"None of the neurosurgeons and radiographers could agree on a diagnosis"

About: Doncaster Royal Infirmary / Neurology

(as the patient),

I was admitted in November 09 for a total thyroidectomy after being diagnosed with cancer in October (had a hemithyroidectomy in September). The surgery went well, my consultant is a great guy. Ward 21: very busy. However, I hardly dared ask anything when after requesting some pain killers, I was told rather nastily: you're not the only one 'love'; you'll have to wait! And wait I did. For an hour!

Discharged in the middle of November, whilst complaining of feeling nauseous and tingly but 'you'll be fine' I was told. Got home feeling worse; didn't sleep as I was tingling all over and rang the ward on the next day at 7 am to ask for advice; I was told to come back straight away before I started 'cramping' and to bring my suitcase with me. My partner drove me back but I got into such a state - fingers paralysed, unable to talk that an ambulance picked me up and rushed me in.

Hypocalcemia: no calcium left in my body. I was re-admitted for a couple of days and given loads of calcium. My consultant came to explain that the glands that produce the calcium were damaged during surgery and only one was left which was re attached to the muscle. I should have had a blood test before I was discharged, especially when I was complaining of tingling but I didn’t have on. I believe this was because they needed the bed. This was a very scary experience. Following my second discharge, I got terrible headaches: I kept losing my balance, hitting furniture, tripping until I became totally confused: couldn't figure out how to get dressed, use the toilets, write etc.

I went to the A & E at 1 pm at the beginning of December; my partner explained how confused I was and getting slowly worse; I was seen by a triage nurse at 16.30! Then a doctor said I needed a CT scan but needed to be admitted. Got a bed at 18.30 in the assessment ward and just waited there with this excruciating headache. Saw another doctor at 23.30 who again said I needed to have a CT scan but it was by then too late. He thought I might have had a slight stroke. I asked for something for the pain. Come the next morning I was still waiting for pain relief, saw another doctor who said yet again that I needed to have a CT scan! But I'd have to wait as they were very busy; still waiting for pain relief; then got told that I'd have to wait until Tuesday as they had emergencies to deal with first and I was not one of them. Then, I was told I'd have to wait until Wednesday.

Anyway, another junior doctor got involved and managed to book me an MRI for the Tuesday. This took place and the doctor told me that I'd had a bleed in the brain but they were sending the scan to Royal Hallamshire for advice. I was still in the assessment unit by then and finally heard from Hallamshire two days later.

Was then told by another doctor that it was not a bleed but a blot clot and I could go home; just like that? yes, it'll get better by itself. Can it happen again? oh yes, as it's happened once already! And it's safe for me to go home even with this terrible headache? Yes. This was 10 in the morning: I left at 4 pm as it took 6 hours of waiting to get the medicine from the pharmacist. By then, I was not 'confused' anymore but very unhappy as I was scared.

I went to see my GP and they made enquiries which led to the following: none of the neurosurgeons and radiographers could agree on a diagnosis. So, nearly a month later, the headaches have more or less gone but my head feels 'tight' and 'fuzzy' at times, not to mention slight episodes of confusion and I am having another MRI in Sheffield this week. Well before starting my radioactive treatment.

I know how busy nurses and doctors are but being courteous and showing a bit of understanding doesn't take any longer than being uncaring or rude. Don't these doctors and nurses realise how this series of events could be distressing to me, especially in my vulnerable position? I am angry that I have been treated like this, with no regards whatsoever for my feelings and after my experiences I do not want to be treated at Doncaster Royal Infirmary again.

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Response from Doncaster Royal Infirmary

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