nor my GP surgery. In order to stop the infection, I gave him my rescue antibiotics as they were a good match for this sort of infection ( I have studied immunolgy and infectious disease and molecules, medicines and drugs at degree level)
Recently-this year, my husband had his other foot operated on. We had changed GP's and this time someone at the HVMH informed us that they didn't arrange transport and to go back to the GP. I don't know why this couldn't have been conveyed to us last year. My GP arranged transport for my husband - the operation was scheduled for 12 midday. My husband had been provided with the hospital transport number and his patient number to give to the receptionist should there be any changes. There were, as his operation didn't take place unti 2pm. so his return journey had to be cancelled. Our GP practice had reassured us that if the transport had to be rearranged that the receptionist would do it for us at HVMH if he gave her the details he had on him.
After his operation when he WAS allowed into the waiting room ( unlike last time when this permission was flatly refused us) he gave the slip of paper to the receptionist and asked her to ring up the hospital transport to arrange to pick him up. The older receptionist forbid the younger receptionist to do it and it wasn't until the older person left the reception area that the younger receptionist admitted she could now ring. How appalling that someone felt so intimidated that they dare not fulfil a simple request.
I will say that both operations appear to be successful and we do thank the surgeons for their skill and care. However, most of any basic care, empathy, communication and compassion from most of the other people involved, wasn't in evidence. Not only did it leave us feeling very angry but such behaviour is nothing more tantamount than abuse and has no place in society, never mind in a hospital which is supposed to care for patients.
We have mentioned these difficulties to which the response was that they did ask if there was a 'responsible person at home to look after my husband. As a person who has been in healthcare all my life until illness took over, i would say - as would others - that I am a very responsible person as is my husband.
However, it is difficult to plan anything when there is such lack of communication or indeed any recognition by the health care service of our individual needs which could have easily been met if they had chosen to do so.
What could have been better
showing some humanity
Signposting us to sources of transport
Recognition of the difficulties that carers face and that some people do have hidden disabilities and not judging on what you cannot see.
Lack of suitable xray post operative equipment
The receptionist who refused to ring for hospital transport
The skills of the surgeon and Tracey's compassion was good.