About a month ago, my partner A went into UCL hospital for an operation. Apparently this operation was very routine and he would be out by the evening. However, I'm still worried because he's been worried, and it's sort of catching.
We went into hospital at 7am and were finally seen at about half past 8. That's not a real issue here, I can understand how busy it can be in the centre of town. We were told that A would probably be going into surgery at around 4pm and that I could expect to pick him up in the evening. I was starting a new job that day, so I couldn't wait around in the hospital. Off I go.
Here's where the suck occurs:
- A was left in the waiting room from the time I left until 3:30. The room was pretty cold, the seats uncomfortable. He was not allowed water which was understandable, but it left little to be desired comfort-wise.
- I was given a number to contact A on so I could find out if he was out of surgery and able to be picked up. I called this number (and it was an expensive line) to be given this treatment:
Reception: Hospital, who what where and why blah?
Me: Hi, I have this number for A, he went into surgery around 3:30, I was hoping to speak to him.
Reception: Who this?!
Reception: WHO THAT?!
Me: His partner... I need to know if he's out of surgery and needs to be picked up.
This is where I was put on hold for about 10 minutes, only to be told, "There's no such person!"
Of course I am worried about the implications of this, and calling A's mum and best friend shows me that they have been subjected to much the same treatment.
-I give it an hour and this time I'm put through to switchboard, who send me to a phone which is never picked up.
-I call his mobile, which rings and is never answered. Now I'm very worried. A always picks up.
-By this time it's about 8pm. I head over to the hospital, give A's ward number. The man at front desks says, "You have to hurry, visiting hours are over in ten minutes, it's upstairs!" This is all the info he gives me. I try every single floor and am met with locked doors. Finally I bump into an incredibly helpful doctor who actually shows me the way (and explains that I have been using the wrong elevator; apparently one goes to patient areas and the other doesn't, although it's not marked anywhere).
-I finally find A, and hurrah! he's alive. He tells me that not only did the receptionist not pass any phone calls through to him, but they refused to give him his bag of stuff until about three hours after he'd come out of surgery. He kept asking, asking and asking. They kept forgetting, putting it off and leaving it elsewhere.
This bag had clothing, a DS, ipod, and his phone in - all things he'd been told he'd be allowed to have with him. This is the reason why I couldn't get in contact with him at all. Pathetic.
It turns out he wouldn't be able to leave that evening after all, which was fine with me; I was simply happy to see him. I'm a pathetic worrywart at times! He would make his own way home the next day.
The next day came and he was apparently forgotten about. =/
- He had to pee and due to the nature of his operation he had to have a nurse come with him to check everything was working fine. He had a great difficulty even turning in bed, so walking to the bathroom was a difficulty. Did the nurse support him? Hahahah! No.
-Once it got to around 2pm, 3 hours after he was told he'd be able to leave, A attempted to discharge himself. He was told to lie down because he was clearly delusional and sick O_o
-He was finally granted permission to leave. Now remember, A was having a lot of trouble walking. He had to head down a few corridors, down an escalator, through reception and down a set of stairs to get to a taxi to leave.
-At no point was he offered a wheelchair to at least get to the exit of the hospital. He wasn't given crutches at any point to help him walk. A was essentially homebound for the next week, something that would have definitely been easier had he been able to get up and walk. We ended up using some umbrellas to help him out. :(
The hospital was otherwise very clean and friendly, I saw no patients in beds in corridors like in the horror stories about the NHS... I do love the NHS to pieces, but at times like these I really wonder why I pay national insurance when it won't even provide for simple things such as crutches.