67 year old husbands heart problem

My husband visited our GP in May to complain about tightness in his chest, palpitations & dizziness. He was told this could possibly be due to a leaky valve & referred him to the Ilkeston cardiology dept.

In June the Doctor there put him on beta blockers & referred him to the warfarin clinic as any heart treatment would require his blood to be less sticky, in order to avoid blood clots, which could lead to a stroke. The cardiologist in Ilkeston Hospital also referred him to the cardiology dept at the Nottingham City Hospital.

An appointment was sent through for him for early Oct, which even our GP thought was rather a long wait. This appointment was then cancelled by the hospital & another one made for the end of October.

My husband sent a letter of complaint to the Chief Exec of the QMC in August. This letter remains unacknowledged but he has now been sent a fresh appointment for slightly earlier in Oct. Not good, is it, when one is left waiting for 5 months between seeing a GP to seeing a heart specialist. Even then he doesn’t think the appointment will give him more than another referral after that doctor has seen & spoken to him.

Meanwhile our life is on hold until we know when or even if, there is going to be any treatment. He wouldn’t have had to wait this long to have a bad tooth looked at!


far too long wait for results

After I have been found a hypertrophic cardiopatia I was referred to Castle Hill Hospital for further investigation. To start with, I had an eco-cardio test at Wilberforce in Story Street (Hull), but they never sent the results to the cardiologist department. When I went there, I had to start again from the beginning with another ecography and thank God they had the same result. Because this condition, I was planned for a 24 hours ECG (Holter) and a stress test. I had the first one but no the second one as they never booked me in. The ECG was 13 weeks ago and no results back so far. In the meantime, 5 weeks ago I had to go to A&E with a chest pain again. They couln’t find some kind of abnormality in my ECG but because the most important test to be able to diagnose what’s going with my heart wasn’t available yet after 8 weeks, they just decided to increase my medication to reduce the palpitations and wait for the coming results. That was 5 weeks ago. Then, 3 weeks ago I had to book an urgent appointment with my GP because I

Started with palpitations again. He was surprised of knowing that after all that time, nothing was back. He rang Castle Hill next day to request the results as priority and after 3 weeks, nothing. My symptoms are getting worse everyday. I’m only 40 with a high risk stroke family background. Unacceptable!

Ungry patient

My experience of cardiac & general care over the years

I collapsed in Turkey in Sept 2006. I was diagnosed by Xmas as having Angina and that I would have treatment within 4 weeks. Apt came for 6 weeks into the New Year. I was admitted by emergency in early Feb & stayed in a general ward (which has now been demolished) for 5 days.

It was filthy & I had to wash in the toilet wash basin with paper towels. For a shower, I was taken to a female ward. The patient next to me was unable to feed himself and food was just left on the tray for two days until I complained. There was a lot of noise on the ward one night & I investigated as it was disturbing all the patients. 8 – 10 nurses seemed to be having a party. A sister in the morning had been informed in the about the noise, but did not know it was from nurses. The ward was not cleaned in all that time. An injection file tip was left under the bed for the whole time I was there. I was transferred to the cardiac ward for 3 days, but discharged home as waiting time for angiogram was still 4 weeks.

I was emergency admitted again to the cardiac ward in March for 5 days & sent home, still 4 weeks. I was in a room with no heating during this time with sub zero temperatures & snow outside. I would go into the day room to keep warm.

I finally went to Wythenshawe in April for angiogram, but had to have 4 stents put in. The cardiologist from Tameside said I scared him to death when he saw what was required. I collapsed again at the end of August and was transferred to Wythenshawe & received a further 3 x 25mm stents.

After a few weeks I started to get palpitations and these grew slowly worse.

Thanks to Jeanene, the cardiac nurse, who is marvellous, I went to appointments with registrars & my consultant. They tried changing my drugs & gave me a 24 hour ecg, but the palpitations went to 24 hours a day and i was becoming exhausted & having angina attacks. I went to the clinic in 7th January 2007 and after a two hour wait, I saw a registrar who said,” I know it’s bad, but try to ignore it !” I said how can I and he replied to split my beta blocker in half & take it morning & evening and see him in 6 months. A written report was typed on Feb 8th & posted on March 7th.

I grew steadily worse & could not work. I paid to see a top consultant in Leeds in April and he admitted me for angiogram in Leeds General Infirmary in June. He found that my left artery was severely blocked and I need a bypass. They also found that I was severely anaemic and required 2 units of red blood cells before discharge. The palpitations stopped.

I was requested by the surgeon to have a GI tract investigation. I was told 8 weeks for appointment. After 7 weeks I found that someone, not my Doctor, had asked for an appointment with a cardiologist. My doctor faxed Tameside for an urgent appointment, but this went missing until after, through PALS, I had an appointment from Stepping Hill 10 days later.

They were marvelous, carrying out 3 different procedures in 4 months, giving written reports on the day and concluding that it was aspirin causing a bleed through a hiatus hernia. My thanks to Mr Agwunobi & staff.

The surgeon requested I see a haematologist before surgery. Again, after 6 weeks, I still did not have an appointment. I found that someone again from my Doctors had sent the request to Leeds Infirmary, which does not have a haematology department, it is at St James. Through PALS, I obtained an appointment at North Manchester General in 2 weeks, although put back a further week. The Doctor took blood & urine samples & said I would have the results in 2 weeks. After constant calls to his secretary & a fax from my Doctor, no results were forthcoming. Again PALS came to my aid and after an email to him, demanding the results or else, they came out 7 weeks & 1 Day after my consult & were all clear. I am scheduled for bypass in April at Leeds.

John W

Unsympathetic doctor at qmc

After experiencing palpitations most of my adult life i was put on medication to control them. After suffering a really bad attack i went to the qmc emergency room and was subsequently admitted to ward b3. the nurses were very nice and my treatment was ok, Then i was seen by a doctor who said to me,, you must stop coming to the hospital with these palpitations!!! He was patronizing and very rude, making me feel extremely silly, whilst i do appreciate that the palpitations are not life threatening (albeit very uncomfortable), i did not deserve to be spoken to in this very rude and uncaring manner, i am just an ordinary person and was very scared by these awful symptoms,which were worse than i ever had before.

This doctor said to me at one point,, hearts kill people you know,, no kidding sherlock my father had a heart transplant!!!!!


A break down in communication between doctors

I went to the Medical Assessment Ward at Doncaster Royal Infirmary hospital with chest pains and palpitations. The nurses were friendly and so were the health care assistants.

The communication between doctors when changing shifts could have been better. Also not having to wait so long for information.

I did feel angry and upset because I had been told that there was a possibility that I had a blood clot, the doctor changed shift and did not inform the next doctor. I had to ask before they checked me, I felt there was no continuation of care. I left the hospital feeling very uninformed and not knowing why I had ended up there in the first place. I felt I did not really get any answers. I saw three doctors whilst I was there and they did not seem to be any continuity/communication between them.


NHS Hypothyroid treatment not effective

I went to my GP in Feb 2007 having suffered for several years from vague symptoms which I had put up with thinking they were probably down to ageing and perimenopause. These had escalated to the point where my work was beginning to be affected. I was seriously considering leaving work as a consequence. As I have worked full time for more than 32 years including bringing up 2 children on my own this was not a decision I would consider making lightly. I had also had numbness and pins and needles in my hands at night which my husband had pressed me to do something about as I was waking several times a night to get the feeling back by shaking them. On their own the symptoms are not life threatening but taken together are quite debilitating.

My GP initially diagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome and gave me several options, one of which was do nothing and it may go away by itself with rest. Given my work situation this did not seem a viable option. My GP then listened to my other symptoms, excessive weight gain despite exercise and healthy diet, hair loss, confusion, memory loss, tiredness and lack of energy and decided to take blood tests. He called me back into the surgery to advise the tests had revealed thyroid antibodies indicating auto immune disease which was attacking my thyroid. He started me on 75mg thyroxine, advising I would probably have to take this for the rest of my life and it may take a few months for me to feel better. He was very thorough and I have absolutely no complaint with his attitude or clinical treatment and diagnosis. He has always been extremely informative, helpful and honest. In fact he adimitted some people come back following treatment with thyroxine and shake his hand saying they’ve got their lives back, others do not feel much different.

After about 8 weeks on thyroxine there was some improvement. I lost around a stone in weight and started to feel less tired and more energetic. However, the mental confusion and pins and needles remained (and still do 18 months later) together with an inability to control my temperature and the hair loss. there are other symptoms which I won’t list here for fear of you falling asleep reading all this (I have not lost my sense of humour throughout!!). I’ve realised the outer third of my eyebrows has been missing for as long as I can remember – at least 10 years – this is one of the clinical ‘signs’ of hypothyroidism apparently. Relatives and friends have commented on my hair loss and weight gain so it is not in my imaginiation!

As my ‘recovery’ was not as good as my GP had hoped for he decided to refer me to an endocrinologist at Broomfield hospital. Unfortunately it appears this is where the understanding attitude seems to end and the clinicians seem to rely wholly on blood results, not listening at all to the patient’s signs and symptoms. In the year + since I was referred I have seen 3 different people and the actual consultant only twice, once after an hour and three quarter wait – I have to make up the time I take out from work. A battery of tests has been done and various conflicting information given. One (I presume registrar) actually told me to reduce the amount of thyroxine and the consultant told me to stop the beta blockers (for palpitations which pre date the thyroid diagnosis) as these may be making me feel tired. I felt very ill when I did this and on reading the patient advice notes realised these are not to be stopped suddenly. At no point was the auto immune aspect of the condition explained and I have had to resort to a support group to try to find out more information. I have been unable to get any of my blood or other test results. Have been given no explanation of what the tests were for or what the normal ranges are and have been given incorrect information on a subsequent visit which contradicted information given in a previous one with no adequate explanation as to why. I have read much which indicates there are alternative treatments but the consultant was dismissive of these to the point of being almost rude, implying people who use them are cranks and ‘quacks’. Alternative remedies were in place long before modern drug therapies and are often the basis or forerunners of them so I do not understand this attitude. As alternative therapies have been used with success on animals I fail to see the problem in using them where conventional means do not seem to be effective.

The consultant appears to now be saying my symptoms are not related to my thyroid and suggested I might be depressed!! If that’s true I’ve been depressed for the past 10 or so years!! On my last visit he had two other people in the room who said nothing; he did not introduce them neither did he explain who they were, why they were there or ask if I minded their being there. I came prepared with questions written down as my memory and recall are so poor but left feeling deflated and humiliated and was not given time to write anything down. The written response I received in the post to the blood tests was vague and contained no data so I am unable to make any comparisons with the initial tests I have managed to obtain from my GP. I was dismissed with the final comment that he would arrange for a brain scan to check if there is a neurological cause, which he admitted was unlikely. I was left feeling this was like a ‘last resort’ and he was just trying to placate me. I came away feeling I was not being taken seriously or that he thought i was making it up. As I have physical signs as well as symptoms – swollen ankles etc this is clearly not the case. Ask my boss who’s had to pay for the incorrect orders I’ve made and the fact my feet are so swollen I cannot get shoes on I have previously worn and can’t buy new ones as I can’t get them on.

Well as you have no doubt fallen asleep by now I will bring this episode of war and peace to a conclusion. Suffice to say to date I have mixed feelings about my ‘treatment’. My GP has tried hard within the NHS’s limited guidelines to provide a satisfactory level of care. The specialist on the other hand seems completely hidebound by ‘convention’ and is not prepared to consider alternative diagnoses or treatments nor does he listen to my signs or symptoms preferring to rely on what I have discovered from my own researches to be inadequate and sometimes misleading blood tests.


Wonderful care for my mother at James Cook University Hospital

It took a few months of my mother getting to know the paramedics and the staff of the acute assessment ward, as she was repeatedly brought into this ward with severe palpitations, and some dizziness. The staff were absolutely brilliant, and while my mother was embarrassed as no sooner had she taken up a bed, than she was discharged many times over about three or four months. This is in no way a complaint as the staff would reassure my mother that she had done the right thing by calling the hospital, and that she was in the right place and that blood tests, ECG’s & observations were absolutely necessarry for someone with her condition.

These few months were a time when both my mum and I grew a little weary and concerned, but each time either of us voiced concerns we found the doctors from both accute assessment and cardiology to be easy to talk to, and very clear and gentle, alleviating any worry or anxiety we had. Not only that, but the busy nurses always found time to cheer us up.

Dr James, my mothers consultant and surgeon was wonderful during his consultation with my mother during an appointment made as an outpatient before her treatment. He reassured us that a pacemaker was the way to go, and we went home happy in the knowledge that mum would soon be fixed. While waiting to be called in for the op, mum had once again been rushed in by the paramedics, and this time was taken to the cardiology pre admissions ward and informed she could possibly be in for the rest of the week as they were trying to fit her surgery in. During this time, although she had prepared herself for her operation and been informed that it would be within the week, she was discharged. We were a little upset, but only in the sense of being a little high with our own thoughts that mums surgery was imminent, and this was a new ward to us, it seemed on that afternoon that from our emotional high we were now somewhat down. I was very concerned, and thought perhaps there were people who’s need was greater than ours. My mother was by tea-time looking forward to getting into her own home once more, and we had resigned ourselves to the idea that she would be called in by appointment for her procedure. Once again the nurses on this ward made us feel better, they were so sweet and considerate and warm.

We did not have to wait for an appointment because once more within the same week mum was rushed into the acute assessment unitl with chest pains, this time after the usual tests she was taken back to the other ward. I think it was the very next day, and during visiting hours, that i was able to see she was comfortable before she went in for her surgery, an ablation and the pacemaker. The very next day i came to visit to find her sat up in her chair and dressed and ready to go home.

It has been just over a week since her op and she looks and feels great. We cannot thank you enough. You are amazing.


Treatment for chest pains at Royal Hallamshire

I was suffering from chest pains and heart palpitations. The treatment I received for this at the Royal Hallamshire was prompt and well explained to me.

However, there were used tissues left near my bed when I came into the ward and it did take a few hours for me to get painkillers – I had to remind the nurses.


Great staff, poor food

I was in Northern General for between a week and two weeks. Patients and staff had a really good sense of humour. All staff were very good to me, the nurses were great. The doctors gave me a slating, which I expected, but were kind to me.

I was treated with respect and dignity throughout. I have all respect for the doctors and nurses.

The only problem was the food provided. It wasn’t good. I’ve been in the Hallamshire and the food was much better there.

I would give them eight or nine out of ten overall. I have recovered well. I came back with lots of information and more tablets than my local pharmacist!

I thought the service was well. I would like to say Thank you to Northern General for their care. NG was brilliant – I enjoyed it!