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AIBU?

Doctors treat you differently when things go wrong

19 replies

Orangeblossom78 · 12/11/2019 11:36

A few years a ago I had a misdiagnosis of something serious and ended up needing lots of surgeries to save my life...after it became clear (all along they kept saying 'you seem young a healthy' and dismissing me as 'anxiety' when I in fact had sepsis due to neglect / failing to investigate further) they have gone all odd and quiet and won't discuss it with me.

I tried gently asking for an explanation, after such follow up, via PALs. But they tried contacting the consultants and asking them and they had no reply. AIBU or if things go wrong, it seems to me they 'close ranks' and don't discuss it.

It's hard because an explanation, and looking at ways to stop this sort of thing happening again, would do much to help me get over what happened.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

63 votes. Final results.

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RedSheep73 · 12/11/2019 19:10

They are worried you might sue.

ItsNotMeItsNotMe · 12/11/2019 19:21

Go to a solicitor Op, you’ll soon get answers!

blahblahblahblahhh · 12/11/2019 19:24

I sort of disagree. I had major health issues with some negligence issue. I found them to be exceptionally responsive. I was very well prepared with proper medical academic literature, NICE Guidelines etc and they took me very seriously.

LunaTheCat · 12/11/2019 19:30

I am sorry for your experience. Medical training puts emphasis on being open and honest. Could you approach the clinical manager in that area? The chief medical officer. You could also make an appointment with your GP to discuss GP s can be good advocates. Sadly sometimes in medicine things go wrong despite everybody doing standard care. Best wishes and I hope you are improving

Nat6999 · 12/11/2019 19:43

My mum had a pelvic floor repair years ago in a private hospital, 2 days after she was back home she had a massive haemorrhage, our bathroom looked like a slaughterhouse, she was rushed back in & her internal stitches had burst. The surgeon came back at nearly midnight, took her to theatre & restitched everything, he came to see her 3 times a day until she came home & even then gave her his home phone number for if she was worried about anything & told her to ring him day or night. He couldn't do enough for her.

Orangeblossom78 · 12/11/2019 19:48

Well this is the thing- if they explained it would help. You can understand why people do negligence claims to get answers- ironically this is probably why they keep quiet in the first place. I guess it even leads to claims. I wouldn't do that it is probably too late anyway.

OP posts:
Lhastingsmua · 12/11/2019 20:06

So you raised a complaint with PALS and PALS replied stating that the consultants involved refused to respond?

Seems strange, surely the point of PALS is to look into serious problems like this to prevent them from reoccurring instead of “doctor didn’t reply” being their final response.

I would speak to a solicitor

Lhastingsmua · 12/11/2019 20:09

Has it been 3 years?

Even if it has, the 3 year time limit can be waived if the circumstances permit. As you have already contacted PALS to raise the issue and received a poor response, a solicitor could advise if this is enough to waive the time limit.

Ohyesiam · 12/11/2019 20:17

I’m sorry you had to go through all this, it sounds very stressful and I can understand why you would want answers.
The PALS response sounds odd, they need to keep trying, and to advocate for you properly. I would go back to them first, before speaking to anyone legal as previous posters have suggested. Partly because sepsis is so notoriously hard to diagnose as it has so few symptoms before it becomes dramatic, so you might not get that far on the legal route. But pals need to get you some answers.

WTF99 · 12/11/2019 20:32

PALS try to settle issues informally. Tell them you want to make an official complaint. You will have to put it in writing, but then a complaint policy procedure is triggered which has to be followed. There will be an investigation by someone who is not directly involved with the case. You will be able to speak to that person and put forward your point of view.
You should be notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation, and any recommendations that have been made. The investigation should specifically address the issues you have raised, so it's worth thinking carefully about exactly wha it is that you're unhappy with. This process doesnt stop you persuing legal action if that's what you want, but it doesn't sound as if that's your focus.

weebarra · 12/11/2019 20:36

I've had to make two official complaints. Both were dealt with effectively by senior staff who met with us to discuss and one resulted in a change of process within the hospital.
We didn't want to sue, we just wanted what had happened to my DS2 to ever be repeated.

mylifenow27 · 12/11/2019 20:38

I had this experience too, I ended up in intensive care with pneumonia and never got answers

WTF99 · 12/11/2019 20:53

And weebarra makes a good illustration of an effective complaint handling, which is what i outlined in my 1st post above.

Orangeblossom78 · 12/11/2019 21:06

I understand they have new guidance on sepsis now, more people are being assessed at A & E. It can be difficult to diagnose and in my case was very like anxiety- cold, very shaky and confused. It made it hard to explain my history also. I would like them to consider mental confusion in sepsis rather than thinking the person is just anxious.

But then they can tend in women especially to think they are anxious - think with heart attacks the difference there in diagnosis between men and women, and women's pain is also not taken as seriously as men's in hospital.

OP posts:
WTF99 · 12/11/2019 21:34

So OP, for instance, one of the recommendations that might come out of an investigation of your complaint could be that A&E staff undergo refresher training in the presentation of sepsis, if your complaint is that your situation wasn't recognised early enough, and assuming that the senior investigating officer finds your complaint to be justified.
I don t kmow if that would be feasible as its not an area that im familiar with, but its the kind of thing that can arise out of a complaint investigation

Orangeblossom78 · 13/11/2019 09:22

Thanks WTF, I wonder if the same might result in me just giving feedback to PALs in an emails rather than going down the complaints route...

What they did with me was they got the psychiatric liaison team to see me in A and E in a different room to the usual medical investigations. I kept telling them it was a physical problem and I was saying thing like "I feel like I'm going to die" which is one of the things they are meant to look at with regards to sepsis (this is how it makes you feel)

But in my case they thought I was obviously suicidal - they then told me not to return to A and E but to go to urgent care in future and make an appt if I was still concerned about my physical health- which made me put off coming back in and was too ill to get to the urgent care centre..

ended up back in an ambulance and emergency surgery in the night, IV antibiotics etc.

Anyway...it does seem this is how they are meant to assess sepsis now so maybe it is OK for the future, i just didn't want it happening to anyone else.

From UK Sepsis Trust:

HOW TO SPOT SEPSIS IN ADULTS
Seek medical help urgently if you (or another adult) develop any of these signs:

Slurred speech or confusion
Extreme shivering or muscle pain
Passing no urine (in a day)
Severe breathlessness
It feels like you’re going to die
Skin mottled or discoloured

OP posts:
Orangeblossom78 · 13/11/2019 09:28

Oh...just this second had an email from PALs saying they are going to write to me..


"Thank you for your patience whilst we looked into your enquiry. Mr ....(consultants name) has informed us he has requested your medical records, once he has received them he is going to write a response to you directly.

In the meantime if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

OP posts:
WTF99 · 13/11/2019 10:10

That sounds a horrible experience op and I think you are entirely justified in raising it.

People sometimes get a bit worried about raising complaints, however if the issue is handled in the right way, it can be a very positive outcome all round. I think the NHS is much better at handling complaints now. The emphasis is on learning from the issue and ensuring that the complainant feels heard and satisfied with the outcome.

You can certainly give further information to PALS about your view of the situation. I think in your shoes id be waiting to see what the consultant comes up with. Hopefully you'll feel ok with that, but if not you can always make a request to PALS to go down the official route so that you get an impartial 3rd party looking into it.
Maybe ask to see the complaints policy if they haven't already sent it to you? It will give you all the information you need about how a complaint is handled. Or you might find it on the Trust website.
Good luck!

Orangeblossom78 · 13/11/2019 13:27

Many thanks! Yes a scary experience...it was a few years ago and they seem to have introduced a new sepsis awareness campaign since then. So hopefully they will be more aware as I would not want anyone to go through that.

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