Some time ago I wrote about my recovery from a rather large and complex operation which was perfomed on my abdominal area. The operation itself was a complete success, and the heading to my previous post was a copy letter to the staff on the ward where I was treated.
I had very few complaints regarding my time in the hospital, but the one thing which sticks in my mind was the manner in which I was treated by one Staff Nurse. As I wrote at the time:-
My wound was dressed the first time by a Scots staff nurse who was probably extremely competent, but had not the first clue about how to remove an adhesive dressing without ripping it off my stomach; as the scar was over two feet long and was barely commencing healing, you can possibly imagine what I went through, but after I stated in no uncertain terms that I refused to let her near me again, things grew brighter by the minute!
My sharpish response to the possibility that this woman would be let loose around my wound and the dressing thereof was greeted with astonishment by a doctor, who was then told by another nurse that everyone on the ward knew of her brusque, brutish and uncaring attitude towards sick patients, but no-one had ever spoken out before my words condemning her attitude towards patients on the ward. I repeat ‘ no-one had ever spoken out before my words condemning her sttitude towards patients on the ward’
I listened to the loud choruses of condemnation regarding the horrific abortion which was the regime at the Mid-Stafford Hospital, where some 1200 people had died, some in appalling filth and pain, because Management wanted results, and people just don’t count. The one voice which spoke in the truest tone was that of a nurse who stated that no-one ‘blew the whistle’, or attempted to gain redress for patients who had been left to die, becaue they feared being sacked for daring to speak out.
There is one further point I would make about hospitals in general, and the treatment of patients in particular, and that is during my stay at the Freeman Hospital, I was possibly the ONLY person to demand that I be addressed as ‘Mr. Cunningham’; not Mike, nor any other Tom, Dick or Harriet. I was an individual, I did not know any of the hospital staff before I was admitted, so why should they address me by any other term than one of respect and civility?
p.s. Just to note, the NHS Chief of the Stafford Trust now heads the NHS Commissioning Board.