"Lack of dignity during sigmoidoscopy"

About: Good Hope Hospital / Gastroenterology

(as the patient),

I was referred for sigmoidoscopy by my GP following an episode of overt rectal bleeding.

My issue is that the procedure had barely got underway when another medical professional entered the room and engaged the consultant in a conversation concerning another patient. I felt this was inappropriate on so many levels:

a) although the patient being discussed was not named, I still feel this is a breach of confidentiality (incidentally, I am aware that this patient was due to have heart surgery in the following two weeks!)

b) I was not confident that the Consultant was paying full attention to the procedure they were carrying out

c) as they were otherwise engaged in conversation they were unable to talk me through the procedure and explain what I was viewing on screen.

Most importantly I did not feel that my dignity and privacy was respected. I was anxious and embarassed about the procedure which rendered me quite vulnerable and feeling unable to challenge what was happening. I felt very upset but unable to express this to anyone and so pretended all was fine.

Practitioners need to remember that what may seem to them a mundane and routine procedure, this is not so for the majority of people and this needs to be borne in mind when dealing with patients.

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Response from Susan Moore, Executive Lead Director, Good Hope Hospital

picture of Susan Moore

I would like to apologise on behalf of the hospital for your experience.

It is not acceptable that we hold such conversations, particularly when patients are vulnerable and undergoing a very personal procedure.

I have spoken to the team, and to be fair they have very few complaints of this nature and so I believe that this behavior is a rare occurrence.

However, I have asked for the comments you have shared with us to be discussed at the team meeting, with an expectation that observations you have made are addressed and instructions about not discussing other cases in front of patients are clear.

Once again, please accept our apologies and thank you for raising your very valid concerns.

Kind Regards

Sue Moore

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Update posted by jeb30 (the patient)

Dear Ms Moore

Thank you for your prompt acknowledgement of my concerns and the action you propose to take, ie my comments to be shared at the team meeting to inform future practice.

I would like to say that I was very satisfied with all other aspects of my care as an outpatient on the day in question.

Kind Regards