"Abscess following surgery at the Circle"

About: Royal United Hospital

Having been unwell since my hysterectomy in June, I had seen numerous practitioners elsewhere regarding swellings around my incision site, including one to gynae emergency to drain an abscess the size of a tennis ball, heat in the site, fevers and knowing something was wrong, only to be told all was normal. The surgeon at the Circle suggesting cosmetic surgery would be needed to improve the appearance of the mounds along the incision site as it had just healed that way. Finally after almost 4 months another firm swelling rapidly grew accompanied by fever and pain in abdo and left shoulder. 111 booked me in to Trowbridge MIU where a nurse practitioner referred me to RUH suspecting appendicitis or a hernia. A&E at Bath took me straight in and started investigations. The surgeons examined me and after attempting to push "the hernia" back in, decided to open me up and with the assistance of a laparoscope have a jolly good look and see what was going on.

It transpired that a piece of fat had become trapped in the abdominal wall and died, causing an infection either side of the abdominal wall. It took 2 hours in surgery to wash out my abdomen and repair the damage, which is more than twice the 55 mins my total hysterectomy took. I cannot describe my relief that after 4 months by which time even I wondered if I had Munchausens, that finally someone believed me and was going to find out what was going on in there. I was transferred to the Robin Smith ward where with only one notable exception the nurses were superb, despite clearly being constantly busy. The consultant is an exceptional consultant, respectfully addressing you as a sentient intelligent fellow human being in stark contrast to the Circle consultant, vindicating me by telling me this must have been rumbling on for months. I am very grateful to the doctor who performed my procedures with the minimal bruising implying a gentle hand and the time taken indicating diligence. The care was only let down by a nurse who told me I worried too much when I asked if the dressing over my drains could be changed as it was sodden and smelling and soiling my gown and bed. Another nurse changed it immediately on request 12 hours later, with great care and adjusted the drain position so that it lay straight and more comfortably and no longer pulled as I moved. This dressing has stayed dry. I don't think it is unreasonable for a patient with a post op infection to be concerned about a soiled dressing over a deep drain so close to the peritoneum. Not only for my health but to contain spread to others. I thought choosing the Circle would reduce the RUH load but it has done the reverse. Each time I go into the RUH standards have improved dramatically, the goodwill of the nursing staff being a priceless asset. I am very lucky that I didn't develop septic shock and hope that I can now actually recover. I nearly didn't seek help having had my concerns dismissed so often, I was genuinely losing the will to live

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Response from Royal United Hospital

We thank you for your comments about your recent care at the RUH. We will pass your comments on to the staff in the areas in which you were treated whom, are sure, will be grateful for your kind words. We also welcome your comments as they help us to identify problems and improve the quality of our service and care. In order for us to investigate the concerns you have raised we would ask that you provide more detail. Please would you contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 01225 825656 or via email at ruh-tr.PatientAdviceandLiaisonService@nhs.net

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