Most countries that have what Canada calls “Socialised Medicine” have issues, and the NHS in the UK is no exception. I have had the wonderful opportunity this past weekend dealing with the NHS in the Hampshire area and there have been some great pluses and some huge minuses.
I finally saw my GP this past Friday. I had printed out some of the notes from the Sunnybrook MyChart website – my labs, a couple radiology reports, progress notes and post-operative notes. The GP was thankful for the notes as they are something the GP practice can work with. I got my script for my catheter supplies, so huzzah! The visit with the GP was great, smooth and I got what I needed.
Then this weekend I had a gall bladder attack. Was taken to Southampton General Hospital and the A&E Department was great. I was triaged relatively quickly, within 15-20 minutes and then take back to the Majors area of A&E. Saw a doctor within an hour and got some liquid morphine to swallow (tastes like Canadian cough syrup, rather nummy). In Canada I would have an ultrasound, had some blood drawn and would have waited in A&E for the blood results while hopped up on pain meds. The ultrasound would be done relatively quickly, as the ER department has its own dedicated ultrasound unit. I would not have been admitted over a gall bladder attack which did not present as an infection (I had no fever).
I got admitted. Great. Took them over 24hrs to get an ultrasound. I wasn’t allowed to eat, I could handle that. But they didn’t put in an IV so I wasn’t even getting any dextrose or whatnot. The doctors who showed up in the early morning refused to acknowledge my existence, chatting over me. They were a little taken aback when I said nothing can be done (surgically) until I give my written consent – they can babble all they want, but they need to include me in these discussions.
I had the ultrasound and was ready to discharge myself as the twits were talking about keeping me in for another day. They confirmed no infection, the ultrasound showed that there are stones but none are clogging the ducts at the moment so obviously I passed one as the ducts look inflamed but no infection. I wasn’t running a fever, my pain was gone. Why keep me in? The Acute Care Doctors showed up and I refused to stay in for another day, saying that I am well enough and I would prefer dealing with them in an office environment.
Took over 2hrs to discharge me. Maybe there is something special about NHS surgeons? But there was no discussion when writing up a script for pain meds if I could tolerate what was being prescribed. No discussion of post-hospital care and whatnot.
While in hospital I shared a room with 3 other ladies. One of them had come in a week prior complaining of intense pain in her lower right quadrant – where the appendix is. They did an ultrasound (took them a day) and the scan was inconclusive so they tried to send her come with some pain meds. Thankfully she refused to go home and it took them another 2 days to get a CT scan done. In the meanwhile her appendix burst and now they cannot operate until the infection is cleared up from the burst appendix – which was the hospital’s fault. Reading up on the comments on the NHS website for this hospital this isn’t the first time they have fucked up.
I did notice from two of the fellow inmates that they were very deferential towards the doctors. Oh yes doctor. Oh no doctor. Whatever you say doctor. My eyes bugged out. Doctors are great, they perform great feats. But their primary responsibility is to take care of the populace, not to act like little demi-gods, barely making eye contact with the patients and acting rather patrionising towards the patients. The only one who shared my attitude was the lady with the burst appendix – she was pissed that the doctors screwed up her health like this. A burst appendix is dangerous, and can be deadly, and they did that to her.
All of this has made me release that I need to setup a Medical Power of Attorney. I have decided on who, my partner Munkie and my good friend Madam R. I refuse to put Munkie’s dad down on the form. Every time we have a conversation he seems to act as if he knows better how to deal with my medical situation than I do – even though I’ve been dealing with it for over 40yrs. The last straw for me was him referring to my jingoist attitude towards the state of chaos at the hospital. He’s a nice enough fellow, but I don’t trust my medical survival on his opinions.