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This is a question Doctors, Nurses, Dentists and Hospitals

Tingtwatter asks: Ever been on the receiving end of some quality health care? Tell us about it

(, Thu 11 Mar 2010, 11:49)
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My Mother in Law
My Mother in Law had spend 15 weeks in hospital when her dementia got so bad she could not live independently. The doctors also suspected cancer, but despite various tests failed to confirm this.

We eventually found her a care home, but after a few weeks we got a call in the middle of the night to say that MIL had suffered a pathological fracture of the leg - basically the big C had eaten into her bone to the extent that it just broke with the tension of her muscles and tendons.

We arrived at the hospital just as she was being wheeled into a room to be examined. MIL was clearly in agony as she was howling in pain, but the twat of a doctor said "Does she always cry out like that or is she in pain?" I nearly decked the idiot.
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 14:54, 5 replies)
I'm not so sure about this.
IMHO, it was a valid question; although possibly not asked in the most sensitive way. I concede I wasn't there, and it wasn't my relative; but please consider:

She'd just arrived, and was being examined. You know your mother and her medical history, he doesn't. Care-homes may not always provide good hand-overs, particularly on a sparsely-staffed night shift. The doctor needs to diagnose, and part of this is checking for baseline behaviour.

If it was the former option, they don't like to give unnessecary analgesia. If the latter, the longer he takes to discretely ask you carefully-phrased questions, or ensure that the answers she gives are cogent, the longer you risk leaving someone in pain; and the longer other patients wait for care. It's not pleasant, but the doctor may have taken the least-worst option.

(edited repeatedly for clarity of expression)
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 16:02, closed)
Never assume anything.
I agree it was a question that may have needed to be asked. I do understand why you thought the doctor was a cock though.
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 17:44, closed)
Fair enough guys...
People with dementia can cry out and burble etc. The screams from MIL would be recognised by a cave dweller as agony rather than dementia, why a doctor of this century was unable to distinguish pure agony from dementia I will never know.

She died four days later and she suffered almost to the end despite the morphine pump.
(, Mon 15 Mar 2010, 20:50, closed)

In that case, I retract my comment; I apologise if I was insensitive.

I realise I forgot to consider the inevitable ambulance transfer. They would have done at least basic observations and possibly offered entonox; allowing a reasonable idea of baseline mental state and pain levels. IF the doctor took their opinion seriously (and I understand it doesn't always happen), it seems appropriate to have assumed severe pain and treated accordingly.
(, Tue 16 Mar 2010, 6:36, closed)
No apology necessary
TBH I don't think I made the obvious state of MIL's pain very clear.

I don't want to dwell on things, but if I was ever in that state I would hope someone would do the honours with a pillow, O/D, or whatever...
(, Tue 16 Mar 2010, 21:52, closed)

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