"Bad experience with knee consultation at East Kent ICAT"

About: Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT

(as the patient),

I had been having treatment and investigations for a painful knee over a period of about 4 months. I should say that, with all but the last person I saw, the experience was a very positive one. In the end, there was no clear diagnosis, with tests thankfully proving negative for things like rheumatoid arthritis (something which runs in my family).

When I went for the last results, a blood test, I did not know whether to laugh or cry, because of the manner in which I was spoken to. Firstly, I was told off for not having a knee x-ray on me. It seems a letter had gone to my GP relating to my needing this x-ray, but I had known nothing about this, I had not realised that I needed an x-ray doing in addition to the MRI scan I had already had. I duly went off to the x-ray dept, form in hand, came back, to then hear howls of laughter coming from the clinic room.

There was an old elbow x-ray nestled amongst my knee x-ray, and I had to think long and hard about when I had this done, I eventually recalled that the elbow x-ray was about 14-16 years old! The consultant had to leave before he saw me, other than to say that the tests were fine, and that they did apologise for laughing about elbow x-ray; now I was left alone with the ICAT guy.

I still had problems with my knee, a sharp pain if it was jolted or even if I sneezed, or cut my grass, but it admittedly was much better than it had been a few months before. He firstly had another look at my knee, suggesting that perhaps hypermobility was the problem and we talked about the need for me to build up my knee muscles after having had a period when I had been ordered not to do lower body exercise.

Mostly, what he said after that was pretty unpleasant. He commented that people with elbow injuries usually get these when they are drunk (and of course, when I struggled even to remember when the old elbow x-ray had been taken, this did not help me to defend myself on this). Afterwards, I recalled that I had banged my elbow at the same time as when, tripping over builders rubble in a car park, I snapped a tendon in my thumb. I was not drunk, I had been pulled backwards by the weight of my brief case. I do not have a drink problem, but obviously the NHS appear to have labeled me as having one.

I was told I could be referred to a pain clinic, but that was really just them telling me that I had to just get on with (that is how he said it), not sure that was too helpful.

What else? I got told that the line dancing I do is not at all hard on the knees, what clap-trap! The parting "blow" was where he proceeded to question the fact that a relative of mine had rheumatoid arthritis at all, although this relative lives in a different county.

I went away feeling somewhat humiliated. I had simply been labeled and dismissed in a rather judgemental way, and all out of earshot of anyone else. I still feel deeply hurt by this incident, but do not want to complain either given all the good treatment before hand and also because I fear being labeled as a trouble maker as well as a drunk!

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