"Traumatising first gynaecology appointment"

About: Liverpool Womens Hospital / Gynaecology

(as the patient),

I’d like to give feedback on my colposcopy experience in the outpatients department.

I am only 22 years old and have never had any gynaecological examinations before. I had been referred for a colposcopy as I have been bleeding between periods for a long time. I had put off having this colposcopy done for 2 years as I am terrified at the thought of the examination. However, I somehow built up the courage to go as I wanted to stop my mid cycle bleeding.

The colposcopy nurse was very abrupt and made me feel uncomfortable as soon as I entered the room. I explained I had put off this appointment for 2 years due to fear and they ignored this comment. They did not explain what would happen during the examination and so I was completely blind as to what to expect or what was happening in the moment. It was extremely uncomfortable and painful.

After not talking at all during the examination they loudly stated -You have a large area of abnormal cells, I'm taking a biopsy!-to which I didn’t know was even going to be an option during my examination. I had only been told the examination was to look for ectropion as the reason for mid cycle bleeding. I immediately start to have a panic attack, burst into tears and completely tense up so that the speculum would not stay in place. They actually shouted at me to -relax or I cant take the biopsy- to which of course made me even more panicked and upset. It felt like they forced the speculum back in which was extremely painful and felt violating.

After the examination was over they did not answer any of my questions about what ‘abnormal cells’ meant or why they took a biopsy, they just said I’ll give you a leaflet. I feel like the whole appointment was extremely rushed and that the nurse didn’t have time to speak or even wait for me to feel comfortable. I was completely traumatised by this appointment and left feeling completely terrified and extremely upset. I was unable to function normally for the rest of the day and feel completely violated and let down by the nurse and the way they acted during my appointment.

This could have been so much better than it was. I only received the information letter the day after my appointment which was equally as disappointing. I do have to add that the support nurse was lovely and really did try their best to keep me calm but even their facial expressions suggested that they didn’t agree with the way the colposcopy nurse was acting. I really hope no one else has to go what I have been through. I have been put off gynaecological appointments for life and don’t feel I will ever be able to attend any follow up appointments or smear tests when I reach 25 as I will be absolutely petrified of a repeat of that appointment.

Responses

Response from Liverpool Women's Hospital NHS Trust Foundation

We are very sorry to hear of the recent traumatic experience you have described at our Trust. The Trust strives to provide the best possible care for our patients and we are very sorry that you have felt that the care you received was unacceptable.

Please would you contact our Patient Experience Team on 0151 702 4353 or via email on PALS@lwh.nhs.uk

The team would like to discuss your experience with you and to see if we can provide any help and support for you at this difficult time.

Thank you,

Kind regards,

Gillian Walker, Matron Gynaecology.

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