"A horror story, and fact, not fiction....."

About: Harrogate District Hospital

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I arrived by ambulance as an emergency in May 2011 with severe pains under my sternum and was admitted to a ward for 8 days. There, persistent vomiting led to the return of an anterior vaginal prolapse which I reported to the consultant immediately, to be told , "it could not cause the epigastric pain". Said pain stopped and I was sent home, to be rushed to the AMU by my GP a week later, and it transpired I had been sent home with pulmonary emboli in one lung, which I didn't have when I was admitted. I was back on the ward again with the same epigastric pain the week after that, but there was never a diagnosis and after days on drugs like Tramadol, the pain stopped and I went home.

A verbal complaint in July 2011 meant the same tests I had had while an in-patient were repeated, with no diagnosis. I attended the OP clinc of the relevant consultant every 2 months, as the epigastric pain never stopped and my GP had to prescribe Oramorph so I could control the pain at home rather than take up a bed on a ward, where all I would get was more Tramadol.

At every OP clinic I kept on describing the pain in my lower right abdominal quadrant as like "having a bag of fluid" there and if I tried bending over and this "bag" was squeezed" , the pain was so bad, I screamed, but I was told "this was not possible" by a junior doctor taking the clinic one day and he just walked out of the consulting room, leaving the attending nurse to get me off the examination couch.

Eventually after more of the same tests without results; an MRI that never happened because there was no doctor on duty on a Saturday to administer the sedation I needed being highly claustrophobic, another emergency admission to a ward with no results, an unnecessary hip x-ray, my GP - after 15 months of this - sent me to the Friarage for a second opinion where I was diagnosed with neuropathic pain and prescribed a drug which has helped, and sent to a gynaecologist where it was discovered my original tiny prolapse was now severe and I also bby now had a grade 3 cystocele. Mechanical treatments - physio and ring pessary - don't seem to be working, so I am, at the age of 71 and now with a history of blood clots, looking at the the possibility of surgery which is likely to kill me.

As I am now housebound, unable to reach anything below waist level, cannot indulge in my favourite activities of gardening and walking, fighting a 4 stone weight increase caused, not by overeating, but by an inability to exercise due to pain, can't get to a dentist, cut my toenails, put on socks, do up shoelaces, use my oven, have a bath as opposed to a shower - to name but a few - something must be done to get me back to normal life. I would like to know why I was not referred to the gynaecology dept when I reported the prolapse? Had that happened back in June 2011, I don't think I would be in this parlous condition.

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Response from Harrogate District Hospital

Thank you for your feedback which we greatly value. I am extremely sorry to learn of your experience and would like to apologise that you feel the care we provided to you was not of the standard we would expect.

If you would like us to investigate this matter further, please contact our Patient Experience Team on (01423) 555499 or email thepatientexperienceteam@hdft.nhs.uk

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

Yours faithfully

Chris Watt

Head of Communications

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust

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