Recent experience at Homerton antenatal unit

Yesterday I had my first midwife appointment and first scan for my first pregnancy.

The staff were extremely knowledgeable (in particular a younger trainee working with the midwife to ask me questions, on every point I raised she was able to provide useful extra information, about nutrition, mental health, when to come to hospital, other sources of support) and caring (in particular the way the nurse dealt with my fear of needles while taking blood).


Kindness and respect

I had a failed pregnancy so had to have an op to remove – everyone along the way was very kind and helpful, and let us know what was going on. I did have to wait a while for the op as there was an emergency – which I thought was totally understandable. Thank you Homerton! God / Universe bless the NHS!

J Carey

Midwives must not rely on technology

My daughter had a bad experience as we felt the midwives relied too much on technology and not at all on what the patient was telling them.

My daughter had started in labour the evening before. She was taken to the delivery suite, put on the monitor and told she was not in labour yet and had what they called ‘tightenings’.

She was 1cm dilated when taken to delivery and was left all night with hardly any attention. It was 2 1/2 hour at one point when she was not seen by anyone and even when she was, she was told that she was not a priority as the monitor did not register that she was having contractions only ‘tightenings’. She was made to feel that she was not coping with the pain she was in as well as she could be.

To cut a long story short she was examined at 10pm the previous evening and finally saw a doctor at around 9 15 am the next morning. The doctor declared that she was fully dilated (10cm) and baby’s head was there and she should start pushing straight away. Even then she had problems as the doctor went away to tend to another patient leaving my daughter to be tended again by the midwife. The poor girl was pushing hard for 2 hours with no progress when at last the doctor came back again and wondered why she had not delivered yet. On examining her, the doctor said that something was stopping the baby. It turns out the cord was around the baby’s shoulders and as fast as she was pushing she was getting nowhere she needed to be cut. Why did the midwife not notice?

She was obviously in labour and told she was not and the pains would get much worse because the monitor did not indicate otherwise. My daughter was petrified at the prospect.

I feel that what they did to her was disgusting seeing as this was her first child, she was only 34 weeks term and her waters had broken 6 days earlier.

I say if you want to be a midwife and work with mums to be then hats off to you but I feel you should not hide behind monitors and rely solely on technology.


The lack of care by Homerton University Hospital, Hackney, London

My best friend had prostate trouble and was sent by the Homerton to St.Bart’s for radio therapy (31 sessions) in October last year. The treatment went fine but about January of this year he began to have very bad pains in his stomach. He returned to the Homerton several times but was told that his PSI was less than 1% and that the pains were part of the healing process.

I brought him to his Consultant and to A&E several times over the next three months and on every occasion was assured that things would settle down. In early May this year things got so bad that we insisted that a doctor come down to A&E and check him. This doctor asked if we knew what the result of the final CAT scan was (there was nothing on file). What CAT scan? They brought him immediately for a scan.

It turned out that my friend had cancer of the liver, the spleen and the spine that a CAT scan would have picked up if given. He had been dealing with these cancers with only Paracetamol for over three months. He died three days later.

I doubt if a scan would have prolonged his life but at least he could have been treated for the pain. His Executor was not inclined “to make a fuss” so the whole sorry affair was ignored.


Lack of communication at Homerton A&E

I brought my son to Homerton A&E because he’s having diarrhoea for 3 days. We went to A&E and waited for nearly 3 hours just to be seen by the GP for less than 10mins.

I was asked to take a specimen container to collect my son’s stool and send it to our GP in the morning. The next day I went to my local GP with the stool and was refused because I don’t have the request form.

How would I know that the stool should come with a form if the GP in A&E didn’t give us one? Then I have to go to A&E again and waited for 3 hours just for the form.

They said they can’t make the form coz they are not the one who checked my son and the GP who seen him was in a meeting. Fair enough, but shouldn’t it be in my son’s record or the GP could have written it down somewhere that he’s requesting one.

The communication and the system is just appalling, waiting for several hours just for a form because the GP is in a meeting. Is there nobody else covering for him? Bringing a sick child in a hospital and let them wait for hours just to be seen is putting them at risk of exposing them to people with different kind of infection.

NHS is a free health service – no, not free coz I’m paying big tax. But the service is just bad. They should stop blaming the service, its the people that work in the system who should be efficient.


Missed miscarriage at Homerton Hospital

I’m sorry but I couldn’t disagree more with the previous lady about treatment at Homerton following the horrible shock at 12 week scan of discovering I’d had a missed miscarriage.

The sonographer was cold and rude without a shred of compassion and we were given no information whatsoever. We were shown to the Early Pregnancy Unit where we sat stunned and crying for 10 mins before a nurse ( I presume, didn’t introduce herself so I have no idea) strolled in and casually told said “So you’ve had a miscarriage but you might have got your dates wrong, come back in a week” and showed us the door.

I’ve never been more shocked, distraught and utterly disgusted at the total lack of compassion in my life. Why are these people working in this profession at all?


Lost my baby before, pregnant again

In early 2008 I discovered I was pregnant.

I told everyone in St Thomas that because I had had procedures done in Africa that might have jeopardised my cervix, this should be checked for any problems as my pregnancy progressed. I mentioned this several times to every nurse, doctor or support worker I came in contact with but they just ignored me right to the time my cervix opened and my baby fell through at almost 19 weeks.

It was a very traumatising experience and I shudder each time I remember it. I have lost faith in the NHS system

I wrote a complaint letter shortly afterwards but the response I got was so carefully written that you could tell they were trying to cover their backs and not accept responsibility for not listening to me. I was too emotionally distraught to carry on with receiving justice. I just let it go.

4 years on, I am now pregnant again and have just spoken to my GP who has made a referral to Homerton Hospital. I am hoping that I get in touch with a consultant as soon as possible.

If there is any negligence on the system’s part this time around, I will make sure I kick up so much dust and not let the NHS succeed in messing people up. I am prepared to fight legally if I don’t receive the proper care I pay so much in taxes for.


Bad experience with orthopaedics at Homerton Hospital

Back in October 2007, I started experiencing pain and swelling on the inside of my right ankle post my normal session at the gym (running and cross-training).

I went to my GP, who sent me to Homerton (my local hospital). Having been told it was nothing more than a sprain, I then got a call later that day asking me to come back to the fracture clinic for a suspected break in my ankle.

I went back, to be told there was no fracture, advised it was a sprain and sent away with crutches and an ankle brace. I also received a physio referral. My follow-up was scheduled for 6 weeks later.

On seeing the physio, she decided that the problem in my ankle was too acute for treatment – and tried to get me an urgent referral back to the fracture clinic. No Joy. After six weeks in the brace I had no improvement, so returned to the fracture clinic where they diagnosed inflammation of the tendon sheath and placed me in plaster for 3 weeks.

After 3 weeks (still no great improvement) I returned to the fracture clinic – where my stories of pain and my still swollen ankle were met with blank looks and a range of four possible diagnoses. I felt that they really just wanted to get rid of me as this was a slightly unusual case that couldn’t be dealt with easily. Eventually (after they wanted to discharge me and I burst into tears on the consultant) and with much reluctance, they scheduled an MRI for 8 weeks time – the earliest possible appt.

At this point my patience snapped and I claimed on my private medical insurance. I saw a consultant who diagnosed my problem within 5 minutes of examining me – I had a ruptured posterior tibial tendon in my right ankle. MRI confirmed this and emergency surgery was scheduled, from which I’m now recovering. If this problem hadn’t been dealt with the arch in my foot would have collapsed, leading to possible disability.

What makes me very angry is that it took private medical care and one consultant to diagnose this – the nurse practitioner, doctor, registrar and three consultants I had seen over my various visits to the Homerton had not even mentioned it as a possibility. My private consultant told me that the tendon was almost completely ruptured, and would certainly have gone in the 8 weeks I would have waited for an MRI at the Homerton.

I’m very lucky – I get private health care as part of my job package. What about the people that don’t? How many other injuries and illnesses are being missed by Homerton Orthopaedics department? The thought terrifies me. Best of luck to anyone else who ends up in my situation.


My complaints have fallen on deaf ears

I went to the Homerton A&E after suffering from a severe pain in the back of my neck for three days. I was seen by a triage nurse and I told her that I had rheumatoid arthritis and that it had gone into my neck, that I had lost control of it and that my painkillers were ineffective. I was then seen by the doctor.

I was then strapped down on a trolley and taken down to x-ray. When I asked the radiographer why I was being x-rayed, she replied “the doctor suspects that you may have fractured your neck”. I hadn’t said anything about injuring myself so I was confused as to where the doctor got this idea from.

I was taken back up to casualty. The doctor then walked into the cubicle waving a blank piece of A4 paper and then said to me that from my medical notes, there was no record of me attending the hospital prior to 2005. I was also told the x-ray showed that there was little wrong with my neck and I was told that in fact, there was nothing wrong with me. The doctor then said that I was lying and that they had suspected this all along.

I was then informed that contrary to what I had told them, there was no history of me having been registered at the Homerton Hospital for the past 14 years (it transpired later that my medical history had not been entered onto their computer system). The blank piece of paper he was holding was my missing 14 year medical history.

I then asked if they could phone my GP to verify my details and I was told that there was no need as they knew all they needed to know about my medical history.

I was not given an ESR blood test which would have shown that I had rheumatoid arthritis. In my opinion, the doctor did not seem to know what to do.

The following day I complained to the hospital but I feel my complaints have fallen on deaf ears.