Sunday 15 April 2012

48 Hours and the World Changed

48 Hours. Just 48 Hours.

That's how long it takes to turn me into a frightened shell of Sue. How long it takes to take away all sense of who I am, of how the world usually works.

Through 28 years of Crohn's disease accompanied by just about every medical emergency you can think of it's not the symptoms that have hurt me most. Not the tubes, or hunger or endless nights retching in agony. Not the sudden haemorrhages or failed procedures. It's the people.

Nurses are not all angels. Some are cruel bullies. Some exist purely to leave you, writhing in pain when all the doctors have gone home. They leave you with a smile, or a shrug. We see it on the TV. We read reports, we witness the cruel abuse, exposed by a hidden documentary camera. But we don't like to believe it do we? What does it say about us - what does it say about human beings to accept that when we are at our weakest, our most vulnerable, when we literally have to hand our lives over to those charged with caring for us, they might let us down?

I know them, after all this time, from the clip of their footsteps, the way they speak at you but never wait to hear your answer. I know them the minute they come onto the ward. I sense the resulting chill in the atmosphere, the collapse in moral.

For two whole days things went well here on N2 in Addenbrookes hospital - flagship teaching hospital, beacon to the country.

We got a call at 5pm on Thursday night telling me they were going to admit me. They couldn't promise they could hold the bed til the next day, so Dave and I frantically arranged childcare, borrowed the petrol money to get here, dropped everything and drove the two or three hours up the motorway to Cambridge.

It all went well. The nurses and healthcare assistants were lovely. I'm in a private room and they got Dave a mattress so that he could sleep on the floor. My consultant ordered every test known to man in a bid to make me better before I actually die of malnutrition. The food was OK. People brought me cups of tea every hour or two and I have all 157 episodes of West Wing to watch - what more could I want?

Until last night.

My drug chart had been written up wrong by the doctor who admitted me. No big deal, I simply mentioned it to a nurse in the morning. It was for painkillers - the only painkillers I can take, but I'm not here because of pain, so I didn't agitate or fuss. Until some time around lunch yesterday.

They've got me drinking funny little cream shots for calories. They appear to be making my crohn's grumbly. I waited and waited for the chart to be changed, only for a Dr to say...... no. Not my doctor of course, noooo a doctor who doesn't know me at all and hadn't checked my notes!!

He said what now? He said I couldn't have the only painkiller I can take? One I have used responsibly for 29 years? One I take at home if I need it? He couldn't erm, write me up for my own prescription????

By 10 Oclock, I was writhing. Here I am, in a hospital in more pain, suffering more than I would at home. Finally a 12 year-old-netball-team-most-junior-of-junior-doctors came out and wrote me up for a one off dose in amongst many hints and outright suggestions of junkieness. We got past all that about 20 years ago. This, however, does not stop me from having the same old conversations, the same nights in agony while some jobsworth tells me it doesn't matter.

But that's not the worst bit. Noooooo. The worst bit is coming into my room after midnight and threatening Dave with security if he didn't leave!!!! Completely out of the blue!! After no hint at all that he shouldn't be there, after being told it was fine for him to stay (they bought him the bloody mattress to sleep on for God's sake!!) after 2 whole days of no-one batting an eyelid or even suggesting it might be a problem, they throw him out. At 12.30 am in the morning.

He had nowhere to go!! We live, as I've mentioned, three hours away. He'd had a beer with his dinner. He couldn't drive. We had no money for a hotel - I've already mentioned we had to borrow money for petrol just to get here - and I imagine, would not have been able to get one that late at night anyway.

They didn't even ask him to leave!

The first we knew was literally an aggressive Sister threatening him with security!! At midnight!!!

Being Dave, being calm and sensible, he simply got dressed, put his shoes on and went to sleep in the car outside. When he told the sister he would do that she told him "Go home now!! Why can't you go home now!! If you sleep in the car park, security will make you leave. Go home now!"

I just stood there in shock. I couldn't quite believe it.

Human beings would not act this way. Imagine being invited to stay with a friend only to be thrown out in the middle of the night. More terrifyingly, imagine if your friend seemed to see nothing at all unusual or out of the ordinary about ordering you to sleep in your car when you have no-where else to go?

These people are odd. Slightly un-hinged. This is not the way the world usually works, but once you become a patient, it doesn't matter. "They" can do what they like to you. "They" can leave you hungry, if they feel like it. "They" can refuse to get you a drink. "They" can watch you writhe in pain with a shrug or simply not come to answer your pleas at all.

No amount of eloquence or calm reason will help. There is literally nothing you can do to appeal to the better nature of these people. They don't have one.

My consultant has ordered every test known to man. They will take weeks to arrange and schedule. I have no realistic idea at all how I will make myself stay here. I cannot lose myself again. I can't spend weeks watching the PTSD flashbacks whirl through my mind. I can't voluntarily offer myself into the jaws of people who treat the weak and helpless with cruelty.

How? How do I make myself do it? The only answer anyone has ever managed is "You have to, to get better" Well, no. This makes me worse. So very, very much worse. Oh, I might survive. They might, in the end, find out what's wrong with me. But at what cost? You must all know me by now!! I'm not given to
unreasonable outbursts. And I HATE injustice. More than anything else in the world.

I cannot choose to be bullied, choose to stay in a place that frightens me beyond measure with people who act inhumanely.


  1. Love and strength to Dave and you Sue; in the hands of our illnesses, in the hands of these administrators of care, in the hands these terrors, I always joked about planning an escape from hospital; but it is no joke when it holds our hope and the verdict of humanity in their hands.
    Love and humanity - Jonathan

  2. The Tories and Daily Mail will be jumping on this as yet further confirmation of why the NHS needs their reforms. Well done.

    1. And you'd prefer what, exactly? Suffering in silence? That the NHS needs "some" form of reform is clear - just like welfare needed "some" reform. But that doesn't mean the advocation of complete dismantling, which of course if you actually read Sue's blog rather than knee-jerk, you'd know she doesn't back.

      Did you miss the welfare reform campaign and the anti-NHS reforms sue was working on? Didn't get the memo?

    2. What an utterly absurd position to take. Sue had an awful experience, and you condemn her for speaking out about it? This is about sensible open debate. Your desire to paint only this one sided utopian NHS to win the argument, makes you just as bad as then

    3. Absolute nonsense. If you're telling me that the officious and bullying nature of a person in a position of power is meat and drink to the right wing press, then the entire cabinet would be out of work tomorrow.

      The story wouldn't fly because they'd have to source a quote from Sue and I would lay good odds that the phrase "I owe the NHS my life" would appear in it frequently.

      This is an issue of a poor excuse for a human being using two individuals' vulnerabilities to exert pressure on them. It's exemplified when Dave goes - she didn't get to grandstand and so tried to exert her position over the car park? Just how big is the woman's ward?

      Amazingly, you have forgiven the transgressor and forgotten the victim. You do realise that you have just blamed Sue for having the temerity to be ill in a complex fashion that she well understands? You could do the right wing press job - you appear to have the correct colour of eye to do so; jaundiced yellow.

    4. Let the papers get on this story, it is because of the ConDems, their HSCB and all of their cut backs that more of this crap is happening and Doctors and nurses are run off their feet. Living in America for many years, I can tell you that I have suffered the same to the point of Anxiety attacks, tachycardia and now my dread of hospitals. I have also had good experiences, but it's the bad ones that cause the damage. It is wrong and nobody should have to go through such treatment. On that note Frank, I know that this is a blog and Sue welcomes discussion, but under these kind of circumstances if all you can contribute is blame on the vulnerable don't bother!

    5. It only takes 1 person abusing position of power (knowingly or not) to make all else happening to you (inc dying) seem small in comparison.. Is it so strange to contemplate that the people who bring a chill seek out caring jobs e.g. Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Dentists, Receptionists etc?..The list is unending..
      I too have been saved by the NHS.. Sue isn't talking about the NHS, She is talking about individuals.. I could write a book filled with the ways my life has been saved.. I could write a dozen books full of the ways I have been abused within the system..
      I'm sad to say you seem to have the very same attitude as the people we are discussing..
      Sue, you know me & you help me every day.. This is the one post I didn't want to see from you.. Sometimes people think Karma means fate, something you can't change, when really all it means is one step leads to another.. You take your steps & other people take theirs, good or bad.. When someone 'dangerous' takes over your steps or choices for a while you are right there is little to nothing you can do & more than anything else it twists your sense of self & others.. But as you remind me every day it is them taking those steps not you! They will never be able to take you where they are going..
      I know it's not a lot but it's also everything...
      I will catch up on twitter hoping to find this has been resolved at least for this time in hospital..
      I send all best wishes & a reflection of you & Dave back to you.. Nita

    6. Hey frank you know where to stick your thoughts sunshine and maybe you could get one of these so called caring docs to remove em ...

    7. Frank, what makes you think it would be better under a privatised NHS? More likely they'll be even less interested in caring for the patient underclass who aren't paying for their stay and treatment. Where do you think their time and resources will be focused?

    8. The Daily Mail and the media do not need an excuse to attack the sick and disabled. They will do it anyway. You seem to be in the same category as they are - wanting to shut people up.

  3. Disgusting treatment, it is all about control and power over others. I once worked in mental health supported housing and it was clear other staff were only there to try and control and have power over the clients, I told them so and ended up being picked on and feeling I had to leave a job I loved as I was making a difference to peoples lives. My mum was recently seriously ill in hospital, unable to walk and barely move she was left by the nurses to go to the loo in bed and sit in her own excrement - disgusting treatment. It is all so very wrong.

  4. If they make Dave leave, can Cambridge area Spartaci step in personally to act as advocate & make it less unendurable for you?
    Fiona (but can't remember own password on diff laptop)!/fionajnicholson

  5. So sorry you are having such a hard time in hospital.I have been to Addenbrookes & had wonderful treatment

    Love & prayers to you & your family

  6. Oh, Sue, I know exactly the type of people.

    I remember one particular nurse at St Mary's in Manchester. I was admitted at 1am when I went into labour and was put on the ward for observation (Meg, stroopy from the start, had managed to get the cord wrapped round her neck). Opposite me were a young couple (about 18). I heard the nurse telling the soon-to-be dad "You should go home. You can't do any good here". The girl was scared and wanted him to stay, but was told no. Unlike me, who lived 15 mins from the hospital, he had come in from one of the outer boroughs by public transport and had no means of getting home. He went. I listened as the girl's labour progressed and she faced it alone in the middle of the night.

    After Meg was born (several days later, but that's another anecdote!) I had trouble establishing breast feeding and night feeds were especially difficult. I had to call for assistance several times. The same nurse told me one night "oh, just give her some formula - it's not poison, you know!"

    Sleep-deprived, I gave in and gave Meg formula, which she treated with the disdain it deserved, and

    we were mo further forward. Luckily, one the fourth night, this nurse wasn't on nights and her
    replacement was kindness itself. The whole mood on the ward lifted

    The psychological bullying was bad enough - I cannot imagine what it must be like if you're in pain
    as well. I still remember that nurse's name 14 years later, just like the primary school teacher who tormented me for three years. These people leave an emotional scar.

    I know we can't to much to help in a practical sense, but you know we are all out there in the ether supporting you, don't you?

    Take care (and advantage of shift changes!)


    1. Thanks for that lovely comment. It's always such a relief when people say "It's not just you"

      I remind myself that things like this NEVER happen to me in my "normal" life, that it isn't me, that staying calm is the right thing, but you lose yourself. You begin to believe that you're the devious, rude non-person they paint you as. It crushes me. Every bloody time it crushes me, damages me.

      You're SO right about remembering their names. Some are etched into my brain - the nurse who insisted my stroke was a panic attack, the one who left me 6 hours after major surgery with no pain relief, the one I could hear bullying old ladies in the night when she thought no-one would hear, the one who locked an old lady on my ward in a toilet "So that other patients could "get some rest" (We all heard her shouting for help for 2 and a half hours.).....

      I could go on, but "normal" people never really quite believe what you're saying, unwittingly re-inforcing the idea in your mind that it must be "just you".

  7. Oh (((Sue)))
    Yes the majority of hospital staff are good,hardworking souls who honestly try to help you, but then there are the "others" the ones anyone who has worked in the NHS or as we spoonies have,spent an awful lot of time in and out of hospitals, know.The ones as you describe, as soon as they set foot on the ward the mood darkens and the day shift can't get off the ward fast enough and you know you are in for a rough night.
    Why these harridans can't be given their marching orders is beyond me, everyone know exactly who they are.
    Urgh! I could go on but it's threatening to make my already annoyng headache worse!
    Hope things get better for you Sue .

  8. I am glad you used the word bullying - but so sad that you have been put in this position.
    I have had some lovely care, but a few years back I was in hospital for 10 days with raging temeprature and 2 infections. One of the night staff nurses made life hell for everyone. She didn;t listen, she managed to hurt everyone with her injections, she even treated me wrongly by covering me with blankets when I was shivering - the nurse the next morning was horrified - I was now more ill. Also the nights she was on were so noisy, the same staff who were quiet other nights, were noisy and talking and laughing under her supervision.
    Oh yes and trying to get your normal pain relief drug can be like getting blood out of a stone.

    It felt like bullying and abandonment. What gets done? Nothing, not even when something was done wrong. And isn't it awful when some nurses are amazing we have to talk of the bad one and maybe make them all feel defensive.

    I hope that something changes and not only do they help you feel better but that they make you feel safe.

  9. Why don't you just submit a complaint if it's that dreadful?

    1. That only works (given value of 'works') when you're out of the hospital in question. Complain when you're in hospital for an extended treatment and then you REALLY get the ward-nasties on your case. Sue has to be in for a fair while, and already has panic issues so asking her to be confrontational when she's already ill and then deal with the fall out of THAT is asking a bit too much. However some folks have already had a word on this and hopefully that will result in a quiet change and no further abuse.

    2. Firstly when you're that ill it can be too much energy to complain. Trust me, I've been there.

      Secondly it takes time for the complaint to go through (a couple of weeks) during which the staff know you've complained (you have to ask one of the for the complaint form and a member of the admin team has to visit you on the ward!). So not only is nothing going to change, but you are at the mercy of people who are not very happy with you.

      Thirdly the complaint rarely makes an actual difference. An apology is often forthcoming but that is about it.

      All I can say is that you have obviously never experienced this sort of situation. There is no easy answer and no easy way out.

    3. Frank are you the night sister's husband then?

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  11. Complain. Both of you. Now. To the Chief Exec. To the Papers. To every member of staff in the hospital. Send them a copy of this blog. Mention names. Tell your consultant that you can't go through with the tests under these conditions and insist that the staff you have to deal with are changed. Only if you kick up fuss at every level will things improve - not only for you but for all users of this hospital. And know you have the love of the blogosphere to support you both xxx

  12. And take a picture of her, and post it (with her name) online. I always wonder why people in the ME community don't name the names of people who abused ME patients, told them they were mentally ill/faking etc and made their health a whole lot worse (Lynn Gilderdale being a famous example). Many of them are still practising.

  13. I wonder if they think you're handing drugs over to David. That's boggling but I suppose they might. Me being the bitch I am, I'd be asking politely to take a picture/record the conversation on my phone....but I know when you're in a panic one isn't able to make those kinds of decisions. I didn't when I had my first serious hospitalisation and it is shocking to see this sort of thing happen, but I've read enough nursing blogs to see that sadly some folks really need to just find a new line of work as their empathy has gone.

  14. Sue I am so sorry you have had this to contend with on top of everything is. In many ways it would be better if it WAS "just you". Unfortunately it isn't. In which case I can tell you that I think all too many of us understand the upset but also the fear and frustration. It isn't like we can just walk out of the situation.

    As for complaints, those are all very well but they don't solve the problem when it is happening and frequently only lead to a bland slap on the wrist even in the most extreme cases.

    I dread going to hospital. I remember only 2 inpatient stays with "pleasure" and the reason is that "nothing bad happened".
    My experiences include:

    Being released from A&E in a nightie at 3AM with no slippers, no money and no wheelchair.

    My friend being shouted at and thrown off the premises when I was taken up to the ward at 2am, having faithfully stayed with me since lunchtime when I was taken into hospital and helped carried my bags up for the porters.

    Being left naked on a mixed ward with no bedclothes and curtains open so I could be "kept an eye on" in case of seizures and waking up to find an old man in the bed opposite watching me and performing certain sexual acts (strong complaint coming on that one but only slap on the wrist as it was apparently "in my best interests")

    Pleading with staff to check that I was receiving my potassium supplements, repeatedly told "potassium is in your drip, dear" until eventually neurological symptoms (reversible) set in. They had neglected to see that I needed strong supplementation and wouldn't listen to me and my relatives telling them. (again, strong complaint letter but no action taken)

    Being left with buzzer going for 1 hour during digestive issues. I leave that to your imagination. I wasn't the only one as on that occasion all staff had been called to a meeting during work hours. However management denied it and the poor nurses got the blame. I couldn't prove the meeting had taken place.

    Being treated like a pariah and left on the floor every time I had a seizure after one nurse put around that I was faking because "her brother is epileptic and it doesn't look anything like this".

    I could go on. Unfortunately nearly every visit yields more stories. On the other hand I would like to add that every visit also yields stories of kindness. The stories of the nurses who can't do enough for you.
    The cup of water given at exactly the right moment.
    Your hand taken and held when the pain seems just too much.
    The few minutes taken even when they are rushed off their feet just to make sure you are ok and have a few words which make you feel human, not just an illness.
    The search for that elusive extra pillow to help ease your neckache.
    Bringing in and lending you a CD of a singer you happened to have mentioned you liked.
    Becoming your personal hero and badgering an annoying doctor until he condescends to come and prescribe you those painkillers.
    Those words of comfort or the smile which make you feel that maybe things will be ok after all.

    A bit like in school where one single naughty pupil can disrupt a whole lesson, a bad nurse or doctor or a bad order from management can turn your time in hospital into a nightmare. But the good nurses are out there too and I don't want to forget them either.

  15. I know nurses etc are overworked (ok just thinking about this is making my head go swimmy again GRR at illness) but they should have humanity after all is this not the job they wanted to work in?

    I remember with my first hernia - I begged for the morphine for 4hrs before I got it - After they thought hernia2 back I was in same bed in same ward and I could see my name in same spot on the whiteboard - I totally freaked that the first time was replaying itself....

    My mother went to hosp recently and they would not take her to the toilet, she can only walk a small way as in in wheelchair mostly, in the end she managed to grab her drip stand and walk to the toilet and the nurses had a go at her and she just said - LEAVE ME HERE AND YOU CAN CLEAN UP THE MESS - And then they left her alone - FCOL why do they do this to people - We are humans FCOL

    I fear Hospitals more than I fear the horrible people out of doors who give me dirty looks and who have kicked my walking stick out from under me. Because Hospitals feels like prisons, where the gestapo holds my existence in their hand and no words I say like 'Owwwww stop' make a blind bit of difference.

    I hope you can sort this out Sue, and that you are home again soon <3

  16. The nice caring nurses are as terrified of the nasty bullying ones as the patients. But at the end of their shift they can go home and say it's not their responsibility to speak out. Whistleblowers have a terrible time in the NHS, even doctors who blow the whistle. The system protects their own, closes ranks.
    I was physically assaulted by a member of staff in an outpatients dept. I complained to the Health Board through the proper complaints prrocedure. Everyone who was in the dept that day covered up for him (maybe through 'loyalty' - misguided, or threat of job loss if they spoke out, but I think that's the 'unwritten rule - you don't rock the boat)
    I was made to feel like a malicious trouble-maker for complaining. The man who hurt me is still in his job.
    Thanks Sue for being brave enough to speak openly about this subject, especially when you're feeling ill - when we're least likely to feel up to speaking out. The bullies know that.
    I know we're all supposed to love the NHS, indeed, I have been campaigning to save it. I believe in it. But there are a number of sadistic bullies who work there too.
    Get home asap Sue, and blogosphere is watching out for you xx

  17. Sue, I've been there, got the T-Shirt. At some of my most vulnerable moments in life, nurses and doctors have made things ten times worse. I too got PTSD. Horrendous.

    There are some very, very cruel individuals working in healthcare and I do feel now that it is crucial to report and complain about every one. Not that you probably have the energy right now.

  18. COMPLAIN! NOW! And - sweetie as he sounds - Dave is going to have to take the lead on this. However strong and bolshie you are (and when you're ill you're not) you must have an advocate - just as you would in a court, tribunal, etc. I learnt many, many years ago that you can argue someone else's case brilliantly, but when it comes to your own....
    Demand to see your consultant now and get right drugs chart written up, demand to see head of nursing, etc, etc, you know what to do, just get Dave to do the shouting for you...
    love and best wishes for getting better

    1. Sue, so sorry that this is happening to you, this has happened to me living in the US. Joan above is right, Dave needs to raise hell and if that means a threat of calling in your Solicitor and the media, then so be it! You are not alone and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I'm in the NW of the country or would be more than happy to give Dave a place to stay. x

    2. Hi Sue

      What an awful ordeal, in the one place you have a right to be treated with dignity and respect. I worked as an auxilary for 10 years and had the misfortune to work under such a nurse. She was power mad, I think she felt she knew more than the doctors. She would be on at me all shift telling me I was slow and no good (when it took her 1.5 hours to set up a blood transfusion. She would bully patients she thought she could get away with, in the end the ward sister gave her a glowing reference when she applied for another job and got rid of her. I know what u mean about the whole atmosphere changing on the ward when a certain staff members come on duty. Love to u and your family, I know it takes energy but you should send a copy of this to your local health board and clinical site managers are usually in duty 24 hours a day in most trusts and you can always refuse to be treated by an individual if you feel violated or disrespected I know its not much that hasn't been said already but you shouldn't let this lie xxxxxxxxxxxxx

  19. Sue, and anyone wanting to feed back anonymously to NHS - have you seen

    Comments get fed back directly to the local managers - and they do make changes. Like all these things - the more people who do it, the better it works.

    You can also use it for praise too!

  20. oh Sue I'm so sorry. We've been therenwith celyn. Nurses hurting her, threatening us with munchausens diagnosis. Leaving her in her urine. A little tiny quadriplegic girls. And they hate it because I fight back.
    Hugs from here, wishing you strength and decent staff today

  21. I am so sorry. I hope things improve and you get some extra support.

    I've had some great experiences and some terrible ones too. We are so dependent on good systems and people doing the job because they actually care about us.

    And I agree about complaints - the backlash once they know is scary, so wait until you are free.

  22. As usual I don't have any of the right words to say. I, too, have seen both sides of hospitals - the dedication to duty that saved my life and the casual unkindness and even cruelty of some individuals.

    I wish that I could say something that would help but all I have to offer is my sympathy, my good wishes and a virtual hug. Get well soon, Sue. x

  23. sorry for your pain and sorrow sue,
    i guess addenbrooks will be on the map now

  24. I have seen some of this first hand, the nurses who talk in loud voices all night long on the ward. The nurse who keeps you an extra hour after being told you can be discharged, just because you disagreed with them. The nurse who ignores a patient because the discussion of the hen night she just went on is more important. The nurse who takes your crutches off you, tells you you have to walk to the theatre, and then gets mad when you fall on her. The nurse who wants you to lie flat on your back regardless of the pain, so she doesn't have to try and turn you when you're anaesthetised.

    The doctor who ignores you when you tell them that co-codamol doesn't work. The doctor who skips you on rounds, because you are a male on a female ward, and should be seen by the doctor responsible for the all male ward. The doctor who walks in, looks at your chart and walks out again without speaking to you, then stops the pain killers that work.

  25. Sue.

    We're with you and feel for you, though can't wave a wand to make inhuman, bullies and sadists disappear.

    Yes the NHS needs reform, along with all caring professions. The reform that's needed is to get rid of people who have no business working with other peoples' lives, who don't actually *CARE*.

    I hope your blog will bring attention to you and Dave TODAY and a doctor or nurse who has compassion, professionalism and pride in their work comes on duty to sort it out.

  26. I am due for major surgery at 8am on Tuesday morning, fortunately so far have had no issues with this hospital so hope that continues, I am scared anyway without threats like this against me.

    I actually left General Nursing because of the lack of care of the patient, so I know how bad it can get. I hope that you can put in a complaint which will be taken notice of ..

    Best of luck hun, hope it all improves very soon xxxxx

  27. Sue, Have you thought of contacting Patient Advice & Liaison Service at the hospital. They are open today (Sunday) between 1pm and 4pm.

    Tel: 01223 216 756

    From bedside Hospedia: *801

    I'm in Cambridge - if there is anything at all I can do for you and your husband, please let me know.

  28. My heart goes out to you Sue. Thank you so much for sharing all this, its very hard to do and no you are not on your own their. Ive had my share of appaling treatment too.

  29. I'm so so sorry to hear you had to endure such awful treatment. I wanted to tell you my story (briefly) so you know you are in no way alone.

    My sister was in car accident 6 years ago, an ambulance hit her. The ambulance was overtaking 8 cars and a tractor at the time on a bend. My sister suffered very severe brain damage and 2 years after the accident she died from her injuries. She was in a coma for the best part of 2 years, had countless complications and her treatment varied from the utterly disgusting (we were sure she was being bullied at times but had no way of proving it) to the very good. The best care she received was not at a hospital but at a care home 18 months after the accident. She had countless problems, she got shifted from hospital to care home to hospital to care home. She received the worst treatment at Colchester General where she contracted MRSA. She also had massive problems as a result of her head injury but despite us raising our concerns with the medical staff at Colchester General, we were ignored until she ended up being rushed to Romford hospital when her condition got critical. This happened more than once, the staff would not listen to us at all and they knew less than we did about her condition. We felt utterly powerless, all we could do was watch her suffer.

    After the accident the police told us we couldn't prosecute because ambulance drivers are allowed to drive like that. We had a struggle to get the case into court and the best we could do was get the case into a civil court in a bid to get the ambulance driver to admit liability. To cut an incredibly long story short, we failed, and my late-sister was humiliated in court. The judge ruled that she take 100 liability for the accident (how? when he was overtaking 8 cars and a tractor on a blind bend? how?) and the ambulance driver got paid for 5 years loss of earnings.

    Most of my friends and all my family have been through this with us from the outset and can hardly believe the injustice, but when I try telling others just how bad the NHS was to her, in every way, they look at me as though I'm some crazy conspiracy theorist, as though the police, NHS and ambulance service couldn't possibly be so corrupt.

    In short, I understand.

  30. As one who has been bullied, and I've got a bad name standing up for vulnerable old people in AnE I sympathise. Hospitals too readily 'call security' when patients disagree. They want a quiet life. There has been a case this week of a man murdered by police who hospital staff called when he tried to leave in a confused state. I would get out of there fast.

  31. Sue, having many times been in hospital and many operations I know exactly what you mean.
    My last experience was waking up from a quite involved foot operation and in pain the male nurse said "a big bloke like you should be able to handle some pain" my reply sill under anaesthetic was "F**K OFF" that didn't go down well.
    Some time later when more awake I appoligised for my out burst but the P***K was still up his own A**E and not willing to accept my aplogy with one of his own..

  32. Sue, some NHS staff are heaven sent and others well come from somewhere else? in my experience asking to go for a pee or put back into bed is too much of a chore.on one occasion I feel it was one nurse who made the difference to my mum's care and she got fully checked and then was offered reablement locally backed up by 6 weeks of home visits.But alas lack of continuity now is leading to degeneration again. All that NHS and reform needs is changes for the better not worse and I'm sure all staff would agree.
    All of what you write has resonance with me, however the adrenalin of fear is way too much to bare.don't feel angry or sad these things need highlighting
    Don' t forget what Beavan said, and Clare Raynor.
    Stick you head in the pillow and have a good cry, that's what I've done in past. remember tomorrow's another day and yea come across men like Dave who have not thrown a punch but would have on a building site. Yep I ve seen the Nurse going home 2 hrs late holding tears back and yes come across em that can,t read a weight chart and tell you it s muscle that has put weight on drrrr when you have a muscle wasting disease?
    Mainly Sue try get better and persist that was the advice of my consultant.
    This blog is important to demonstrate how much we need the NHS at point of use all that needs to happen is better organisation so patients and staff are not confused, better bedside manner needs to be taught too but this will naturally happen when a correct system is in place. Love to you all xx

  33. This makes me so angry!

    I know people say that you should complain, but it's not that easy especially when you're exhausted and ill; it's following it through to the end that is extremely difficult.

    Someone above asked why ME patients never name their abusers. For me it was a simple matter; I was basically scared to do so. I looked for advice on the internet and came across many examples of people who had made formal complaints, and their 'reputation' followed them afterwards whenever they needed further medical help. I was also scared that consultants would report back to my bullying G.P., and it would be their word against mine. At the time I felt that I had no one to turn to, and I certainly did not have any other support to help me at home, living alone.

    I was told again and again by friends and on forums to make a formal complaint. I wished I had because no one should have to go through what I did, but I know that the emphasis would have been to make me look as if I am mentally unbalanced. Ironically, I was, but because of their treatment. It would have pushed me over the edge.

    And, yes, I do remember all of the kind medics who have dealt with me, but the trauma of the bad experiences stays with you.

    Heart goes out to you Sue. I hope Dave was able to find a street to park in and sleep. Disgraceful treatment.


  34. It'sshocking that you have to put up with this Sue, especially in a place like Addenbrookes!

    I'm so bloody minded I would report them all but that doesn't help when you have to live on that ward for god knows how long.

    I hope they change the staff and Dave gets to stay with you. My thoughts are with you both xxxxxxxx

  35. if Yoy want painkillers.. look after yourself.

  36. So sorry....wish I could help, but you have all my sympathy and good wishes anyway.

  37. Your behaviour was impeccable. I doubt I could have stopped myself from losing my temper, so I'm in awe :) However, I know what it's like to constantly have to fight for stuff and be treated like a hypercondriac [which in itself needs attention anyway!] and/or a nuisance. I remember the young nurse who put nail varnish on my terminally ill Mum, the one that bought her some of the perfume she wore cos Mum said she smelled lovely. I remember the one who screeched at me for pressing the call button and accidentally activating the emergency siren thing, cos an old lady had been on the commode for ages and was crying. The ones who told me I was being overprotective of my daughter before realising that the drip wasn't working!
    I think we can put up with the blank smile of a reasonably efficient nurse/doctor but when they are abusive, unfair or just plain nasty, it hurts very deeply because we need to be nurtured and cared for.
    I'm just hoping that things get better for you.

    Sending posi vibes and hopeful wishes and (((gentle hugs)))
    Nina <3

  38. Fortunately I've never been as ill as that, and usually I have had at least reasonably adequate treatment, but there was one occasion when I was taken into Leeds General Infirmary with a severe asthma attack. I was kept in for several days (had to have the viva for my Ph.D in hospital, but that's another story!) and I kept trying to find out from the ward staff when I could go home. It was follow a pattern of asking in the morning when I would be released - er, discharged - and the staff saying they would find out for me. Then asking again at midday, to discover they'd completely forgotten. Then asking again at about 6 p.m, when of course a different shift had come on, who knew nothing about me......and again the next morning...and so on. At one point I said, rather desperately, 'Look, I don't want to end up being told, you have to go home now because we need the bed'. And I was told this would certainly not happen.Then I was told not to make any arrangements to go home, because I would have to stay in over the weekend.
    Uh....I think you have probably guessed where this is midday on Sunday a doctor marched into the ward and said, 'You have to go home NOW because we need the bed'. SO I said,'I was specifically told NOT to make arrangement to go home, as I would have to stay in over the weekend'. And she replied, 'Well, tough, you have to go home now'.

    Another problem that sometimes occurs is that when you get taken in as an emergency case (which happens to me from time to time when I have asthma attacks), the paramedics are really helpful and do all they can for you, but when you get booted out in the middle of the night....if you haven't got the money for a taxi - well, tough, again!

  39. Sue, we are having battles with this hospital as well. So sympathise big time. Angela & Terence . Http://

  40. So, so sorry - and angry that this is happening. I had some daft doctors trying to discharge me from A&E once and in desperation i called my GP and asked him to speak to the doctor to explain the situation. This worked, but obviously it was only possible as it was within surgery hours. Not sure if your GP would be able and willing to speak to the doctor there? Just an idea, from personal experience!

    Really hope things improve, Sue!!

  41. I'll read the comments when I've posted... For what it's worth, apart from having someone thrown out, I went through the same when I was HDU. Unable even to sit up on my own... ITU and the coma was bad for the PTSD, but HDU staff, (not all, thankfully), especially night staff were a different breed altogether. I thanked god when I was transferred to the main ward and then shortly to a specialist rehab. hopsital... I lied about pain, made myself walk and do things in the worst pain I've ever endured, made myself drink the shots of pink crap that had me retching, all to escape... But the nightmare never ends...

    Hope things get better for you Sue and thank you for having the courage, even in your condition, to let us know what's going on...

  42. I'm so sorry to hear how you're getting on in Addenbrookes - unlike some other commenters, I'm far from surprised. While I personally have been lucky to avoid hospital stays, my mother hasn't.

    She's had so many bad experiences in that hospital that even the thought of being admitted there increases her anxiety and makes her suicidally depressed. Incidents include a morphine drip failing in the night 36hrs after a shoulder replacement, and the nurses just turning the machine off rather than trying to get another line in. I had a frantic phone call in the early hours of the morning, rushed in, asked why she'd had no pain relief, and was told she'd had paracetamol. Frankly that day I bullied them into discharging her, which took 9 hours, and got the GP out that evening to sort out pain relief (which she did, happily). That ward (Orthopaedic - D8) was the worst. There was no nursing 'care' there at all. My grandmother, who was a nurse, visited one day and was so shocked she complained to the sister. Nothing changed.

    There have been other wards/incidents as well, all over the place. Although some places have been better than others, there have been problems everywhere. She's had drug problems - she's on a lot of medication and nobody seems able to /listen/ to her about what she's on, when she takes it, and why, and so of course it doesn't get written up! She had a broken bone in her foot which A&E misdiagnosed (fair enough, I guess, they're not experts) so she was on crutches for two weeks (which exhausted her because of her artificial shoulder...) before the fracture clinic said it needed a cast. Six weeks later they discharged someone with osteoporosis without ever checking the bone was healed. Guess what? Five years later it's still broken, with all the complications that entails.

    Last hospital admission, for a pulmonary embolism, in the autumn, I said to them as soon as she went up to the ward that if she was there more than 24hrs, they would need to call psychiatric liason (she's always suffered from depression, but that and the anxiety have got worse over the last few years as her physical health gets worse and hospitals for her - as for you, Sue - are a trigger). A nurse suggested I write it on the whiteboard above her bed which I did. And I said it again the next day. And again. The day afterwards a doctor claimed nothing had ever been said. I was so angry I couldn't speak.

    I really, really wish I could do something to help. We're in Cambridge; about a 15min car journey from Addenbrookes (traffic willing). But between Mum's health and my own (I have ME, and a newly-diagnosed eye condition), I don't think I'm able to offer /anything/ except moral support and good wishes.

  43. Whatever happens guys please DO NOT contact the hospital!! All of you saying how I should complain have not been an inpatient for over a month.

    You honestly think last night was bad??? Really? You think THAT was what I should get upset about? I think I'll save it for when they actually nearly kill me if it's all the same to you.

    Complaining or God forbid writing anything "Don't you know who she is-y" would make my stay here a living hell.

    Please, don't.

    1. Respect needs to be given to you and understood.the heart of the matter is the right diagnosis and treatment for you and your loved ones.

    2. I hear you Sue. That's why I wouldn't even let my daughter say anything even when she was furious about me being left in my own urine night after night 'cos some idiot had f'ed my cather up!!! I was terrified to sleep 'cos I knew I'd wake up freezing cold and soaking wet... My daughter was sick of me asking if I smelled of pee. I 'got away' in the end but I will never forget what those so called nurses did... Two years down the line and I'm still too scared to say anything about it except to my psychiatrist...

      *huge hugs* to you and yours from me and mine :)

    3. I would never dream of doing that on someone else's account, unless they were someone very close (family, partner, whatever). That said, do think about a quiet word with PALS or something.

      I know that, formally, they aren't allowed to let an ongoing complaint make them treat you worse - but I also know that it doesn't work like that in practice. It's always a gamble. If I didn't think he just didn't care at all, I'd wonder if my neurologist's poor treatment of me is down to siccing PALS on his secretary a few years back.

  44. Sue, you are so right to blog about this. I am so angry to hear about your experience and sad that things have not improved despite all the lip-service paid to patient and carers rights.
    My son would not be alive today if it were not for some great doctors and nurses but, also despite their less compassionate/intelligent colleagues.
    Nowadays I do what I can to keep him out of hospital, but it is a stressful situation.Whenever he goes near a new medical person we have a folder containing all his various diagnosis's and medications and we insist they read it before treating him.It some times works.
    Keep fighting and writing your great blog. I wish I could package up some energy and hope and send it to you, until that's possible I will just have to give you my best wishes that you get well enough to escape as soon as possible.

  45. I feel for you Sue and send many hugs and hope it gets better.

    I have been laid on a gurney - My drip bag on the floor and I had to ask someone walking by to pick it up for me as I was bleeding out - Into the drip bag as they had just balanced it on end of the bed!

    I pray that things will get better through today <3

  46. Dear Sue

    I so feel for you. My daughter also has had some of the same sorts of treatment at Addenbrooke.s. Being told that she was too young to be in that sort of pain. Not being written up for the right medication's, there seemed to an attitude that you had to be screaming in pain before they gave you the prescription meds you needed. Me being told to go home as I could not stay on the ward after she came back from surgery late in the evening. No regard that I was unfit to drive. If I started to raise my voice they would point me to the "do not Abuse the Staff" posters.

    I wish that I could reassure you - if you have good staff on duty things can get better. They sometimes did for my daughter. I know that your husband is there for you - have you thought about bringing your own painkillers in - I used to for my daughter and did not hand them over - I used to think it was more important to make sure my daughter had adequate pain relief rather then the paternalistic attitude that while you are on a hospital ward somehow you can no longer self medicate. Patients do not leave their brains at home when they go into hospital.

    I wish you well and hope things get better very quickly for you.

  47. I think that the way that you are fighting this is will be what gets you through. Keep on blogging, Keep on telling the world how it really is to be ill, sick, disabled, in hospital.

    You are not doing this for any sympathy, that I can see, or for anything to come of it, you seem to be just wanting to share and let it out there.

    Please keep on doing it, its powerful stuff. It will open peoples eyes to what is really going on.


  48. (((Big Gentle Hugs))) Sue - I hope the staff manage to get your meds sorted for you properly and hope all the tests you recquire can be sorted asap as well. Heres hoping your body goes into a fab absorbing nutrition phase so your stay can be as short as possible. xxx

  49. I am disgusted and saddened by all of your experiences and I wish you all every good thing I can. Frank has never been bullied like that which is why he can't understand. I will be following your story on Twitter. Tracey x

  50. Like everyone else who's spent a fair bit of time in hospitals, this all sounds very familiar.

    As I've mentioned to you once before, I grew up in/around Cambridge so Addenbrookes was where I always went as a child when I broke my bones. Luckily I think the worst treatment I got there was the time they left my broken humerus displaced for a whole week until I saw my own consultant. Certainly I experienced far worse during my one and only stay in Colchester General the time I broke my leg at my nan's.

    My dad however was treated appallingly at Addenbrookes. He broke his hip and it was a non-union. For a year he couldn't even stand up but his consultant refused a hip replacement because "he'll still be disabled". This was before the Disability Discrimination Act so it wasn't illegal to say so overtly, it was nothing more than complaint-worthy shoddy medical practice. A complaint led to a new hip a year later.

    I know first hand how difficult it is to muster up the energy to write a complaint when you're unwell. I also know how terrifying it is to complain about the people whose hands you're currently it.

    However, you don't have to expend the energy writing a complaint: You've already done it in this post. And the fear thing has surely already been dealt with by writing about the experience so very publicly cos it's probably going to get back to the ward staff anyway, but without the gravitas of a formal complaint. Simply all you need to do is Email the link to PALS and say that you want it processed as a formal complaint rather than the usual PALS attempts at resolution.

    I looked up Addenbrookes' complaints and it says it's the PALS office that deal with formal complaints in addition to their usual conflict resolution. The details are on this page:

  51. Seems like my experiences in Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral, were not as unusual as I'd hoped.

    The problem, these days, is that nursing, far from being a vocation for those who genuinely care about their fellows, is just one more way of staying off the dole, of no more importance to most of those who enter the profession than a job at the local hairdresser's would be.

    There may be good nurses around but - and I speak as someone who has had close association with the NHS and its hospitals my entire life - they are very few and far between. I've met just one at Arrowe Park in 27 years. Most would make good prison camp guards.

  52. So sorry to hear this Sue. And no, it's definitely not 'just' you, 'though I know it nearly always feels like it at the time.

  53. I think sue you need to transfer to st marks as they are the only hospital in the uk renowned for their courtesy to the patients

    We have a saying once a st marks patient always a st marks patient and over the 35 years i have been a patient of there's they have treated me very well far better then any other hospital i have ever been in by a good margin

    Only the very best of staff work their and any staff member who is not up to a very strict standard is dismissed

    I would say the standard of overall care to be of the highest order as in keeping with not only dealing with people like myself from the bank of england but also the royal family and should always be the first port of call with any bowel problems however small irrespective of what your own GP or hospital has to say

  54. Addenbrooke is a general hospital and in reality no different to any big hospital catering for everything under the sun when in reality the patient doesn't need that

    What they do need is a bowel hospital as that is what they have wrong with them and it would be wise to follow that logic rather than to fit in with a general hospital wherever possible

  55. Poor you and Dave for being humiliated. I can only imagine it will aggravate your PTSD. I hope you get an apology. Sending love to your awesome

  56. Sue, you've moved me to blog. I'm SO angry on your behalf, having been there & gotten several T-Shirts :(
    Here's hoping today's staff are nicer! Hugs to you!

  57. Sue this is bloody unbelievable and we cant let this go on so what can we do to help here.These bullying *****s should not be allowed to continue and it sounds to me that its endemic in that place judging by the comments and yep i can see why you dont want to troops getting on to them but this has to stop so what can we do to help.....could we pay to have you transferred maybe????.What does your gp say....etc etc...just what do we do...

  58. Sadly I am not at all surprised at this. I have seen gross mistreatment of my own Father and have an ongoing complaint against the hospital. They did not give him vital meds for over 48 hours which could have killed him.
    Frank your so naive, my complaint has been going on now for nearly a year.

    But the issue here is Sue who really has had more than most should ever have to take. She needs our help now. Could we do a Spartici calling campaign to the hospital?

    Is anyone able to help them with funds please?

  59. That's awful, I can't believe you got treated like that. On a more important note, I can't work out how to email you to say this but I'm a PhD student living in Cambridge and always have room if you are ever in a similar situation. Is there a way to get email rather than leaving comments?!

  60. Having almost died, along with my baby, during childbirth thanks to midwives who called me stupid and ridiculous when I tried to tell them my baby was being born (like you wouldn't know, right?!) and having just been diagnosed with a serious brain disorder after a mere fourteen years of begging and pleading for help, and one forced psychiatric evaluation, I know this scenario only too well.

    I don't know what to say. If you stand up for yourself you are labelled a difficult patient and all but ignored. If you don't, you are labelled all manner of things - and 'junkie' is one I've once faced but 'mentally ill' and 'delusional' were the ones I heard most often - and all but ignored.

    Sue, hang in there. I will send you hopeful thoughts and all the best wishes that I can muster. I am so sorry that you should have to go through this.

  61. i know those nurses too. I went in for sterilisation. Afternoon nurse was brilliant, but she was leaving the profession thru stress. Night nurse, superiour to the other one and didnt she let everyone know and me. Lectured me on choosing to be sterilised!?!! Next to no support from her or before or aftercare more than the basic.

    I hope everything works out better for you and dave xx

  62. My heart is BREAKING reading this. how can the CARING profession be so CRUEL?

  63. I awas in a hospital bed across from a young turkish woman, she had a catheter in situ and it was causing her pain. She had been there 4 days before i was addmitted. She never complained of her pain nor the foul treatment of nurses wiggling the tubing on full view and telling her that catheters dont hurt and she was being silly. Another one said in full voice, bloody foreigners.
    I told her to tell the doctor how painfull it was and to ask when she would be getting her tests done. So she did.
    She was given a scan, more derogatory comments about nhs money etc. The mood changed quite quickly when she returned.
    It turned out she had ovarian cancer. Her sister flew from Turkey the following day. My parents sat with her till her sister got there. The staff didnt like it but tough. She needed them more than i did at the time. They offered her sister thier spare room for as long as she needed and they both stayed at my mums after discharge untill she was able to travel home. Their family are still in touch many years later and my folks visited them in turkey when on hols for many years.
    she was a student in Leicester uni, many miles from home, scared and ill and vunerable. I would not tollerate the behaviour of the staff, i was not thier most aquiescent patient. I called matty unit myself for them to bring me something to express breast milk when the ward staff ignored me. I told the other nurses that were rough with patients that it was in thier best interest not to carry on with that behaviour if they didnt want to end up in court on assault charges. They must have sighed with relief when i left. I did document everything i had witnessed during the stay. I did compliment the great nursing staff, but equally stressed the poor working practices of one particular ward charge nurse and the effect she had. On the grape vine i heard she was moved, she had been given a warning previously. The rest of the staff were glad to see the back of her.
    I do not go looking for trouble, i cant stand people being taken the mikey, especially when in so much pain.
    I often wondered if my cards would be marked because of my actions,but i never had problems in other departments when i had to visit them.
    I hope you get well enough to go home soon. Best wishes.

    1. That's appalling of the hospital, but very charming re: your parents and it did actually make me smile to think how lovely your family was.

  64. I feel for you Sue. I have had some bad experiences at Addenbrookes Hospital. It is my main hospital due to living not that far from it if I had my way I would go to another one. Hope you get things sorted and can go home soon. Good luck x

    1. Sue, my heart goes out to you. I hope that a compassionate member of staff finds their way to you. I know how a big a difference kindness can make in the most desperate of situations.

  65. Sue,
    From what I can see just about everything has been raised about complaints - for and against - so all I can say is that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Hoping you will recover as quickly and as pain free as it is possible to be under the circumstances. Best wishes, Roger.

  66. I am sorry to hear this tale Sue. I wish you could be referred to the team who care for me, I get none of this. Sure the occasional prat crops up on the ward, but if they don't buck up I refuse to be treated by them. But then I'm on the Gastro patient consultative council and people do tend to listen in that respect...but it is crap that this should be the case. God Bless.

    1. Maybe thats the answer then to be on such a council.Is that possible for sue..

  67. I went in for a smashed knee. The catheter they put in me got inflamed. They ignored my complaints of pain (even though I have a high pain threshshold) This continued for two weeks, with so called 'Nurses' giving me a water bowl in the morning to wash myself and saying "come on now, wash" regardless of the amount of pain I was in, I could not move because of the inflamed catheter. In those days I was weak due to a severe accident. If it was today I would have ripped their throats out. When I think of it, this is what they are doing to the elderly and getting away with it.

  68. I've had similar experiences in Addenbrookes myself, with admissions into A&E not writting down all of my meds. In that case when they did something that could kill me and given I could treat at home just about I discharged myself :/ You have my sympathies, being under other's control who don't care is it's own special form of hell.

    If it would be helpful I think I might be able to offer some help here. I live in Cambridge, I've done a fair bit of advocacy for other people with doctors and nurses. I entirely understand if you feel this would not be helpful - I agree PALS is a bad idea at least until after the fact, I'd hope to be able to persuade people to be a little more sensible. I may also be able to find crash space for Dave. My house is possible but far from ideal as I'm currently unable to reliably get upstairs so sleeping on the sofa which would be the standard place to put him but I think I can find someone who would be willing to let him sleep over. If either of these might be useful, um comment, get in touch (rowan@ the url I've commented with) something and we can talk a bit. I entirely understand if this is not something that you want and you feel you can manage the situation as best it can be but I wanted to make the offer.

  69. Sue,

    Just to repeat our earlier offer that if you / Dave need a local base of support in Cambridge (crash space, food drops, lifts across town, child care, whatever) then please feel totally free to get in touch with us. 24x7. I won't post our phone numbers here(!) but if you follow this reply back it should lead you to an email and you can get on touch, before you need it.

    1. Hi Nick,

      I can't find your email now, could you drop me a quick note at suey2y at gmail dot com?

      Thanks for the offer x

  70. Sue, so angry to hear this.
    It has stirred me as, not surprisingly, I was treated in a similar fashion. Left without pain relief for three days on a trolley bed, finally having a catheter fitted into my collapsing veins, and being woken by a vicious bitch of a nurse swinging on my hand and catheter and taunting me. Then three more days of no pain relief and having to beg for a bag of ice before anyone realised that no pain relief had been prescribed.
    However this was nothing compared to the "attitude", and the treatment of the elderly on the ward.
    "I don't make tea - I have a degree" sums it up I think.

    You are not alone in what is happening Sue, but you are OUR Sue, and we are quite rightly fecking furious and worried for you.

  71. Sue, that is utterly disgusting. What pissess me off is they know they can get away with this because they know poorly people do not have the energy to demand an appointment with the hospital CEO and kick up a major fuss. And once you're feeling a bit more human, you just want out and don't want to waste time complaining. It majorly sucks. :(

  72. I'm a nurse myself. I am very distressed to hear how you have been treated. There are no excuses for poor nursing care, at all, at any point. Is there any chance you can be admitted as a day care patient ? I would ask PALS, Clinical Nurse Manager, Consultant and his SpR, along with the ward sister along to your room for a meeting. I insist you complain, yet at the same time, worry about the consequences for you darling. Stay strong, and I apologise sincerely on behalf of my profession, we ARE NOT all bullies, my job is pure privilege.

  73. This is shocking. When you get well, you should reveal the shocking way your husband was treated to everyone possible.

  74. I'm so sorry these things are happening to you and others, Sue.

  75. These links should help you:


    this is an important read regarding what is compulsory on wrag esa

  77. This kind of behaviour is very human. I'm not surprised.

    Sadism is a common human trait that people act on when they feel the conditions are favourable for it to be expressed; like the perpetrator has power over their victim and the victim is in a vulnerable position and the perpetrator feels they can do it with impunity, or when the target has been sufficiently dehumanised and will therefore not elicit any sympathy from other people.

    For many people their "moral code" consists of one question that they ask themselves either consciously or subconsciously: "can I hurt this person without anybody severely hurting me back in return or making myself look bad in the eyes of others". If the answer is yes they do it if it is no they don't.

    Why do wasps sting people? Because that's what they do.

    1. "behaviour" is not an excuse, nor should it be an apologia. As humans we're also capable of rational thought, unlike wasps, and you do NOT enter a trade where you are responsible for human care and use it for abuses. It needs addressing.

    2. I disagree that what I said is apologia or making excuses for them, I believe we should always fight cruelty and sadism.

  78. As much as I feel for you sue I would like to express to all the other readers that this is just one opinion. I was on N2 as a patient for many months and I had fantastic treatment from all that worked on the ward. Yes I know its terrible and frustrating having to wait for meds which we normally take for granted but hospitals unfortunately have procedures that need to be followed so that there is no giant cock ups. Although N2 is all private rooms and you may feel that you are the only patient and you may feel so very ill I would like to say that N2 has some very poorly patients who have been there for months if not years...if the staff haven't got to you as soon as you ring the buzzer I can assure you there is always a very good reason. The staff are wonderful and caring and the nurse who treated you how she did was obviously following rules from above.

    1. Just following rules from above? At midnight. At the weekend? And why would that be? What was the urgency?


    3. I dont argue that fact but I know from experience that somebody from above can demand something be done no matter what time of day or night and the staff have to do it. Is it fair? Of course not but the people making the decisions are not the ones dealing with the patients or their families. Most of the time nursing staff are play toys for the invisible managers.

    4. Getting orders is one thing, agreed - but attitude isn't part of those orders. Did the superior say "kick him out of the room and be as nasty as you possibly can?" I sincerely doubt it. If he had to leave it could have been done with a lot more empathy and an apology or two wouldn't have gone amiss.

    5. I actually don't believe you.

      Sorry, I'd never usually say that, but I've been coming to N2 (previously C6 and even before that, F6) for 18 years!!

      Do you think I don't know how a ward works? Really? you think I don't know about procedures? you think I'd stamp my feet over one injection being a bit late?

      I have not had one stay in all that time, where actual cruelty didn't happen. Last time I was bullied and sent home haemorrhaging with a UTI. Another time an old lady was locked in the toilet all night to "keep the noise down". Another time I nearly died because they refused to believe I was allergic to morphine.....

      Shall I go on? Now either I'm extraordinarily unlucky or you're actually a nurse on this ward.

      I have never, EVER spoken to a long term patient on this ward that has not been dreadfully scarred by their nursing care. Never.

    6. Oh, and nobody "got orders"

      My hubby had been here for two days, perfectly fine, not even a mention he shouldn't be there. It was the nurse on shift who got all excited about it. It was her that asked him to leave, her that reported it to a manager and her that got him thrown out. At midnight.

      Anyone with half an ounce of compassion would have asked him to leave in the morning - and you know it.

    7. If your husband is ever treated like that again I will be able to help him. I contacted you previously about staying at mine 10 or so miles away, but I've just been offered an adapted property within cambridge (no more than 2 miles from addenbrookes) and my offer of couch surfing still stands. I won't be in until at least the end of may so considering we are hoping you are out in two or so weeks it won't be any use on this in-patient stay but for future reference. Ema (fp_em) x

  79. When you have been sick for decades I think many of us already have experienced good treatment however there is the other side of the coin that is not spoken about and hushed. I think turfing somebody out at midnight without warning is worth blogging. I don't have a site but if I did it would read pretty much like Sue's over the decades.
    Following rules from above may have been part of problem here but I think sensitivity to matter needs complete and utter respect and the powers that be need to understand and treat people like they would like to be treated themselves? Think that's the request really.....

  80. I'm so sorry about your predicament Sue. This sent chills up and down my spine. It made me really concerned as to the reasons she wanted Dave gone. I don't know if I should say this but the first thought that came into my head was that they did not want someone who would be classed as a reliable witness witnessing their mistreatment. It made me very very scared for you. I really hope you are in a better situation now. I'm praying for you.

    1. If I was even in that hospital again I would insist on having a relative with me all the time.

  81. Same Hospital. Same Treatment. relative thrown out in middle of night. Notekeeping a nightmare. Left hand not knowing what right hand was doing. You are not the first person to receive this treatment. Oh and make sure you look into your notes - make sure they are correct and that there's nothing you don't agree with. x

  82. Oh god, truly horrific. Last year, my husband was in hospital for four days with pneumonia. He got pumped full of all kinds of drugs. One of the nurses was completely indifferent to pain. She screwed up one of his blood draws, leaving blood gushing onto the floor mixed with anti-biotics. On top of that she then blamed him for that saying something like "I told you to give me a better vein!". Well, he was only half conscious from all the drugs. Horrific. Many nurses are great, but NOT all of them.

    1. farmland as an investment......what sort of name is that...dont you bloody read WHAT is happening to both sue and other people on this blog.....WTF...

  83. Sue, Dave,
    You sound like good people to me, don't lose that goodness, your humanity, because of sick sad people who needs some sharp lessons in life. If you can find the energy don't leave that sort of behaviour rest. Make written complaints, e-mails etc. to all possible sources. These people don't deserve their jobs.

    Stay strong, the good people are rooting for you.

  84. Hi Sue

    I'm shocked and saddened to hear of your treatment at Addenbrookes where I'm treated for various rare conditions. I've always found the treatment I have been given by the staff dealing with me to be excellent. they have also been brilliant with my Dads health probs. I know how hard it can be to complain but I think some one needs to report the member of staff for their bullying If not now but when you leave.

    If Dave does need a place to stay there is the Frank Lee centre on site with a number of rooms you can book for a small fee I stayed there while my dad needed an operation and the facilities and staff their was excellent, indeed much better than many pricey hotels i've stayed in!

    My thoughts and prayers are with you I hope life and health gets much better for you, you sure deserve all the best things in life for all you have done for us!!

    Very best wishes

  85. Hi Sue & Dave
    I am so sorry & this is one of the things that really frightens me........when one is vulnerable one needs to have one's hand held.
    I have seen both sides of nurses & you certainly got a short straw.
    A friend who is a nurse told me that several nurses in her hospital department are really caring, but there are one or two who just treat it as a job.
    The caring profession is showing another side.......but it's a reflection of society as a whole & I admit I haven't a clue as to what one can actually do.
    Hearts & Minds:-)

  86. Wow it was meant for me to see this today. Thank you for sharing. With love, gina

  87. When I was fighting for my life after a nasty RTA and my bones were left broken for a week awaiting further surgery (as I was too critical to have them fixed) I prayed to my teddy to let me live (I was a teenager. A nurse came up and told me off for keeping other people awake (I was in such a bad way I did not know I was in hospital) and then decided to fiddle with my traction weights in the middle of the night and send a searing spasm of pain through my right leg in which my femur was in pieces (I had to have a rod inserted to fix it in the next round of surgery).And I started hallucinating.

    She could have killed me.

    The only good thing was that apparently I was able to relay what had happened to my mother the following day who waited till the night shift to confront the nurse and according to my sister, "swept the floor with her".

  88. I feel supported by many of the previous comments. As a visitor to hospital I thought I was the only one having terrible experiences which I won't go in to just now. Would like to know if anyone has had bad experiences at Barnet hospital?

  89. Dear Sue,

    I came across your blog entry quite by accident this morning and felt saddened after reading it. I hope this message reaches you in good health. I am a student nurse at the end of my training and have done most of my practice at Addenbrooke's hospital.

    As a child I had been in hospital and over my three years as a student I have met many nurses and doctors and would say the majority of them were caring and compassionate. I therefore have found it quite saddening reading about your terrible treatment.

    One thing I have found during my nursing training though is that that it takes a lot of skill to be able care properly for patients in hospital. And people with medical conditions often require assistance meeting their basic human needs. From my experience however I have found that some care providers seem to lack or lose these skills, and can even fail to utilise their skills when under pressure or stress. Of course, the ultimate problem with failing to met people's needs in hospital is that it causes unnecessary suffering.

    In my opinion patients are suffering as a result of the current state of the NHS and maybe we are not providing enough training for healthcare providers when we are seeing more and more people with complex and diverse medical needs. In hospitals it seems nurses are also being expected to take on many new tasks and roles and are often then unable to carry out traditional nursing tasks themselves, thus delegating work to members of staff who may have not had the same training and may lack the understanding of the individual needs of patients with medical conditions. Doctors and nurses are also under unreasonable and unnecessary pressure due to low staffing numbers. I am trying not writing this comment as an explanation or an excuse, more so as an insight from which we can all help change and improve healthcare in this country. There is no excuse for plain malice.

    I have never come across a healthcare professional or support worker acting with malice and I hope I never will do but if that happens one day I would assure you I would act against it. I hope you were able to make an official complaint following your experience at the hospital, which would hopefully go towards ensuring situations like this do not happen again and people are made accountable for their actions.

    - A.

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