My husband’s TIA and my TIA

In July last year my husband suffered a TIA. We went to Southend Hospital A&E and after examination by the Stroke Registrar, he was admitted to the Stroke Unit and monitored overnight. He then took part in a pilot to try out some drugs. He was also monitored further to see what had caused his stroke. It was later discovered that he had a heart murmur. All this time, he was looked after with the greatest of care and continues to do so during his visits to the Warfarin Clinic.

Ten days after my husband had the TIA, I experienced tingling in my left arm. At first I thought I had been lying on it, but when it happened again, we rang for the ambulance. I was taken to A & E. Nothing was found, but they referred me to the Stroke Clinic and I was given an appointment for the following week. I thought I had over-reacted, but they said not to worry. I had a Doppler scan and the consultant said I would not be going home. He showed me the X-Ray of my carotid artery and explained that I was in danger of having a full-blown stroke.

To cut a long story short, I was admitted to hospital, everyone was so kind and took time to explain what they wanted to do and what the operation would entail and what could happen. This happened several times and several people spoke to me about it. The surgical team visited me and explained everything that would happen.

I did have to spend a long time in hospital because the specialist anaesthetists were not available, but during all that time I was really well looked after and was never made to feel a nuisance and I never felt ignored and put in a corner. Every time someone came into the ward they spoke to me, even when they had come to see someone else.

I have to say that everyone on this ward treated me with the utmost care and respect and I think this Unit achieves the standard that any ward or unit would be pleased to attain.

Since then I have had treatment in the Endoscopy Unit and have also found them to be kind and caring.

Both my husband and I think we are lucky to live close to Southend Hospital and we are very grateful to have received such wonderful care.


Missed diagnosis at Chichester Hospital, great care elsewhere.

My husband had a suspected TIA in December 2011. He underwent various tests including an echocardiogram. Cardiologist wanted to do angiogram but we had no confidence in him so we paid to go privately to have a CT angiogram. On receipt of this report at NHS hospital close to us my husband saw a different consultant. His greeting was “Why are you here? “He didn’t seem to have the vaguest idea as to what was wrong even though he must have seen that my husband had a heart murmur. Had he read the CT report? Anyway he decided that there was nothing to be done.

In July 2012 I dialled 999 and my husband was taken back to this hospital and was diagnosed as having had a heart attack. It was now necessary to have an angiogram performed by a cardiologist. Thankfully this hospital said they no longer performed such procedures and he was transferred to Worthing Hospital. They immediately said he hadn’t had a heart attack and decided to redo all the tests. They diagnosed severe aortic stenosis. It was so severe that he was transferred to Brighton Hospital within a few days where they operated giving him a mechanical aortic valve. The medical care at both Worthing and Brighton was fantastic. They saved my husband’s life and now he is fully recovered.

We looked at our copy of CT report from December 2011 that stated that my husband had aortic stenosis! I am absolutely furious with our local hospital and wonder how many more people have been treated so badly.

Patient Activist

Good care at QMC Paediatrics

I took my son into the paediatrics department at the Queen’s Medical Centre with a suspected heart murmur. The standard of care he received was good – he was spoken to about each procedure in order to let him know what was going to happen, so he was less frightened about the treatment.

Thank you to all staff who we saw during my son’s stay.


Great experience of the NHS

After three days of constant vomiting, my 6 year old son was referred to QMC by our GP. The relationship between the GP and the hospital was fantastic! We were quickly and efficiently sent over to the hospital. My GP was excellent and very fast acting in this respect. At A&E, we were seen in 15minutes, which seemed frustratingly long at the time, but I now appreciate was very quick. The triage nurse saw my son, and he was put on a drip to immediately begin rehydrating him, he looked very poorly! He then had thorough examinations by three doctors, who were calming and knowledgeable. They found a heart murmur, which concerned them, so my son was kept in overnight which also helped with his rehydration. My wife was allowed to stay with him and he was discharged the next day. Before he was discharged, we saw the chief cardiologist who assured us that the heart murmur was a result of my son’s body fighting the illness, so hard. Though, he kindly offered us reassurance and follow up if we wanted. It was a great experience of the NHS, all at the hospital were brilliant. If I had one small criticism it was the slight lack of communication when waiting for doctors to see my son. A bit of guidance or time line for when to expect someone would have been nice. Still- many thanks!


Problems during my son’s birth

I fell pregnant in October 2006 (my first child, and only at the moment) had to go into hospital at 38 weeks, as I had preeclampsia. I was induced at 38+4days on the 22nd July 2007 at 6pm, was in labour till 9 am on the following morning. The first midwife was lovely, no complaints. She exchanged with a lady at 9pm, who seem as though she didn’t know what she was doing. I had some fluid drip thing in my hand to bring on my contractions and she kept turning the machine up and down, so my contractions weren’t right all along. Then in the morning at 7/8am, the 3rd midwife came was ok, or so I thought. I had to have a emergency c-section, as my cervix’s wasn’t fully dilated and my baby’s heart rate was dropping.

My son was born at 9.58 on the 23rd July 07. After he was born, I didn’t hear the midwife suction any fluid out of his mouth, so I assumed he was ok. After I was taken into the recovery room, the midwife came around to see me and my baby, about an hour after. I told her there was something wrong, as his chest was rising very fast and he wouldn’t take any milk. She said “he’s ok”. It wasn’t until 2 hours later my first midwife came to see me on her break, as she promised to come see me, that I told her about his chest and she noticed that something was wrong and called for the paediatrician to come and look at him. She came down and said that is was probably due to excess fluid on his lungs and that it should go on his own. So that was that.

I had fluid drips in my hand done by a doctor, but they were not done right. They ended up falling out and one didn’t go in to my vein, it sat under my skin and cause a bubble sort of thing under it, which went as soon as I took it out. I went up to the ward 6 hours later and my son was still the same. He had taken no fluids, and kept making a funny noise when he was breathing. So they called for the paediatrician, after I notified the staff to the problem again, she came up once again. She said he had to be taken down to the neo-natal unit, as he wasn’t very well. When I was finally allowed to go see him, they told me he had a pneumothorax in his right lung, which is caused by accumulation of air or gas in the pleural cavity of the lung. They said he had fluid there, so the surgeon or doctor had tried to remove it with a long needle, which did not work and in turn had got air in to the space then. So he had to have a chest drain in, to remove it. Then, as he was on his left side all the time, that lung began to collapse, so he had to be turned on each side at a certain times. The neo-natal staff were brilliant. My son was in there for 2 weeks. He had been tube feed on oxygen etc. When he was able to come home at 2 weeks old and they was performing a heart scan, I asked what they were doing, she said “just checking his murmur before he is discharge” I said, what do you mean? as I wasn’t told and wasn’t until then I was told he had a heart murmur and a whole in his heart, however, that has since closed up on its own.


Very good care at Barnsley’s Cardiac Unit

I was a patient in the Cardiac Unit at the Barnsley District General hospital with a heart murmur. The standard of care I received was very good, and I was most impressed by the prompt, friendly and courteous staff who looked after me during my stay there. I was treated with respect and dignity at all times, and for this I am most grateful.


Poor treatment

My daughter was told by a doctor 3 years ago that she was wasting his time. She had been referred with a heart murmur. (Her father dropped dead at48.after having an ECG which was supposedly clear. )Now it appears this doctor? misread her results and she is to be referred again. She could have a damaged valve. She is 27 years old. What is happening to the NHS? It’s dreadful. Nurses were shouting, chaos seems to reign. Places to wait are cramped and murky. GPS are no better. They don’t know their patients or connect families or listen properly to patients. It’s a disgrace. There is no effective communication between the hospital and GPs either. Letters either come in identical pairs or not at all. So unprofessional. My husband was also misdiagnosed 8months ago by the GP causing an 8 month delay in finding his stage4 oesophageal cancer. Surely this sort of inefficiency costs more in the long run for the NHS


I owe my life to a Doctor in A …

I owe my life to a Doctor in A & E who first heard my heart murmur, something which my much more ‘experienced’ G.P failed to do. Without the Doctor’s diligence and that of the Doctor’s more senior colleague I would have been dead within days from a ruined heart valve.

God bless that Doctor.

Many thanks also due to the infectious diseases ward staff who did so much to try and control my pain.

What could be improved

The Royal Infirmary is more akin to a M.A.S.H unit than anything else. Staff shouldn’t have to be fire-fighting all through their shifts.


Waited in A&E for 4 1/2 hours with a 10 day old…

We waited for four and half hours in A&E with my 10 day old baby, I’d had a c-section and we were concerned about my baby’s breathing rate . We were told by the doctor ‘I think he is fine’. We were offered another 4 hour wait to see.a specialist, it was 1am! We returned the next day and demanded immediate attention (we were besides ourselves with worry). Admitted to children’s ward at 9am, several doctors amd nurses were not listening to us, we told them our baby had a breathing rep rate if 120 per minute, you could tell they thought we were mad! Eventually, after carrying him to x-ray and holding him down screaming, having an ECG and the ink not working and constantly asking for the results and nurses mot being able to.take his blood pressure, a nurse happened to see his breathing rate. Finally a doctor listened to his pulse and announced he heard a murmur! It was now about 5pm. We travelled to the Freeman, where indeed they confirmed his breathing rate was 120 per minute and he had a large VSD and underwent a 7 hour open heart operation at 10 days old! This is a very brief account of my experience.

I can not bear to think about what would have happened if we had listened to the nurse and doctor in A&E or not been as assertive when we returned the next day. After learning more about a VSD my baby was presenting classic signs of heart failure. I would not have any confidence in returning to this hospital for care.