As the issue of I want great care heats up the various medical bloggers I thought it time to relate some of my experiences of 'great care'
Including but not limited to;
Being screamed at by a surgeon in front of a ward full of people that I did not and had never had anything wrong with me and should never have been 'given' any surgery (I suppose I can give him credit for that part even if he was somewhat mistaken about the nothing wrong part) It was followed up with his promise to make sure no other doctor in the hospital treated me and assurances he would be urgently referring me to 'the psychologists'. I know the NHS can be a bit slow on occasion, but I feel it's safe to say 5+ years on that referral was never made. PAL's advice? Well, you see that's how men speak to women in his (European) country of origin and so you'll just have to put up with it.
The GP who, after telling me I was somatising changed his opinion to tell me I just made it all up because I liked the attention. Contrary to seemingly popular medical opinion the two are not the same. Despite claiming he would be happy to be proven wrong, his response to my initial diagnosis of EDS by an internationally respected professor of rheumatology was 'we'll see about that'. Well, I suppose it is difficult when you've told the patient they definitely, do not, under any circumstances have that condition or any other related one as they have nothing wrong with them.
The paediatrician who, when I was 14 deemed it appropriate to suggest that I should lose weight if I wanted to appear taller. I've never weighed more than 50kg.
The GP who after I was diagnosed (at the age of 28 and severely disabled) commented that they 'were not surprised, and didn't I always say you had some sort of congenital laxity issue', following it up with 'so, is it better to be physically ill than mad then?'
Then there was the paediatrician who laughed in my face and told me not to be so ridiculous when I asked if I could have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Oh the irony.
The consultant who insisted I must never get pregnant because there was such a high probability I would die. Horribly. Good job I checked and pushed for clarity on that one as it turned out his claim to know all about EDS via the sister of someone way back at medical school (oh, you know her too?) turned out to be knowing so much he didn't know there were different types. Or that the vascular type of EDS is the only type limiting life. Or in fact the only type to potentially cause the kind of complications he vociferously insisted I would experience during pregnancy. Sterilisation anyone?
His listening skills were tip top too. I said surgery wasn't an option...so he booked me in anyway...and took the time to write explaining it wasn't surgery, it was just a procedure. Funnily enough I wasn't fooled. (the surgery/procedure was non essential and the reason I'd refused was because people with EDS tend to have such disappointing surgical outcomes)
The A&E doctor who suggested I should sit on the sofa surrounded by bubble wrap, watch tv and never move so as not to be injured. They weren't being sarcastic either. Or witty.
Oh, and my personal favourite. The doctor, who upon hearing my boyfriend was a new house officer suggested 'he come down this end to get a proper look' y'know, as he wouldn't have had the chance to 'see one of these' yet. Trust me on this, they are not words any woman wants to hear when her legs are in stirrups. I really should've thrown the doctor out of the room at that point and not my boyfriend, after all, he was only following the advice of a senior colleague.
My conclusion? Communication skills, or more importantly the lack of are the most significant factor causing upset between patients and doctors. It shouldn't take a website to improve the situation, but, given the current lack of appropriate ways to resolve disputes perhaps it is actually a step in the right direction?