"Refusal to do a colonoscopy."

About: Ipswich Hospital

(as the patient),

For several months now, I have incurred extreme pain in my lower left abdomen. I have had several CT scans showing a variety of different conditions. However the worst is diverticulosis and diverticulitis.   

Recently I attended Surgical Outpatient Clinic and spoke with a doctor. At no time did the doctor look at the scans that had been taken. He asked me to climb on the bed so he could examine me.

When I did, he pushed very lightly on my abdomen. This action made me feel that he had no interest in my health, as I believe I know what a proper examination is. When I got down from the bed I was unable to sit and had to remain standing throughout the rest of the consultation. The doctor then advised me that I need to lose weight, that I was too fat to have an operation to remove any part of my bowel.

He stated to me that he doubted I ever had diverticulitis and that even if I did have diverticulosis he would not do anything for me. He said all I am willing to do is offer you is a colonoscopy.

I explained to him that I had a colonoscopy done 2 years ago at a different hospital and they only found 1 polyp which turned out to be pre-cancerous.

At no time have I thought that I have bowel cancer. However, I do believe that I am at very high risk of contracting a perforated bowel. This is what I was trying to avoid.

He organised for me to have the colonoscopy, I was then placed on a waiting list.

A number of days later I was in a lot pain so I had another CT scan done (non-contrast) this scan confirmed that I have diverticulosis and an umbilical hernia 

A few weeks later I noticed a small amount of blood in my faeces.

The following day I noticed that there was more blood than the previous day. Then the next day there was more blood.

The morning after (following the weekend) I contacted the hospital and asked the booking nurse how long it would be, as I am passing blood from my bowel. She checked and told me I was a category 5.

She then went on to tell me she had a cancellation in a few days - would I like to have it done then. I said yes. The afternoon after that phone call my wife and I drove to Ipswich Hospital to get the prep kit.

At 6am the following morning I commenced the preparation for the colonoscopy.

I arrived at the Endoscopy Unit the next day at 7.30 am as requested and was taken in for prep. My blood pressure was high 212/103, this is a regular occurrence when I am in so much pain and at this point I was in a lot of pain. Although this may not have seemed to the nurses and doctors this was the case. I suffer with complex regional pain syndrome and after 4 years with this condition although I am in a lot of pain it does not show on the outside.

The anaesthetic doctor came in and told me they would not proceed with the procedure because my blood pressure was too high. I told the anaesthetist that this is normal for me when I am in pain and that my pulse rate is normal at 50 bpm. I asked the anaesthetist if they would give me something for the high BP and they told me they could not do that. Then in the next sentence the anaesthetist told me it's not like you have cancer. If you did then we would reduce your BP so we could continue. (Go figure that one.) I advised the anaesthetist that if they did not do this procedure that day then I would. The anaesthetist asked me what I meant by that. I told them that I was in a lot of constant pain and that I was not going to put up with it anymore, so either you do this or I will I need to find out what is happening. The anaesthetist then told me that they could not let me go as I had threatened to self-harm. I asked the anaesthetist how they were going to stop me. The anaesthetist then told me they were not going ahead with the procedure and that they will write a letter to my GP explaining why.

The surgeon then said to me, oh well you’re not my problem now. I don’t have to do this it’s the anaesthetist's call.

I then got dressed and left. As I was leaving the theatre, in my opinion a sarcastic voice came from behind me saying - don’t you want something to eat? I turned and looked, it was a nurse. I then just left. I walked the 1 kilometre to Riverlink stumbling several times and waited for 4 ½ hours till my wife was able to come and get me.

At no time did the doctors refer me to ED. Nor did they attempt to get a cardiologist to me if they were so concerned for my health as with my BP being so high and that I was at risk of a stroke.

Why did they not get immediate medical attention to me?

I believe in all probability I should have been admitted and placed in the Coronary Care Unit. At least for overnight. To get my BP down. This was not the case.

When I arrived home in that afternoon, I checked my BP it was 178/93 and my pulse was 55. In my opinion, all Ipswich Hospital has done ever since is spend a lot of time, money, and resources in coming up with reasons why they won't do the procedure rather than just getting on with the job.

Responses

Response from Luke Worth, Executive Director, Ipswich Hospital, West Moreton Hospital and Health Service

Dear In need of a colonoscopy,

Thank you for taking the time to raise your concerns. Here at the Ipswich Hospital we are focused on providing the public with safe and patient centred care. In your case you raise a number of issues so I invite you to contact our Consumer Liaison Office on 0409 275 503 or email WMH_CLO@health.qld.gov.au to discuss these further.

Despite the growing demands for our services and working as hard as we can to delivers care, I expect all of our patient interactions to be respectful and professional. If this was not the case it would be worthwhile to explore the lessons that can be learnt from your experience.

Kind regards

Luke Worth

Executive Director Ipswich Hospital

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service

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