Letter to Patients Liason 15 August 2011

Dear Sharon,
I would like to thank you and your staff for the letter of reply that you sent. My father in law has spent some time in Ward 14 and then Ward 25 and both myself and my wife feel that the care and attention given to him has been outstanding and there is a noticeable improvement in the hospital since my time there last year.

I also must add that the positive way that you have approached my comments and the action plan that has been compiled are first rate. Perhaps a little late for me but will be of benefit to patients in years to come.

This leaves one outstanding point that has been giving me trouble for the last year since my stroke. I need an answer to get my peace of mind and I need to be able to accept what has happened to me . That is: Having read all the documents a few points are apparent. I was seen by Dr Chadha and his stroke team at lunchtime on Friday and he concluded that I was starting a new stroke on the other side of my brain and should be moved onto the Acute stroke Unit for treatment.
Some 6 hours later when I arrived on the Acute stroke Unit the staff nurse was correct when she told my wife that she had no idea as to my condition as she did not have my notes, how could she have known my condition?
When I asked for medical assistance a little time later, when the stroke was really taking grip, I was told by the same nurse that all the doctors had gone home. Why should she lie? When I asked again for assistance the second time, she knew that there was none available and told me so. It must have been hard on her as she would have spent many years training to become fully qualified to do her job on this specialist ward just to be abandoned by the system.
I understand how she must have felt, unable to give any assistance to a person, that had been dumped on one of her beds, at the start of the weekend with no form of information available. When it was time to finish her shift she went home and gave me not another thought, after all, this is what all the other medical staff had done and why shouldn’t she?

On the Monday morning I was seen by a doctor at 5 30 Am when the medical staff returned from their weekend off and then by Dr Chadha when he did his rounds later that morning. He did manage to realise I had indeed had a new stroke as the whole or right hand side was paralysed. After all he is a specialist in this field and he can tell these things. I believed that having seen the government campaign, FAST, that time is of an essence when dealing with stroke victims.
There is a risk of a bleed on the brain that is detectable with a scan and according to my doctor; clot busting agents can be administered to aid recovery. It is also advantageous to monitor the victim as a stroke can be lethal complaint. However his would necessitate staff being aware of the patient’s condition and suitably qualified staff being on the premises. I always have considered that illness was a 24/7 sort of thing but to your hospital it is strictly a 9-5 Monday to Friday business with weekends off.

This is the only life I have, there are no re-runs, no second chances, and what has happened to me will last me for the rest of my life. I appreciate that I am only an annoying statistic and statistically well within acceptable limits but something has cataclysmically gone wrong.

It is just that I fell horribly let down by your hospital system that is considered to be ‘the best in the world’. Had I been laid in a ditch somewhere, I would have received the same level of medical excellence…..None. At least I would have understood why I was there and why I was totally alone and unaided.

Having this stroke meant to me that one day I was doing well with a full life in front of me and the next I not even half a man. Every day is a struggle. Believe me… And I need an answer.

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