"So much disrespect and arrogance"

About: Northwick Park Hospital / Maxillo-Facial surgery

(as a carer),

My son who has autism had an appointment to see a member of the Maxillo- Facial team this morning. He had an initial assessment with someone else the week before and was referred to this team after identifying a crack in his jaws and the partial numbness of his lips.

We were greeted by a wonderful nurse/ dental assistant and a nice doctor initially. The doctor examined him and told us that he may need a corrective surgery under anaesthetic but had to consult with another member of the team. Everything was good before this new doctor came in. They did not introduce themselves or even acknowledge us. Went to my son and asked him to open his mouth and after a quick examination said the crack will mend itself after 4 to 6 weeks and there is no point in surgery.

I begin to ask him why the crack was still there if it had repaired itself after 6 weeks. My son was hit by a football about 2 months ago and the 2 other experts I had talked to had shown me the crack and had confirmed that it had not healed. But as soon as I opened my mouth the doctor shouted at me and told me to keep quiet while they were talking and shouldn’t ask questions while they were talking. I kept quiet and was told the surgery was not practical and they didn’t want to do it as my son was coping with pain and the crack had healed. I asked why is the crack so visibly seen in the xrays and wanted to ask if it would deteriorate with time. But before I got a chance to finish my question this doctor shouted me down and said I clearly thought I was the expert. Told me to go on and explain why he needs the surgery. Turned the computer screen towards me and shouted go on where do you see the crack. I was shocked by this behaviour. I just got a chance to say I did not say I was the expert. But they kept on saying tell me why you want me to do the surgery. I tried to explain I was not asking for the surgery but they didn’t listen.

They were extremely aggressive and rude. My son who is scared of aggression and shouting was getting nervous and distressed. So I decided not to say anything and let it all end but this member of staff kept on repeating where do you see the crack and why I want them to operate. I felt humiliated and uncomfortable. I said I found this behaviour unacceptable and did not want them any where near my son as it was too aggressive and disrespectful to both my son and my self. 

They said you can see someone else if you like and walked out. 

I was in tears by this time and asked my son to leave with me but the wonderful nurse and the kind doctor who were in the room stopped me and encouraged us to see another doctor for getting a second opinion so that I can set my mind at rest. I didn’t want to do it as I thought there would be no point. The second doctor would back up this one and we would get treated disrespectfully by someone else but they convinced me not to think so and gave me an appointment for tomorrow. I cannot thank enough the wonderful kind nurse for being nice to my son and keeping him happy.

In all my life no one had treated me with so much disrespect and arrogance as this person did. I am not sure what their problem is or if the position has gone to their head to make them think that they are superior to the rest of us. But in my opinion this staff member was rude, arrogant and showed no understanding  of people who are different. 

People like this destroy all the good work done by the rest of the Northwick hospital staff. Meeting this doctor has been one of the worse experiences of my life. I wonder how much worse it would have been if my son was there on his own. I am disappointed and disgusted. Let’s hope it won’t happen to anyone else in future.

Thank you

Responses

Response from Sue Fenwick Elliott, Head of Patient Experience, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you experienced when visiting our Trust. I am glad to hear that you felt assured but some of the staff members and that we were able to offer you another appointment the next day.

I have shared your feedback with the team who I am sure will be disappointed to hear it.

I hope the second appointment went well and that your son is recovering.

Best wishes

Anjali Patel

Patient Experience Manager

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Update posted by Appointment (a carer)

Hi

Thank you for your comments. I am pleased that you are going to discuss my concerns with the relevant individuals.

I attended the second appointment with my son yesterday. The doctor we saw was far better than the doctor we saw the day before. As expected they repeated what the other doctor had said but in a far more polite manner. To be honest I find it difficult to trust doctors in this team due to my disappointing experience with the first doctor. I am sure the second doctor expressed his honest opinion but I find it hard to believe that this doctor would have disagreed with the first doctor no matter what. I hope I am wrong and it is my poor initial experience that is stopping me from trusting that doctor’s colleagues.

on a more positive note, everyone should be assured that there are people who genuinely care and take their concerns seriously and will support them as and when they need it. I met lots of nice people during my visits to Northwick Park who made a very unpleasant experience less painful for us.

Thanks again for letting me share my experience with others

kind regards

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