"Lack of communication with a patient and his mum"

About: Queen's Medical Centre / General surgery

(as a parent/guardian),

My son aged 19 was admitted to QMC in Nottingham with suspected appendicitis. He was sent by his GP on Friday morning and by Friday afternoon was in surgery.

I live in London (my son is a student) and I came up to the hospital in the afternoon. Nurses were friendly and kind but my son was already in surgery when I arrived and they seemed to have little idea of where he was or when he would return to the ward.

I went and had coffee as suggested for an hour, and when I came back they thought he should have been back but he wasn't. They suggested I go away again but as that would have meant they couldn't contact me I chose to sit outside the ward and wait. There seemed to be no understanding that I might be worried because he hadn't come back from theatre and no-one could tell me whether he had indeed had his appendix out.

When he came back, the nurse who brought him was rushed, and told us to ask for info from the ward staff. We asked several times what they had found and no-one could or would tell us. We never saw a doctor and the next day, my son was discharged. We assume he no longer has an appendix!

No-one asked who I was, no-one introduced themselves or gave their name. A little more communication would have gone a long way to reassuring myself and my son who was somewhat shocked to find himself in surgery on a Friday night!

People weren't unkind but they didn't always seem that rushed, it just didn't occur to them to offer information. 2 minutes to explain to us what had happened and what the procedure had been would have been all it needed, and it is disappointing that something so simple and human should have been missing.

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Response from Nottingham University Hospitals Trust

It appears on this occasion our poor communication let us down and caused you unnecessary anxiety for which we apologise.

If you would like to discuss with us further please do contact me directly on 0115 924 9924 ext 61761 or via email at Laura.Griffiths2@nuh.nhs.uk. We learn when we don’t get things right to ensure future patients and their families have a better experience in our care.

Laura Griffiths, Clinical lead for Digestive Diseases and Thoracics

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