"A broken wrist and a hundred phonecalls "

About: Guy's Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics Queen Elizabeth Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics St Thomas Hospital (Stockport)

(as the patient),

Back on the evening of October 2nd I broke my wrist on the tube in central London. My back was facing the door and somehow the opening door caught my elbow and jammed my forearm into my wrist (my hand was holding onto one of the poles). It popped three times, and I had to wedge it out as the door was still trying to open.

A few days later (October 5th), I went in to the doctor (not knowing it was broken at this point). She looked at it and had me move it and declared it not broken. On November 5th I went back in to the doctor, because it still hurt, and it definitely wasn't getting better. Off for x-rays I was sent (out to zone 4 hospital Queen Elizabeth, I live in zone 2). Verdict: not broken. Fast forward to December 16th; my wrist still hurts. My doctor finally decides it's time to send me for an MRI to see what kind of damage is going on. I ask when and am told "sometime in the next month." Oh, boy.

Following the advice of some friends I went into the A&E. After being annoyed at me and snapping at me for not going back to the same hospital I had my first x-rays taken at the nurse sends me off to get more x-rays. I had gone into Guys Hospital having been told by my tutor at Uni that they were quite good. They were much more thorough... but still didn't find anything "wrong". I was told they couldn't do anything and it was up to my doctor to do anything further.

Finally on January 13th (over 3 months after the initial injury, at which point it should probably be healed), I went in for an MRI at Guys Hospital. By the Friday afterward (the 21st) I haven't heard back about the results, so I call in. And guess what, my wrist is broken. My doctor sends a letter marked "urgent" to the hospital to arrange with me an appointment in the orthopaedic department. By the next Tuesday I still haven't heard anything so I call my doctor and the hospital. The doctor says that they sent the letter and there is nothing they can do. The hospital says that it doesn't matter if it's marked urgent or not, getting an appointment will take 12-14 weeks (maybe I just caught an angry receptionist?). My friends convinced me to take a chance at going to A&E again. This time they were nice to me, in fact amazing, because I was a mess. You see, I'm a dancer, and a foreign student, so I'm also not dancing fully and not sure how to go about dealing with healthcare here. This was at St. Thomas' Hospital. They said the break was so old that they couldn't do anything. That it really shouldn't be taking this long, and I should keep bothering my doctor until things are figured out.

On February 11th I still hadn't heard anything about even arranging an appointment. After calling my doctor and the hospital twice (each) in one hour, I finally found out that someone lost my paperwork. I also finally started hearing some disbelief from people as I tell them my story. I finally convinced someone to do something: they promised to fax the "urgent" letter again. Oh, and my wrist is still hurting at this point, not getting any better... there's a possibility it's getting worse.

A week agoI received a letter from the NHS saying they've scheduled me for an appointment tomorrow. My wrist still hurts nearly five months later and I'm hoping there isn't irreparable damage.

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