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Medical nightmare - advice on what to do next

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Chickle84 | 00:58 Fri 27th Jan 2012 | Body & Soul
45 Answers
In May 2010 my mum suffered a fracture in her ankle which was misdiagnosed as cellulitis then arthritis by her GP. The fracture wasn't picked up on an xray and her doctor insisted the bone wasn't damaged an encouraged her to keep walking on it and absolutely refused to send her for a second xray, even though her sysmptoms were classic fracture symptoms. After 6 weeks, mum had an MRI scan privately, and it was discovered that not only had she fractured her ankle but by walking on it (as encouraged by her GP) she had broken her tibia. The doctor said her bone was so damaged it looked like she'd been in a car accident and that the leg would need to be pinned. The private hosptital contacted mum's GP and she was rushed straight to the local NHS hospital for an op. The doctors at the NHS hospital operated but, much to everyone's surprise, didn't pin the leg, saying that mum's leg had two nice clean fractures, This contradicted what she was told at the private hospital. The fractures didn't heal. Mum suffered from bone over-growth, then the leg became crooked. The fractures were rebroken and the leg plastered agin. The leg became severely twisted. Eventually, she had to go into an external frame for several months. At this stage, she started to suffer with serious issue infections. The cage was removed in spring last year but had not fixed the problem. In july, they decided they would pin the leg after all.However, as mum's skin was so severely damaged from the infections, further operations just aggrevated the situation. Most recently, mum has had to have the screws holding in the pin removed, due to excessive pain, infections and fluid build up. They are now trying compression bandages but this also seems to be failing, as my mum is in constant unbearable agony. She is being sent for another xray next week. At best case, they will get the pain and swelling reduced and, after skin grafts, my mum will have some sort of movement back in her leg. The more likely scenario, which the doctors are hinting at more and more often, is that my mum will lose her leg from the knee downwards. Me and my family at at our wits end. My mum is in her late 60's, my dad's in his 70's. For nearly 2 years their whole lives have been put on hold and have revolved around trips to the doctor or to the hospital, My mum has had 7 operations in less than two years and is now suffering with severely high blood pressure. She is in constant unbearable agony (and she has an expretermly high pain threshold normally, having suffered all her life with chronic back pain) and the whole situation is beginning to take a serious toll on the wellbeing of both mum and dad. It's unbelievable to think that what started as a simple stress fracture is now looking more and more like a case for amputation and nothing the doctors do seems to be helping her, in fact, it seems to be one botch job after another. If you could see the state of mum's leg - it's severly disfigured and ulcerated. The situation has got so bad now that she can barely move from her bed to get to the bathroom. My mum is normally such an active person it's just heartbreaking to see. My family and I just don't know what to do next to help her. The doctors seemed to have drawn a blank and she's almost turned into a bit of an experiment as far as they're concerned. The doctors and nurses she's seeing have all been lovely but no-one is offering her any real solutions. She's just suffering in agony and seeing her consultant once a fortnight and I really don't think he knows how much she's suffering. Does anyone have any advice on what we can do or who we can contact to discuss mum's case? She's lost the best part of the last 2 years of her life and I can't see how things are going to improve for her as things seem to be getting worse. We really don't know what to do. Private treatment probably isn't an option I'm afraid as we don't have the funds. I'd be grateful of any advice however. Thanks for reading! Beavis x


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How very sad for you all Chickle - maybe Sqad will have an answer? All the very best to your Mum.
This is so sad Beavis and I feel so much for your poor Mum and your family.

As Anne has said, perhaps Sqad will have some advice for you. He usually logs in reasonably early, although he has had some medical problems himself recently.

Have you actually been to see the consultant with your Mum. If not, I would go with her prepared with notes and try to get as much information as you can from him. Don't take any nonsense or be fobbed off. Tell him everything. Just how much your mum is suffering and what this is doing to your family.

I do wish you all the best.
I think someone needs to start shouting pretty loudly!! I've found it very true with consultants over the years....those that shout the loudest get heard!! If you can't do it...take someone with you who can.

That story is horrendous.
It might be a good idea to contact P.A.L.S. to ask for their advice. They are there to help patients and their families with all sorts of problems.

I agree ummmm. It's very sad but true that those that kick up a fuss and shout the loudest get heard!! I have got louder and louder and more and more forceful the older I get.

It is a dreadful story and has saddened me greatly.
Any chance your Mum could be taken to a different hospital to see a different consultant?
I would also look into this being a negligence case.
Best wishes to you and your family.
I agree about the medical negligence, starting with the GP.
The Daily Mail would be very interested in this kind of story - not for sensationalism but to highlight these kind of problems. There was a brilliant story in the DM today of a granddaughter who refused to accept that her Gran was dying in hospital, she was being starved to death as she wasn't being given the proper food or care (which I have seen in a hospital with my own relative) and she brought her back from the brink of death by staying at the hospital and feeding her and caring for her herself.
Threaten them that you will go to the papers with the story if they don't do something to get your poor Mum at least some proper pain relief.
This is been going on for 2 years....and from what you've said in your is negligence.
My mum was in hospital for the last three weeks of her life and I was appalled by what I saw. If it hadn't been for me being with her for most of the time, nights as well, I dread to think what would have happened to her. It really did open my eyes as to what hospitals were like for the elderly.
It's awful. My Uncle was in for 3 months. Between me and my sister (and my Dad when he could) we had to cover all meal times....or he didn't get fed.

They said to us once 'it's not visiting time'.....big mistake!!
My Mum too Lottie - she was in for 10 weeks and thankfully lived to tell the tale, but if our family hadn't insisted that she was fed intravenously, she was getting weaker and weaker through lack of food, she would have died...... a nightmare from 1997 I try to forget, some dreadful nurses too, rude and uncaring, left Mum in a real mess, soiling herself as she had C Diff, so undignified and completely helpless and dependent on them! I'm afraid I completely lost my rag and yelled at the nurses (especially when I found them all sitting around chatting about boyfriends in a side room with their feet up on the table!) i have so many horror stories from that time, I could write a book! but its left me with a great fear of going into hospital myself.
I think they got so fed up with me watching them and chasing them up - and I am sure that is why they put her in a private room with a loo and a bathroom for me. Actually, they were not over stretched, they were just lazy and uncaring. There were a few really nice dedicated nurses though who worked like trojans.
Totally agree Lottie - same here, they put Mum in a nice side ward to get rid of me at their desk all the time! Their work rota was on the wall and I sudied this every visit to see when the nice nurses were on and to get myself prepared for war with the evil ones!
I remember when my Mum was really ill once and we thought she wouldn't make it but fortunately my brother was in BUPA and he took her to a well known hospital in Yorkshire and they soon sorted her out and she came e good as new.
This is why I was asking if your Mum could get a second opinion from a different consultant.
*e* should have read *home*
I sat with my Mum one night and one two or three of the nurses were at the reception desk discussing their salaries and pay slips and drinking coffee for a couple of hours, totally ignoring the bells and calls for help. I think they forgot I was in with my Mum and that I could hear every word they said.

It was nearly three years ago now Ann and I still have awful flashbacks and feel dreadful that my Mum died in such conditions. At least I was there with her when she died.

My husband was in the same hospital after a heart attack only one month after Mum died and I couldn't believe it was the same hospital. The treatment and attention was amazing. Couldn't fault it. It upsets me so much that older people get treated so badly. Hopefully, it will improve, there has been a lot of press about it lately and things seem to be moving forward.
I remember the nasty lady consultant saying to me about my Mum, who had had just had two brain haemorrhages in 10 days and seemed to be dying "Well what DO you expect? She's OLD! (Mum was 73 at the time! and survived, she is 88 next month!)
That is dreadful Anne. My Mum was almost 89 and was failing both physically and mentally. 73 is not considered particularly old these days. I am only 8 years off 73!! It is very worrying.
That nurses station.......Hmmmm!!!!

It's too late to go into it...I'll annoy myself and won't be able to sleep....

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