"A mix of good and bad"

About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Trauma and Orthopaedics

(as the patient),

At first I was so grateful to be back in Scotland under the care of the NHS, having had a serious accident abroad and spent 10 days in a foreign hospital.

My injuries consisted of lateral compression fractures of the pelvis (including sacral wing fracture) and a compound, comminuted tib/fib. I arrived in the RIE with external fixators fitted to both my pelvis and leg.

On the whole, the staff were very good, very caring and understanding. Having almost died abroad (internal bleeding and transfusions secondary to pelvic fx), I was emotional at times and on the most part, this was dealt with compassionately and with understanding especially by the clinical support workers and students.

I could not fault them, I was in a side room due to having been brought back from abroad, and these staff really helped to reduce my isolation.

As a qualified nurse myself with experience in general settings, I am acutely aware of the knock on effect emotions, pain and fear can have on each other.

I always tried to be a good patient. Done what I could for myself, left things that weren't important, didn't ring the buzzer unless absolutely necessary. What I wasn't expecting, was a senior to lie to me, and about me in my nursing notes.

As a previously independent female, using a bedpan isn't the most fun! However, when you are covered in bruising and have been crushed by boulders, straining almost every muscle in your body during the process of, you know, trying to avoid death from further landslide, coupled with a broken sacrum and completely broken superior and inferior rami, only able to lift yourself a few inches above the bed on your elbows and one leg - lying on a bedpan which digs into your broken sacrum isn't ideal. In fact, I can hand on heart say it was more painful than my 43 hour back-labour.

I usually have a high pain tolerance. I'm used to pain. I could not lie on that bedpan. HOWEVER! This was not a problem when I had the monkey pole, a fantastic orthopedic mobility aid that means you can almost suspend yourself from, in order to hover over a bedpan. Brilliant! Not so good when it disappears when you are in theatre being operated on. And nobody goes to look for it despite you telling them exactly where you last seen it. That is, until your father gets angry (according to my notes! ) and asks them to find it.

It might sound like nothing. But at the time, I was on day 5...or 6....I had lost count. I was in agony, and my notes say:

1: I was refusing to use bedpan as it digs into her coccyx.

Now, it was not digging into my coccyx and too sore, it was MOVING the bit of my sacral wing which was cracked right across and was agonising. not sore.

2: That I could easily lift my bottom onto a bedpan.

Again, NO! It took a tremendous amount of effort and an enormous amount of pain to move at all. I could not keep myself up there [bum 2 inches from the bed with someone ramming the bedpan under me? for any longer than a few seconds at a time.

3: That they currently did not have any other options.

They did have options, they could have went and LOOKED for the monkey pole. (which they eventually did, and found it where suspected)

4: They said a commode was mentioned as a possibility but I did not wish to try it... Excuse me! ? This also regarding getting out of bed. No! It wasn't given to me as an option at that moment in time by anyone, and considering I could still feel bones moving inside my pelvis and hadn't been cleared by physio or surgeon to get up, I wasn't going to attempt to stand without their OK or their help!

It's unfortunate when 1 member of staff's treatment overclouds your whole stay in a hospital. The Royal Infirmary do some fantastic work. They are consistently understaffed and overworked, as is my hospital, but as nurses we cannot allow this to make us bitter, or complacent. Or stop caring, listening and trying to help.

Physical - Psychological, the 2 both need looked after as they will beat each other down if one is down. As I said before, most staff understood this, and for that I am very grateful.

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Response from Jeannette Morrison, Head of Patient Experience, NHS Lothian

Hi flyingchezz,

I was so sorry to read of your experiences whilst in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh after your serious accident abroad, it sounds as though you have had a very difficult time.

I have passed your feedback onto the senior management team at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. To help us to look into this for you l would be grateful if could contact me directly at the Patient Experience Team (feedback@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk) or by telephone 0131 536 3370.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Jeannette Morrison

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by flyingchezz (the patient)

Thank you. I am not trying to blacklist anyone or blame, I just think this sort of thing needs to be highlighted so staff are aware of how they are treating people, and be aware that only truthful and accurate information should be written in patients notes. All staff should remember that these are legal documents and that patients can easily obtain copies.

It is not a nice feeling being made to feel as though people think you're malingering, exaggerating or faking.