"Gastroenterology & Depression"

About: Ayrshire Central Hospital / General Surgery Crosshouse Hospital / General Surgery

(as the patient),

Having suffered from chronic pain, heart problems and nerve damage. I tried to take my own life. It felt like the only thing that would help and at least it would erase the burden on society that I had become (after working for the past 15yrs at 40hr+ jobs - I was experiencing, for the first time, the degrading process of being treated like scum for applying for benefits and it had really destroyed my heart). It was only the beginning.

I woke up to the voices of two nurses speaking to each other "This is not an asylum, we don’t know what to do with her". I didn't quite feel right physically and then I was left alone in a room. I really needed to pee but for some reason couldn't. However for the first time in months - I wasn't in pain. I didn't know what it was at the time - but I pulled at the device stopping me from urinating. Turned out I pulled a catheter out. Blood hit the walls, curtain and ran down onto the bed - I couldn't feel it but I knew blood was not good. An hour passed, I drifted. The next memory was a nurse roughly pulling me from the bed shouting at me that it wasn't her fault I pulled my catheter out that it was mine, and that I was hallucinating. I did not blame anyone; it had not crossed my mind. I was also told that I'd be lucky if I didn't get locked up. I didn't respond in anyway but I remember thinking that I'd died and this was hell, full of the heartless. My mind is also eidetic; I remember everything always, from now until forever.

I spent the day in agony; medication wore off, bleeding until I was forced to ask for a sanitary towel to help me cope with the bleeding caused by the catheter trauma. A member of staff tossed a packet to me and walked away. No eye contact, no food, no water. This was the high dependency ward at Crosshouse Hospital. I was discharged with no further follow-up or support.

I did put in a complaint but this is how the process seems to work - a secretary asks the nurses if the events took place, the nurses say no - that is all.

A week later I collapse at a friend’s house. I was taken to hospital and it turns out that I have Colitis and that sections from my throat, stomach, upper and lower bowl are damaged, infected, inflamed and swollen. That the infection was so bad that I had not been absorbing B12 or any other vitamin. Without certain vitamins - you cannot feel happy or anything positive.

A month and a half in Ayr Hospital went past and I was not getting better. One night I ask to see my medical notes – cheerfully and kindly – for some night-time reading (under the pretence that I was bored and too simple to be able to really read it or understand it). I start skimming the notes (my eidetic memory only needs a second to copy and keep the page but that isn’t proper evidence) and what I’m reading is really concerning. It looks like I’d been overdosed on morphine and I had lost a week due to poisoning. I had a scanner in my phone – I scanned every page of my medical files and then emailed them to myself.

So I ask to speak to my Surgeon. I can only describe this person as inhuman who seemed to be grinning like a Cheshire cat as I was told me about three different procedures they wanted to do - all would cause great pain. I left.

I ran as fast as my severely debilitated body would carry me. I thought – if I die; let it be outside in a field under the sun. I was so close to freedom but two guards grabbed me and manhandled me into the room with me screaming like a lunatic, “Don’t Touch Me! – This is MY body and I am a human being who will die on my terms – no yours. Ever! ”.

It turns out that despite the drama – those guards were the loveliest people I’d ever met in hospital. One of them had a daughter my age and they soothed me and promised that they would protect me. The other went and got sick bowls (this was my fifth day throwing up nothing but blood. They brought me ice water. It was the first time I’d been given ice water. And they made phone calls. Got my family and treated me with such kindness. They got a hold of the overall Head of the Department who, after being given my full notes, handed me over to a very good locum doctor and suspended contact with the previous surgeon and their team.

I also had a friend turn up who was a trainee doctor. She visited everyday and she helped me. By the second month I couldn’t walk, had a feeding tube and morphine was barely taking the edge of. But this trainee doctor, who I barely knew, never left my side. She did the grim jobs, like cleaning me up, helping me to the bathroom, holding my hand when the pain was blinding. She brushed my hair and kept talking to me.

A month and a half later. I walked out of hospital. And since then I have helped people apply for help at home, joined campaign groups and whilst I hope to go back to work this year – I will always fight for our sick, elderly and disabled with the same kindness as the security men at Ayr Hospital and the same determination of my trainee doctor.

I have spent five years being treated like dirt by NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

I was treat in Ayr for 3 months with invasive test after invasive test and left with chronic pain, bleeding and was never able to work again.

Crosshouse was no better with Gatroenterologist's repeating the exact same mistakes - I've had an ulcer burst with a camera, bowel fissures, infection and nurses completely degrading and incompetent. Was moved during an enema, and left in a ward without a buzzer. Shared a bathroom with faeces and blood smeared down the wall.

I was left for 5yrs without a diagnosis or support. Within 3 months of transferring to Glasgow - I have a diagnosis (Gartnavel Team) and for the first time in half a decade - hope.

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Response from Laura Harvey, Improvement Lead - Customer Care, Customer Care - Quality Improvement, NHS Ayrshire and Arran

Dear Regeneration

I am so sorry to hear of the difficulties you have experienced whilst using our services. I would really value the opportunity to discuss further with you and to offer whatever help we can to both address your health concerns and start to rebuild your confidence in using our services.

Please get in touch; Direct number is 01292 513610 or via email at Laura.harvey@aaaht.scot.nhs.uk

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Update posted by Regeneration (the patient)

I've already been in contact about this story. Nothing was ever dealt with. My confidence in NHS Ayrshire and Arran remains at Zero.

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