"A massive thank you to all the staff on the Spinal Unit"

About: Queen's Medical Centre / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

In November 2011, my husband was admitted to the QMC for emergency disc decompression surgery for Cauda Equina Syndrome.

I just want to thank all the staff on the spinal care unit for their patience, understanding and absolute expertise. The care my husband received was well above any standard, and completely flawless. The surgeon spoke to me following my husband's surgery while he was in recovery, and explained everything so well and in an understandable format. He also answered all my questions and concerns, and gave me some very good advice about caring for my husband following his discharge.

Thanks to this dedicated team of people, a very stressful experience was made into a manageable, well informed one.

I was kept in the loop so well and made to feel part of the picture. I was contacted up to twice daily by staff on the ward, including a lovely lady doctor who talked me through Cauda Equina and the kinds of things we could expect in the months following my husband's surgery.

I was also contacted before my husband was discharged to make sure I had been able to arrange suitable transport, and that he would have to sit in the front of the car and we may need to stop on the journey home (about 15 miles from QMC to Mansfield, so a long journey for someone in a lot of pain) to let my husband out so he can stand and move his legs. My mother in law and my husband's stepdad took me to visit each day, and provided the much needed transport for me to visit my husband.

Staff were so polite and warm, were willing to have a giggle and a joke with you, and made my husband feel so much at ease about some pretty embarrassing aspects of his condition too.

The ward ran like a tightly oiled machine, everyone was where they should be, the nurses station was accessible and you could approach them with any query or concern at any time without feeling like a time waster.

The meals were also run very well, my husband was given three choices of main, and three choices of desert, it was almost like a hotel service!

Due to the distance we had to travel each day, ward staff wavered the fixed visiting times to allow us to spend adequate time with him.

All in all this is a big thank you to all of those dedicated staff for what they did for my husband, and even though he is still suffering with Cauda Equina, which is a lifelong disability, his experience in the hospital was not a bad one and I feel this aided his recovery from the surgery very much so.

THANK YOU to ALL the staff on the QMC Spinal Care Unit.

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Response from Nottingham University Hospitals Trust

Thank you for sharing such lovely feedback regarding your husband’s care. We’re pleased to hear that you and your husband felt you were kept well-informed and involved throughout his care and treatment.

It’s great to hear that you felt the unit worked efficiently and was well-organised. I will pass on your kind words to my colleagues on the Spinal Care Unit.

Amanda Richardson - Ward D8 Deputy Manager

Update posted by Cornflake Girl (the patient)

Thank you for your reply Amanda. It was a very scary time for him but staff on Ward 8 made him feel not only physically comfortable, but helped him emotionally with it too. It was made so much better by the fact my husband had his own room, because he is the kind of person who really needs quiet and privacy during such a stressful time.

He told me when staff made him get up and walk, they helped him through the pain and he even managed two flights of small stairs, because he said he needed to as they were the amount of stairs we have at home, and staff fully understood this and helped him with this daunting task.

When he first came home I did everything for him, I bathed him, changed his dressings, dressed him, the lot. Not one bit of it did I feel any selfish motives, I was there for him and he is eternally grateful of that. I married him and I said 'in sickness and in health' and I feel I honor that each day through this painful condition.

His recovery was a slow one, be started back at work two months after the op once and his doctors said he was ok, they signed him back on. He is still in his job, still earning and still managing his condition, we have good days and bad days, just like doctors on ward 8 said we would. He still has 'flare ups' of pain, but we are managing his pain with painkillers prescribed by his GP. His GP is another one who has done nothing but care about my husband all through this, it was him who diagnosed the disc problem before we even got to hospital with just his bare hands in his office. He continues to provide my husband with spot on care.

In our case, we are very grateful for the NHS being there when we needed them, if we were in America, this wonderful treatment would have cost us thousands. The work the NHS does for people such as my husband has been unrecognized for so long, and this government doesn't seem to care. The NHS is something our country can be proud of, free medical care from GP services to spinal surgery, free at the point of need.

My sister is a newly qualified nurse working in the Royal Derby Hospital, so nursing is very close to all of our hearts in our family.

I am backing you NHS nurses and doctors 100%, a message to this government, don't mess with our NHS!