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That people expect too much from doctors/hospitals

(94 Posts)
MerylPeril Thu 03-Nov-16 22:23:28

DHs uncle is in a poor way and has been for s long time.

He has spent 70-80% of the last year in hospital. He has hardly been awake for the current visit where his family were told he won't be allowed home again (he goes home for a few days - ends back in hospital). He has a variety of health problems and is in his 80s
I should point out he has been bad at taking notice of medical advice in the past which have made issues worse.

His daughter is furious though.
She harasses nursing staff /doctors/ consultants. She wants all of his issues 'sorted' (I know this is an emotional issue as well) and fixed.

But she also seems to think he should be having personal round the clock care on the wards - and I mean 'personal', for him to be attended too without delay every second of the day.
She talks about putting complaints in because nurses were having lunch etc

I know it's her dad and she loves him BUT it's exhausting us as well - when she's not at hospital she is complaining about how terrible it is.

I've only had amazing treatment from the NHS but there must be a point where they can only do so much. Really he should have been in a home but they blocked that as they wanted him well and home and didn't see why the doctors couldn't do that.

He is the longest lasting out of his siblings currently.
I'm tired out from it on DHs behalf - he watched his own mother die from similar issues and has to listen to it all - whilst secretly believing his uncle (he is also close to) would be better dying quietly than no quality of life.

I'm starting to think that people expect doctors to perform miracles! We've had another long night of this conversation, been the same for the last year. I feel sorry that his daughter and her children are suffering from this now too.

user1477282676 Thu 03-Nov-16 22:27:49

OP I know what you mean. It's very sad really. MIL did this when her very old Mother was having her final illness. She still "blames" the care her Mum received years later.

"They messed up her medication!" or "It was because they didn't operate!"

Some people find this all very hard to cope with...the best thing you can do is just be sympathetic.

lightcola Thu 03-Nov-16 22:31:39

Suggest they go private and pay for round the clock personal care. That will soon shut her up.

Sax88 Thu 03-Nov-16 22:32:09

Definitely agree. I work for the nhs. I would say a good 30% of my day is explaining why the waiting time is as it is. Fielding complaints about our reminder system which personally I don't feel is needed. If you book an appointment it's your responsibility to attend it. Also moaning about parking or having to get there. Why can't we pick them up? It's ridiculous. I used to love my job but just recently I feel it's just not worth being a punch bag for.

Andro Thu 03-Nov-16 22:44:23

I've only had amazing treatment from the NHS but there must be a point where they can only do so much.

You are fortunate then, you are also correct!

It sounds as though your dh's cousin is deflecting her emotions and channelling her own sense of helplessness by advocating for her father... vociferously!

The situation is very tough for everyone involved; fear, exhaustion and denial don't make for rational thought processes.

flowers and wine for you and your dh.

helenatroy Thu 03-Nov-16 22:45:20

I agree OP we honestly don't know we are born in this country with the free medical care we get. Some people have no gratitude in them at all. I've had a problematic pregnancy and therefore have been at hospital more in that last 8 months that the rest of my life. I have watched as those
Medical professionals deal with daily abuse with grace and humility. The care I have received over these months has been astounding. We need to support these people rather than constantly make their jobs even harder.

mirime Thu 03-Nov-16 22:50:57

"If you book an appointment it's your responsibility to attend it."

Yes, but nobody is perfect. We all forget things sometimes, especially when appointments are made a long time in advance.

For example, I appreciate the reminders I get from my dentist. If they didn't send them I would have completely missed cancelling my last appointment - I'd just had surgery so I'd had a lot of stuff on my mind in the run up (took nearly a year from first symptoms to getting surgery) and then on a lot of painkillers afterwards that left me not really with it.

Sax88 Thu 03-Nov-16 23:08:37

The area of the hospital I work it would make me think if they forget they don't need the appointment. Currently they book it themselves online. Get a letter. Then a call to confirm it 2 weeks before. Then a text a week before. Then another call the day before to allow them to reschedule if needed. Yet still it's our fault they forget. And we have to rebook them should they remember. Then they moan they waited 8 weeks..... well if they attended when they were supposed to they wouldn't have to wait. We had 58 hours of time wasted last month due to missed appointments.

MerylPeril Thu 03-Nov-16 23:20:46

Well if you want to mention appointments my late MIL would cancel if it was raining!
And then complain about waiting for another/not being well!

I once took DD to a doctors appointment 4 days late - I was mortified! Luckily we have a good relationship with our doctors receptionists, one of them said 'we'd thought you must have had an emergency' (it's helpful when your DH takes them chocolates at Xmas!)

stillwantrachelshair Thu 03-Nov-16 23:28:02

Is it a generational thing? When the NHS first came in, it was transformational and, simultaneously, there were big advances in medical treatment which meant that things people would have had to live with could be cured.
The generation you are referring to probably lived through that or with parents who had been through that and grew up with a sense of awe. Things have changed...cut backs, people living much longer and thus having a variety of illnesses to balance rather than just dropping dead of a heart attack. It has changed. Throw in some emotion and fear, and it can mean people lash out.

VelvetSpoon Thu 03-Nov-16 23:29:36

There's 2 sides though.

I agree expectations of elderly care are too high. I am cynical because none of my relatives have lived past mid 70s, but I honestly feel if they had I'd be more pragmatic about it and realise that we shouldn't prolong the life of the very elderly or make them subject to constant medical intervention when they'd probably be happier being nursed at home.

That said, I don't have a great opinion of the NHS, it's poorly administered, money is wasted, and poor practice/ service/ lack of accountability/ laziness abounds. I've never had brilliant care, and aside from a short spell DS1 had in hospital when he was a baby (specialist paediatric gastric ward) I don't know anyone else who's experienced anything more than a barely adequate service at best.

My mum died of cancer which Drs entirely failed to diagnose; my bf had cancer which was only discovered because he nagged for an op which everyone said was unnecessary; if he'd not had it, he'd probably be dead now. He also nearly lost a leg because of inadequate post op care from his local nursing team, who allowed a gangrenous wound to develop. Someone else I know suffered agonising back pain for a decade; GP advice was 'lose weight and exercise'. A MRI scan showed they had several prolapsed discs (due to a fall 10 years earlier). At a local level, it's impossible to get a GP or nurses appt. I'm supposed to see a nurse weekly for my BP to be checked; I can't because there are no appointments. On which point I've had no advice from my GP about lowering my (very high) BP other than I should relax more. Oh, and that they won't put me on medication because I'd be on it for life (her exact words).

Basic access to a competent GP/ nurse I think is the minimum people should receive, and it often doesn't happen. I've never been in favour of private healthcare, but if it gets me proper treatment, and a medical appointment when I need one, not in a months time, then it would be worth the money.

MauiWest Thu 03-Nov-16 23:54:25

Yes and No

People can expect too much from individual medical staff, who are only human and have to work with what resources they have been given.

However, the whole NHS can be absolutely awful. Millions wasted on a new computer system, treatments randomly allocated across the country, people treated like cattle, not enough staff, too much waiting time. The fact that we are happy with communal wards with shared toilet and bathroom facilities, absolute lack of privacy and chance to rest is staggering. I am not even mentioning patients who don't even make it to the wards but spend hours in the corridor. It's embarrassing for a so called modern country.

The whole thing needs reorganizing, and if it means charging a fee, so be it. On the other hand, all funds from car parks should go back to hospitals!

Hysterectical Fri 04-Nov-16 05:13:33

Maybe she has lived abroad and is aware of just how terrible the NHS is. You are not lucky to have it, truly.

missmollyhadadolly Fri 04-Nov-16 05:23:33

Mum has just come out of a hospital stay and had nothing but good to say about the doctors and nurses. She was grateful for the care they gave her.

Sax88 that sounds so frustrating. I think a system where people get fined for wasting time should be in place.

t3rr3gl35 Fri 04-Nov-16 05:31:57

Hysterectical - I'm interested in your comment and would appreciate it if you could expand (by PM if you would be more comfortable). I find I'm blocked by local hierarchy at every step when attempting to produce comparative models of healthcare.

inthenickoftime Fri 04-Nov-16 05:40:21

I was having a conversation with an older woman on the bus about this. I think people don't understand how lucky we are to have the NHS.

DS was hospitalised at least monthly because of uncontrolled asthma. I would have been bankrupt if I had to pay to be seen. I also can't fault the care that he has received. Yes there's waiting times, but that is because there are people in a lot worse state who need immediate attention.

This year I also had an abnormal smear result and the nurses and doctors that treated me were amazing.

I know not everyone has good experiences like myself, but I will always be grateful for the NHS.

NotYoda Fri 04-Nov-16 05:45:27

I think that you are correct in saying that the problem in the OP is probably largely due to the relative struggling emotionally .

I think she probably does unconsciously want them to perform miracles, and this makes her unreasonable. I feel for medical staff because they probably don't have the time, or maybe expertise to really deal with this sort of person.

Or maybe she's always been a complaint, blaming person

Yakitori Fri 04-Nov-16 05:45:45

Unfortunately people like doctors and nurses become the target when people want to unleash their anger at the world and everything that is going on in their lives.

WannaBe Fri 04-Nov-16 06:14:45

I had round the clock care recently. When I was on ICU and they were battling to save my life. Were it not for the NHS I wouldn't be here.

However, were it not for some of the awful people out there who complain, harass, and speak to staff like dirt perhaps they wouldn't be so over-worked. Like the vile woman on the general ward with me who rang the bell to get the nurse to: move her fork to the other side of her tray, lower her bed and then complain it wasn't to her standards, cup of tea at 3 in the morning, and would say things like "look at me when I speak to you!" as if they were her servants. And before anyone finds a reason why she might have been like it, the reason was that she was a vile bitch. And was perfectly mobile enough to wander round, to the day room because the 26 degree temp on our ward was too cold for her etc etc. There's no reason for being that obnoxious, none.

Sirzy Fri 04-Nov-16 06:18:51

Has she had someone sit down and properly explain the situation to her though? Does she fully understand why they feel that way?

greenfolder Fri 04-Nov-16 06:19:16

I agree. It's different from poor care. I have a friend who is a Matron. She often has to deal with complaints about elderly people dying. And trying to explain to people that their mum died of old age often does not go well. And the long slow March towards it is hard.

Northernlurker Fri 04-Nov-16 06:27:07

Thanks op. I work in the NHS and encounter lots of people struggling like your relatives. It is very hard indeed to manage their expectations. We can only do so much with the resources we have. It's good to read that some people at least understand that.

Chottie Fri 04-Nov-16 06:35:11

Over the past few years, my family and I have had NHS care from several different hospitals all over the country.

We have all found the treatment we have received and the courtesy from staff to be exemplary. I get so sick of people knocking the NHS all the time and I think staff do a great job in the face of some truly difficult, people.

The majority of people have mobile phones, it's not difficult to use the online diary with reminders of dates of appointments.

SquinkiesRule Fri 04-Nov-16 06:37:41

I'm in the NHS too, and after a really crappy day yesterday I think families like the OP describe are a huge problem. I mean how old do they think the elderly relatives will get, we get people in their 90's with children in their 60's and 70's who expect them to live forever and can be very nasty when we are also caring for the rest of the patients in the bay.
Also we can't magic overstretched services out of nowhere, when another department says no and can squeeze them in we can't make them no matter how much you want it.

ElizaDontlittle Fri 04-Nov-16 06:37:42

I agree OP - we have become very uncomfortable with death (which is not the question you asked ) and expect too much from our underfunded, at times badly managed, political football, health service and the teams that function locally within it.

I've had a hard year with my health - emergency surgery revealed inflammatory bowel disease but the wait for medical treatment meant it was almost 9 months between the diagnosis and treatment. Are they lazy? Definitely not. Are they badly organised? From what I have seen, the opposite. Are they utterly under-resourced? Most definitely.

My job is now at risk - a relatively senior position within the NHS - due to the absences due to the untreated condition, so the NHS loses out again.

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