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.


British Citizen stuck in hospital abroad

My friend is a British citizen living abroad. He suffered a stroke and has been given agreed PCT funding to go to RHN Putney. However nobody in Surrey PCT is taking responsibility for the request from RHN to admit him to East Surrey Hospital for short term stay to ensure he has not recently suffered an acute infection and is stable after transfer. Then he needs to be transferred, where he has been accepted and given PCT funding for assessment at RHN Putney.

My friend is being blocked by Surrey PCT to enter the country as they are not willing to give a bed in an NHS hospital to an English citizen (whom I may add has paid tax and national insurance). There will be no outlay for transfer to England as this will be paid for by the family. I am disgusted by the appalling treatment my friend is receiving.


My mother’s care following a fatal stroke

My mother was taken by ambulance to East Surrey Hospital straight into the care of the Acute Stroke Unit. She was admitted to Chaldon Ward.

Every single member of staff on the ward with whom we came into contact treated my mother and the family with kindness, compassion and professionalism for the two weeks until her death. The nursing care was excellent, nothing was too much trouble, and the family were involved at all times. It was immediately evident that staff morale was high and everyone was well motivated.

The standard of cleanliness also seemed to be very good. I am unable to comment on the meals as we were not involved.

Chaldon Ward is a shining example of how every health service ward should be. How do they maintain their high standards and morale? I suspect it is the ward management and if so, how can this be used to help other managers.

I trained as an SRN in the 1970’s and have recently despaired that we would ever again reach the standards of those days. But it can be done and Chaldon Ward proves it!


Doncaster royal infirmary

admitted with pneumonia and kept being moved to different wards where i found some dirty rooms.

10pm one night I was moved to a ward and was sat in a chair for 2 hours whilst I waited for a bed with a mattress on it. where the bed was to go, there was a big stain on the floor which I asked the staff to clean up and they replied that it was only coffee (not sorry I’ll clean that up as i would have expected).

The admission ward was beautiful but i felt that after that the wards went downhill .eg in one ward, dementia patients were shouting during the night and clogging toilets up with stools. men and women were on the same ward, also at meal time a lady in one ward was having a stroke halfway through her tea, the staff food server went to her and took her food away oblivious, that was when I pressed the call nurse button.

I found the inpatient experience frightening, disturbing and disorientating – a very unpleasant experience even though the doctors were very good.


Look out for your husband

My husband was admitted to the stroke ward following a second stroke.

Tuesday I arrived just after midday. They let me go in early to help him as he is paralysed on the left side. He was sitting out of bed (his bedhead instruction said sit out 30 minutes) in his pyjamas by a window, was very cold and on the point of collapse. I asked for help to get him into bed.

His meal arrived but he was by then asleep. It was taken away again. At 4pm I went and bought him a cup of tea from the restaurant. At tea time he was offered soup and a sandwich. No other drink.

He was there a week and did not have a jug of water on his table throughout that time.

In the next bed was a very poorly man. His daughter said to me: “Look out for your husband, our father was left sitting out getting cold and caught pneumonia.” He died the next day.


TV out of order since September in Clyst Ward

My Mother is currently a patient in the Acute Stroke Unit, Clyst Ward RD&E, Exeter. I have been a regular visitor and noticed a sign on the large flatscreen tv in the Ward Day room that it has been ‘out of order’ since September!

Upon further investigation I was told that the tv worked when the aerial was shared with another ward until we went ‘digital’ then the signal was lost altogether.My question is bearing in mind how important stimulation is to recovering stroke patients WHY has it not been mended in ALL this time?

The Matron has tried unsuccessfully to achieve this and I believe they have hit a brick wall. This is not rocket science, if it cannot be done ‘in-house’ then why have you not called in the appropriate outside engineer to rectify this? I imagine some of the patients are bored out of their minds without any form of stimulation, the wards do not have personal tvs or radio.

I understand some will be too ill to want tv, but it can be watched with the aid of headphones. At the very least the Ward Day room should be somewhere patients an go to find a change of scene. Your immediate attention is required,I will be following your forthcoming actions with interest.

dog with a bone

Problems with my neurology care at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, Essex

I was referred to a neurologist at Queen’s Hospital in 2007. My husband and I feel he misled us into thinking he was going to help me with my pain symptoms (mainly severe head pain, arm numbness along with generally feeling unwell). He seemed pleasant enough at the consultation and reassured us he would get to the bottom of things. A few days later (he and I were conversing via e-mail) I started to get the impression that something was not right. In actual fact this gentleman had discharged me even before he got the results of the blood test(s) back with no further tests.

I accused him of misleading me and he then caused me extra problems by writing to my GP and others, stating that I had a somatisation disorder and needed psychiatric help. This had an effect on my future care with other neurologists as they were very dismissive of my symptoms. I ended up having 2 strokes within 1year to 18 months after this and being diagnosed with a blood clotting disorder whereby I have to take anti-clotting drugs for life. The condition I have has many other symptoms, but covers all the symptoms that were relayed to him.

I have made complaints about this but have been blanked by the board. This gentleman I believe is now going to be lead neurologist. I am in my 40s and the strokes have had quite an impact on my life. and until this gentleman is able to humble himself a little with an apology, I will continue to take matters further.


My mother was respected up to the end

I have had complaints about hospital administration in the past but would like to redress the balance and thank everyone for the fantastic care shown to my mother, from the day of her admittance after a severe stroke in October to her death 3 weeks later.

The paramedics, the A & E team, medical assessment staff and especially the staff on ward 6D were efficient, concerned, and caring not only towards my mother but also to myself at a very difficult time.

The consultant was sensitive to the need of the family to be kept informed and aware of the options open to us as to her continuing care.

Never for one moment did I feel that she was not of the utmost importance to everyone.

Death is never easy but we came through it knowing that she had been cared for and respected up to the end.

Thank you all.


Thank you DRI ward 16 staff

After having a stroke, I was admitted to ward 16 at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary. I received brilliant care from all staff on the ward.

I was very impressed with the way the staff cared for the older patients – they were very kind and sensitive; the way they spoke to the patients was excellent. The aftercare has also been excellent. Thank you for all the great care.


Small acts of compassion make such a huge difference

My Dad recently passed away on Ridgeway Ward. He had been in Chesterfield Royal for 4 weeks after losing his swallow function due to a stroke. Throughout his time on the ward, his care was exceptional and thorough. They tried everything they could to treat his condition including giving him physio on his throat and feeding him through a tube directly into his stomach.

He responded to antibiotics after his first chest infection. Unfortunately his throat was very open and saliva getting on to his chest meant he got into a vicious circle of constant chest infections. Ultimately he couldn’t recover from this.

Discussions with family about decisions about do not resuscitate and the end of life care pathway were handled thoughtfully and sensitively by all staff involved. They put Dad in a side room and put another bed in there so Mum got to spend his last 6 nights with him. The staff were hugely attentive to Mum and made sure she had constant cups of tea and coffee and meals. She wasn’t very hungry one morning and only wanted a banana so they rang around to find one for her. The very next morning they remembered this and made sure one was available for her. Another morning, they asked her what she wanted and she joked she wanted a full English breakfast and a staff member who is apparently well known on the ward for her resourcefulness immediately came back with one for her.

During such a trying time, my Mum did manage to cause hilarity on the ward. She was popping home one morning and absentmindedly was trying to leave the ward with her slippers on. A staff member witnessed this and thought she was a patient trying to escape. They took her to one side and asked her what she was doing. She said “I’m going home” and a doctor later told her she had made her laugh for being arrested as an absconding patient!

We have to make special mention of a staff member at Cafe Royal at the rear entrance of the hospital. She was a middle aged lady with dark hair. We were going for a coffee whilst they gave dad a wash. She saw from our indecision at the counter how upset we were and she couldn’t have been more compassionate. She came up and offered to put food aside for our lunch and she even gave us some cake to cheer us up. We saw her the next day and she said hello and said she was glad to see us again as she knew that meant Dad was still with us. Finally just after Dad died, we were leaving the hospital for the last time and she was on duty again. She gave Mum a hug and consoled her that Dad hadn’t left her and told all she needed to do was throw a pebble in water and see the ripple and that was a sign he was there. Some people say that angels are the people you meet in life who show you random acts of kindness. This lady is indeed a true angel.

When Dad died, he was surrounded by his wife and children. His passing was very peaceful and pain free. This is due to the fantastic efforts of Mr Naylor, Emily and other doctors and all the wonderful nursing staff and care assistants on Ridgeway Ward. They are all a credit to their profession and their kindness and compassion made a horrendously sad time easier to endure. Thank you so much for everything you did for Dad.