"Stop treating isolated symptoms; find the cause;..."

About: Eastbourne District General Hospital

My father has been admitted to the DGH 8 times in the last year - 3 times this year, and two of those occasions within 12 days of each other this month. Each time it is with "an infection". Each time he is discharged because his bloods are "clear of infection". Each time a report goes to his GP saying that the infection was of "unknown" source. Each time we have to answer the same questions about his general health. Each time we guarantee the DGH we will be back soon. Sadly, we are always right. Goodness only knows how much money these repeat visits are costing. My father has numerous health issues, but predominantly heart failure and bile duct cancer, which was detected five years ago and which were told would spread to his liver eventually. At no point in the last year has anyone taken any real notice of the fact that his stomach is huge (and appears to be full of fluid), that he has a permanent itchy rash, that he has pain in his right shoulder, that he sleeps a lot, that he is incontinent, that his feet, ankles and hands are bloated..... and he has all the obvious signs of liver cancer. I am guessing that the scans he has had have not gone deep enough to discover whether his cancer has spread; but I'd say that there is enough evidence for someone in the medical profession to at least look at him beyond just the infections he is admitted with. Maybe then he will get the attention he needs....? Or maybe he's too old and they are expecting him to die of heart failure soon so they won't have to bother. Without a diagnosis we don't know what we're facing. Without a diagnosis of cancer we cannot get any help. My friend's husband has been admitted just as many times with exactly the same pattern of infections - and he does have cancer. The hospital are wasting a lot of money by continually only treating the symptoms they are presented with rather than looking at an individual as a whole and taking everything into account. They also do not have the time to wade through the patient notes if they are of the huge extent of my father's; a consultant should be able to have instant electronic access to a potted history of any patient s/he sees. The time that is wasted on paper and paperwork itself is ridiculous.

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Response from Eastbourne District General Hospital

Firstly may we apologise for our delay in posting a response to the concerns you raise about your fathers care at Eastbourne DGH. We are deeply concerned to read your comments and we would like the opportunity to discuss them with you (and your father) in more detail. This would enable us to look into what is happening in greater detail and why. IF you are willing to do this, please contact our Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) on 01323 435886 who will be able to liaise with Trust staff and make these arrangements. They can also be contacted by email at: esh-tr.PALSE@nhs.net. Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback. We hope you feel able to contact us.

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