Dental Crown fell out pulling most of the tooth with it.

Attended A&E recently in complete pain. Side of my face had swollen up and painkillers are no longer working. I was aware I had a temperature and probably had some form of infection hence swollen face and pain.

I put up with this for 48 hours as I had been trying to get a dental appointment without success.

I was taken to A&E by my daughter who was quite concerned about me. Saw the Triage Nurse who seemed totally disinterested and told me to see my dentist. I explained the problems about getting an appointment but she was adamant they would not see me and I was wasting my time.

I told her I was in real pain and my face was so swollen everything just really hurt. She said she saw my face was swollen but said I was just wasting my time as this is a dentistry problem.


Swollen calf and pain in leg

Last month on Friday I contacted Harmoni regarding a swollen leg and it was painful to walk. I went through a series of questions. I was given an appointment 2 hours later that evening (approximately 8: 30 pm). I was seen an hour late by the Doctor who was very helpful and kind and advised that he thought I had DVT. I was told that I had to register again with A&E and I wasted another few hours waiting to be seen by an A&E doctor who arranged for a blood test that night.

Due to high protein level and inflammation level I was not discharged and stayed in A&E the whole night as there wasn’t a bed available and I was admitted to a Ward at 5am and given Fragmin.

I stayed in hospital for 6 days and had a Doppler scan on the Monday which showed 3 clots under my knee.

I feel that Harmoni should have advised me to go to A&E rather than see the Doctor at Harmoni. Waiting for about 6 hours to see a Doctor, the clot could have moved elsewhere for example to my lungs or heart. I think they should perhaps give Fragmin to all suspected DVT cases on arrival at hospital. Why wait for a few hours?

It was the weekend and a scan could not be arranged until Monday. My case was a bit difficult as I was suffering from excessive bleeding due to heavy periods. But this could have been serious and I feel Fragmin should have been given earlier and they have to weigh the risks.

I hope they can learn something from my case for the future.


Lack of communication around my mother’s death

My 91 year old mother was admitted to St George’s in Wandsworth in July this year. She was weak and suffering from shortness of breath.

Following an unexpected bereavement, my mother had stopped eating. Although she had a lot of support she had reached the stage when she couldn’t eat – a sort of anorexia. Arrangements had been made by the community team for her to see a psychiatrist as a matter of urgency. She was already taking anti depressants, but they wanted to see if anything else could be done. She had also been taking co codamol for a long time, to help with severe back pain.

I was away when my mother was admitted. On my return in mid August, I was aware that my brothers and many other visitors were concerned, so I asked to speak to her Doctor.

This is what emerged:

No arrangements had been made for her to see a psychiatrist. Some communications mix up was blamed.

She was dependent on co-codamol for back pain but in spite of repeated requests by my brothers these were not being prescribed. One brother was massaging her back to try to help her, but nobody seemed to care.

This means that her last days were spent in more pain than was necessary,

Although it seemed clear to me that my mother was dying, the doctor seemed content that her breathing difficulties had been cured and arrangements were being made to move her from the hospital. A very nice resettlement person came to see her that afternoon. I doubted my judgement on her condition. At this stage she had a catheter, she could not speak and was taking minimal amounts of food and drink. She was very weak.

At this stage a psychiatrist and co codamol were promised. I have no idea if the medication was ever given.

The following day my mother died. According to a witness this seemed to surprise the medical staff.

My brother received a call from the coroner to say that the cause of death was unclear. It was pointed out to him that at some stage over the past few days my mother had fallen out of bed. This had not been reported to us.

These are my observations:

If my mother had been a young person, I can’t help thinking that her malnourished state would have been taken much more seriously. This says something about the way the NHS treats older people

Given the IT at our disposal I cannot accept that my mother’s notes, including her need for co-codamol, had not been communicated.

My brothers’ (and other family members) requests for co-codamol were ignored, presumably because nurses did not pass them on to a doctor. My brothers did not understand what seems to be the unwritten rule – that unless you spoke to a doctor, action could not be guaranteed.

Ideally, somebody would have identified my mother’s true condition and had the humanity to warn us and suggest a Hospice. We could have afforded to pay.


Treated like a trouble-maker at St Georges Tooting A&E

I took my brother, a previous heart patient at St Georges Tooting, and who had a repeat acute agina attack, to the A&E department in the early hours of the morning.

I sympathise with the conditions the reception staff are often confronted with from drunk or aggressive patients waiting. However I felt that the staff were clearly geared up to assume that everyone is like this. After waiting over two hours to be seen, my brother was in increasing distress. He was not considered an emergency because an ECG showed normal responses, but ECGs do not show arterial constriction. I patiently explained that he needed immediate admission and an angiogram, a fact which was obvious from the notes the staff already had about his past history. This seemed to be ignored.

When I became concerned at the lack of response, I politely and calmly asked to please produce a doctor, I was told I was being “aggressive”. The staff behind the glass seemed to assume everyone is going to threaten them. They seem incapable of discerning between a genuine case or an alcohol-infused potential abuser. The A&E waiting room is designed like a prison waiting room, deliberately arranged to be as unpleasant as possible and the whole atmosphere anticipates trouble.

I think that all this does is to actually encourage the very abuse or unreasonable behaviour that this department is subject to. In my experience the staff are extremely defensive and utterly removed from any sense of helpful co-operation. When you behave like this, the potential abuse you are hoping to avoid is all the more likely to take place.

Once my brother was eventually seen by a doctor, everything was fine. I think the clinical director of the A&E department at St Georges needs to re-train his or her staff. They seem unable to distinguish between a civilised person and a trouble maker.

At all times I was scrupulously polite but was made to feel as though I was wasting their time. If my brother had been left much longer unattended, he was in real danger of collapse. St Georges has an outstanding reputation for heart treatment, but in my experience its accident and emergency department has serious flaws.



I came in on Sunday to A&E with what I thought was a partial tear in my calf muscle but the young doctor (registrar I guess) seemed to think that I had a partial tear in my achilles. I told them that I had no pain there and they replied that the pain would be in the calf muscle where I could feel it. They asked me if I felt like someone kicked me in the leg and I denied. Still they were convinced that it was the achilles.

Outside the curtain the young doctors spoke to the Consultant who didn’t even come and see me! Therefore I got put in a cast! I asked if it couldnt be a tear in the muscle and they replied; “No”! I asked for an xray but again the answer was that it wouldnt be neccessary and that we wouldnt be able to see anything on it anyway. So I got the cast, went home all upset, woke up the next morning in terrible pain and a swollen let. Back to A&E for four hours! The staff nurse removed the cast straight away and said that it was just too tight, my foot was overstretched and the ankle felt very painful. She couldnt believe that I hadnt had a xray and therefore I got sent to do so. Again I asked if it couldn’t be a muscle tear and the nurse denied and could even feel the step in the achilles. When I asked why I dont feel any pain in the achilles, I was told that its not painful. Which is quite unbelievable. The nurse even showed the the tear on the xray, I wasnt aware that you could see a tear on an xray but for some reason she could.

Again I had to get the cast and was unable to work ( Im self employed) for a whole week plus the fact that I was in discomfort because of my foot position (overstretched).

On the Friday I went to the Fracture clinic and saw the consultant, he seemed quite surprised that I was in a cast for a whole week. He then did some tests and told me more or less straight away that I had partially torn my calf muscle. I told him my story and he also said that you cant see a tear on an xray and said that the two ladies might have been inexperienced and that I would have been in a lot of pain if it would have been the achilles! What else could he say?

I have to say that I lost a week earnings, was in discomfort and dont believe that having my foot overstretched for a week did me any good! My ankle still feels weak and is bruised and Im not happy about it at all! I cant believe that two people who are qualified didn’t notice the differece between a muscle tear and an achilles tear. Despite the point that the staff nurse cant even read an xray, which is quite worrying. The first person just needed to get the consultant in to see me or take 10 min of their time to perform an ultra sound or maybe listen to me and what I said and not having a diagnosis in their head and ruling out any other possibilities!


I had a horrible postnatal time at St George’s

I wanted to share my story as I’d read one that was very similar. My son was born at St George’s almost two years ago. I was never very happy with my ante-natal care, but it appeared to be about par. I was very overdue and was made to feel by the midwives that I was putting them to some inconvenience. I spoke to one consultant during that time (the only time during my entire pregnancy!) and he was really good.

I was in severe pain by the time I went into labour. I suspected that it was because of a UTI I contracted during the cervical sweep because the midwife didn’t use sterile gloves, but I don’t know that for sure. At any rate, the pain was bladder pain and pain during urination not labour pain. I had to beg to be admitted to the hospital and get some gas and air after my water broke again not for the contractions but for the bladder pain. I did eventually get some, but was left to labour in a room unattended a whole night because I hadn’t reached their threshhold of dilation.

I then had to move to an official (and not as nice) room. My labour was very slow progressing so even after I officially got there, I went through three full shifts of midwives. The first was ok, although she pressured me into having a drip to intensify my contractions (which I hadn’t wanted). The second was very nice. The last one was awful, spoke about me, not to me, cold, rude and neglectful. She couldn’t even be bothered to take my blood pressure but put it on the automatic cuff without telling me.

Eventually I had to have an emergency c-section.

The postnatal ward was awful. It was extremely hot, noisy, I hadn’t slept in three days at this point and was beyond exhaustion. It didn’t seem very clean. I was in a bay away from a window and was really suffering from the heat (this was during a particularly hot few days in June 2007). I was tired and in pain, uncomfortable and lonely after visiting hours.

When the postnatal midwife refused to give me another dose of painkillers (I understand why that was) she suggested I have a dose of morphine instead. I agreed. But then I thought, if I’m knocked out in this chaos, who’s going to look after my baby? And I had wanted to breast feed and was worried about the effects of the morphine. So I told her I had changed my mind.

She was very put out by that because apparently that would cause her all kinds of paperwork difficulty (!). So she brought the ward sister round who screamed at me for having the curtains closed after I told her it was hot and I reminded her that I couldn’t even get out of bed to close the curtains. The sister also used foul language at me and I was seriously scared that they were going to inject me with morphine against my will. Which fortunately they didn’t. But I was frightened and worried the whole night. And I was shocked that I’d been sworn at by a health care “professional”.

This troubled me for a long time and eventually I complained about it to the hospital. I recognise that some time had passed before I complained, but the hospital accepted my complaint and I received an acknowledgement. Since then I have heard nothing, although I followed up with a visit to the PALS office and a follow up email.

The reason I’m sharing this now, even though it happened two years ago, is I saw that St George’s offered another patient the opportunity to complain about her labour and postnatal experience (which was of similar poor quality to mine, but different things happened).

I would encourage the other patient to complain, but don’t hold your breath. They clearly don’t respond to complaints and they clearly haven’t tried to make any changes in two years since this other person’s story was on a level with mine but only happened a few weeks ago.


Patient Care.

I have attended a few appointments at St Georges Hospital in Tooting. Sadly I have experienced disappointing care from some nurses and doctors. Some of the nurses I met lacked professional knowledge as well as care. Years ago the situation in this regard was much more impressive. Some nurses who were participating in the post operative hand clinic didn’t seem interested in the pain their patient was experiencing or to be very professional. The registrar or surgeon who operates is meant to see the patient’s wound after a few weeks (according to what A&E told me) but it doesn’t seem they are available to take care of their patients. Instead I saw another Surgeon but again it felt they lacked interest in their patient’s wound or at least they seemed to show minimal interest.


Extreme dissatisfaction on the on-call GP service

I was significantly unwell at the time. My presenting condition was getting worse and was affecting severely my personal and work life despite of the several appointments I had with my local GP. Hence, my relative/myself contacted NHS 111 which the customer service was helpful and advised me to see the on-call GP Harmoni within St. George’s Hospital.

I went to St. George’s and saw the on-call GP (provided by a private provider). I explained thoroughly in details my history of presenting condition and how it severely affected my activities of daily living. They advised me to return to my local GP and request a referral for an endoscopy. They also advised me to buy a Difflam throat spray. They then advised me to go home.

My relative and myself were not very happy on how the GP handled my situation despite of my significant health complaints. On appointment, they did not check my clinical observations at the time; they did not review my background I. e. blood results requested my local GP despite of me explaining it was in St. George’s EPR; they managed to give me an advice without objective assessment I. e. not even checked the status of my throat; they were explaining about the ‘gold standard assessment’ to confirm my diagnosis by ‘googling’ the information; they were writing their prescription by tearing a small piece of paper and they were not listening and not understanding about the health difficulties I was experiencing by not letting my relative finish the explanation yet since the GP was ‘jumping in’ already with their advice. they reported they couldn’t justify my hospital admission and was strongly sending me home with a prescription of a throat spray. We said that we were not happy about this service and we would seek for a second opinion. The GP said ” do so”.

I then queued up in A&E and got triaged. The triage nurse took my observations and my temperature was 38. 2 which indicates fever, cannula was put on in my arm and my bloods were taken. I was seen by an A&E doctor who did a thorough examination about all my complaints. Following the objective physical examination, the A&E doctor immediately reported that I need to be admitted in the hospital as I need to be examined further. I was transferred to the ward on that night and I was looked after by the medics. I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days before I got safely discharged home. Overall, St. George’s A&E team and the Medics who looked after me were all extremely competent, professional, safe and brilliant. Currently, I am better and happy that my health was properly addressed by St. George’s hospital.

To this end, I would like to highlight that the on-call GP as per my appointment at the time was in my opinion extremely unhelpful and unprofessional.

Bradley John

Back on track

As an amateur triathlete it was extremely frustrating to be be unable to ride my bicycle for more than 5 minutes before I’d have to give up due to the pain in my left shoulder. I can only describe it as a burning sensation together with a numbness and tingling down my left arm and hand. Three months of private physiotherapy didn’t help and I ended-up going to my GP who referred me for an MRI scan. This revealed a compressed nerve in my cervical spine that was ‘referring’ pain to my shoulder and hand.

The consultant, Mr Matt Crocker, (another triathlete as luck would have it) carefully explained the diagnosis and my treatment options. He explained that although this ‘decompression’ surgery meant an overnight stay in hospital (and like all surgery had inherent risks) it was a relatively routine procedure.

Under the expert care of Mr Henry Marsh (another cyclist) my operation was perfomed at the end of September and I spent one night with the attentive staff of Brodie Ward.

I consider the operation a great success. For the first time in six months I’ve been able to enjoy my active lifestyle pain-free and am already training for my next triathlon.

Thank you St George’s Neurosurgey Team.