"Great care for an emergency procedure at Darent Valley"

About: Darent Valley Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

Recently, I had to cut short my night shift at work due to excruciating pain & (when I tried to use the toilet) rectal bleeding and abdominal swelling. This pain became so much that I eventually called 999, as I believed I would soon become unable to do so.

A paramedic swiftly arrived, examined me and delivered me to Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford at about 11pm.

My agony didn't end immediately in A&E but when they had a good idea of the problem I was suffering from everything moved with suitable urgency. Antibiotics and pain relief were administered & I was transferred to a ward & to the surgical team for further tests and treatment.

At about 3pm the following day, after a CT Scan, I was informed that I would need an emergency procedure for a perforated colon and would likely end up with a (hopefully reversible) stoma & colostomy bag, etc. When they said "emergency" they really meant it!

I was actually in less pain at this time than I had been on arrival, and when I was in A&E, so I was well enough to walk (with drip in tow) to a room where my mobile would work in order to let my boss know that I would be out of action for a while ...when I returned to my bed I found an impatient consultant surgeon, doctor, anaesthetist & stoma nurse all waiting to have very brief conversations with me.

If there's an advantage to undergoing this sort of procedure as an emergency it's that you don't have any time to worry about the surgery, the consequences of surgery, life with a stoma or any of that stuff. You're simply immediately and hugely grateful that all these people have come together to (potentially & hopefully) save your life!

Since I'm writing this, you'll have guessed that save my life is exactly what they did.

At the time I was going through all this I'd never heard of this procedure but I was told it was "major surgery", neither did I have any knowledge of the Surgical Consultant Petr Hanek and his team. I now know that Mr Hanek is very highly regarded and feel very fortunate to have been under the care of him, his team, the anaesthetists and everyone involved in my surgery.

After the surgery I remained at Darent Valley Hospital (Rowan Ward) for about ten days during which my pain decreased and my mobility increased.

The story isn't over yet as I haven't been out of hospital long and my recovery is ongoing with the welcome assistance of the "Bridging Team" and Jane and Annalyn, the ever helpful Stoma Nurses.

Maggie Bray is the Senior Sister on Rowan Ward, where I recovered after the procedure. I did tell her before leaving and I feel I should repeat here how grateful to and impressed by all of the ward staff I am.

All of the nurses, nursing assistants and student nurses were not only helpful but also caring & considerate at all times. The non medical support staff (those who distribute meals and do the cleaning) were also kind and helpful.

Considering the negative publicity which sections of the NHS are (presumably quite rightly) attracting at the moment I feel that the good practice and culture of genuine care I observed and benefited from at Darent Valley should be recognised and encouraged elsewhere.

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Response from E-Communications Manager, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust

Thank you for such super feedback, especially the praise of each and every staff member that cared for you.

At Darent Valley Hospital we do aspire to offer all patients compassion, dignity and care but of course it is always nice to hear that you observed plus benefited from this at the hospital. The staff involved in your treatment and care have been informed of your kind words and wish you a speedy recovery.

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