"Upsetting lack of care from orthopaedic doctor at Ayr Hospital"

About: Ayr Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I have had Rheumatoid arthritis for 21 years. I have been on MTX for a number of years and have been on long term steroid treatment as well as other medications.

I have been having problems with infection in my right foot for around 4 years now. For a while, I was told by my GP surgery that I had an infected corn. I saw podiatrists and the GP kept just giving me standard courses of antibiotics each time I complained. This did not help. It would temporarily calm the infection a little. I developed a pus filled abscess at one point which my GP burnt off, as thought it was a wart. I was told nothing further could be done.

Recently though things got much worse (in the last 2-3 weeks). I became very ill and discovered that it had been bone infection. There was an awful lot of foul smelling pus and blood coming from my foot. I have had fever and been physically sick on and off, have been off my food and lost weight. I have had a very smelly discharge and blood pushing out of a sinus between my toes, as well as discharge from the hole on my foot (the corn has left a rather deep hole on the sole of my right foot). I have been feeling very unwell and constantly in a lot of pain. I am totally at the end of my tether, I really cannot take anymore. I just want someone to please help me.

I took myself in to Ayr Minor ailments unit seeking help. I had to drive in myself (my car is automatic so I am able to drive with my left foot). My son was with me. I had no one to turn to, which is why I had to drive myself in.

Anyway, I told them at Ayr hospital what the problem was, one very nice lady at the dept put in a canula and gave me something for the pain. I was under the impression that I would at least get some stronger antibiotics.

I saw a doctor from orthopaedics. I told the doctor that I cannot take anymore of the pain and illness this is causing me. I pretty much went in there begging for help. They took bloods and checked my last blood results. My last blood results taken a couple of weeks ago were rather bad. This doctor told me that I have chronic bone infection but my bloods had calmed down and were not too bad. The doctor did not offer to have the hole in my foot cleaned and dressed (I have been so careful in keeping it covered and clean to stop any more dirt getting in). I was told that nothing would be done, I was to receive no treatment or help. I wasn't given an antibiotic. The doctor did not even have the canula taken out before I left the hospital, I had to take it out myself. I felt the doctor was very arrogant, cold and uncaring.

This infection has become unbearable in the last few weeks and I CANNOT TAKE ANYMORE. I am at the stage where I just want to give up and wish death would just take me, as I can tell you it would be a sweet escape from the constant pain and illness this infection is causing me. I cannot take this for another day, far less a few months.

The doctor I saw at orthopaedics said to me that they did not think my usual consultant would have anything to do with me and would not be able help me either. I thought the doctor's bedside manor was shocking and caused me to be in a very upset state, crying my eyes out. I begged and pleaded with the doctor to at least give me some sort of antibiotic cover in the mean time, as I was sure my usual consultant would help me when I could see them again. If the doctor could give me some temporary relief or some sort of help.

All I was offered was painkillers. I am already on painkillers 4 times daily as well as a lot of other meds. I don’t want to be sitting like a zombie with too many painkillers as I am on my own; that is no help to me. This doctor was very cold and had no compassion at all. I was sent home with no help. I just want some one to help me, not with more painkillers. I was lead to believe that I would probably need IV antibiotics and possibly surgery. I am very worried, as I know this infection can enter my blood stream and turn septic. I expressed this concern to the doctor. I asked when they would decide to help me. When it turns septic? When I end up having to loose my foot? When I am dead and it is too late? What stage does it have to go to for me to get help?

I admit I was slightly reluctant months back, as I did not know what the problem was, I was lead to believe by GP that it was not serious and as I have already mentioned it has gotten really bad in the last 2-3 weeks. I do not understand why this doctor was so arrogant, cold and uncaring or could not help me in anyway. I have had infection in the past which turned septic.

My usual consultant was the person responsible for helping me and saving my life during that time. I honestly cannot speak highly enough of this consultant, who has done so much for me through the years and really is a great person whom I have a lot of respect for but is also very busy. Why couldn’t the doctor I’ve just seen give me some sort of help other than offering more painkillers? I mean, I was actually begging this doctor for help just to be told there was no treatment being offered and that I should go home and see my rheumatologist or wait until October to see usual orthopaedic consultant. That could be too late. It really has become unbearable in the last 2-3 weeks; I can not express this enough.

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Response from Andrew Moore, Assistant Director of Nursing, NHS Ayrshire & Arran

Dear Kity

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience on Patient Opinion and sorry you've been have such a difficult time. I just wanted to let you know that we’ve received your story and I’ve shared it with the services you mentioned. I’ll get back to you with a fuller response as soon as I can.

Thanks again,

Andrew Moore

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