"Unhappy with ultrasound examination"

About: Wansbeck Hospital

What I liked

I attendees the breast clinic on 21/05/2012.

My initial consultation was done in a way I felt was professional and the Consultant was both friendly and professional as was the Nurse who worked with him.

As I was having my breasts examined following the discovery of a lump I felt a little embarrassed but the Consultant spoke with me prior to the examination and explained what he intended to do and at all times during my examination I was treat with dignity and respect.

I was given a gown to cover myself with and I was covered up as much as I could be which made the examination a little more acceptable. My husband was with me during the examination which also made me feel less anxious.

What could be improved

Following the initial examination I was simply told that I was being sent for an xray but told nothing further which made me feel worried. I understand however that doctors cannot simply say everything will be okay without a full investigation. I was kept waiting for around an hour in the xray dept prior to being called by a Nurse who was quite cold and abrupt. My husband accompanied me to the room but was abruptly told by the Nurse to wait in the waiting area outside of the examination room prior to escorting me into the room and locking the door. I assumed he was not allowed in as an xray could be dangerous.. I was asked to undress to my waist and told to lie on the bed. I was given a small piece of paper to cover myself with which was quite undignified. Nothing else was explained to me then suddenly a male member of staff entered the room and asked me to conform my details. I was quite shocked that I had not been introduced to someone else who was going to examine me prior to me lying there half naked. This person continued to perform an ultrasound examination of my breast where the lump was and later said that it appeared to be a cyst using some medical terminology. He then showed me the cyst on the screen prior to the Nurse offering me the piece of paper to cover myself with again. I was then told by the male member of staff that he would write up some notes for me to take back to the Consultant. I'm unsure of whether this male member of staff was a doctor or some kind of nursing staff etc however I had expected to be examined by a female as that was what was stated in a leaflet I had been given. This whole incident made me feel uncomfortable and I did not see why my husband was excluded from the room for an ultrasound examination and I would have liked him to have been with me as I was still afraid of what the result could be. I later spoke with the initial consultant who I had seen who provided further advice in relation to possible treatments etc .

Anything else?

I would like to know why I was not given the option of my husband being with me during the examination as it was obviously always clear to the hospital staff that I was receiving an ultrasound as opposed to an xray. The room was very big and therefore I can see no reason why my husband was excluded without any consultation with me.

I would also like to know if the person who performed the ultrasound was a doctor and not some other profession as it was not really explained to me. Is it likely that a male radiographer as opposed to a radiologist would conduct an examination of this type. The operator did write a short report following the examination which included his findings.

I also believe that more could be done to protect patients dignity during intimate exqminations. As I said earlier the initial exam was conducted with the utmost professionalism however the ultrasound examination was not. The paper sheet I was covered with was completely removed during the examination and I felt very exposed. This was unnecessary as only a small area of one of my breasts was to be examined so it would have been more appropriate for the breast which was being examined to be exposed as opposed to both. I feel quite strongly about this issue and I don't believe I am acting disproportionately. No xray was ever intended and I should have been introduced to the ultrasound operator prior to being prepared for the examination. I am a young woman and feel that incidents like this are only likely to prevent people from consulting a medic in the future. I understand that it is not always possible to see a Consultant or Doctor of the same sex in relation to intimate matters but allowing a family member to be there as well as other measures would only help to relax people.

Thank-you tor reading and although I have criticisms of some matters I was pleased to find out I was healthy and thank the staff involved for that.

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Response from Wansbeck Hospital

Thank you for your comments posted on this website regarding your experience at Wansbeck General Hospital.

The Trust is concerned about the issues you have raised. If you would like to write to the Trust we will investigate your concerns and write to you personally with the results of our investigations. Patient feedback is important to us in order that we can monitor the services we provide. The address for correspondence is:

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Patient Services

Northumbria House

Unit 7/8 Silver Fox Way

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE27 0QJ

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