READER REPORT:

Our hospital system is 'a joke'

NAME WITHHELD
Last updated 08:00 16/06/2014

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Is NZ's health care system good enough?

16 years of pain trying for a diagnosis Heath help when I needed it Sitting on a ticking time bomb Our hospital system is 'a joke' Please give our teen a hysterectomy 'Alive but with no quality of life'

Unexplained, crippling, vomit-inducing, abdominal pain.

Eighteen months of this pain, many hospital specialist visits, thousands of dollars of investigations, many hours off work and the fear of even leaving home.

To begin with it was a little niggle, a bit of nausea, quickly passing and not really associated with anything in particular.

As the months progressed, the pain increased, and each episode came sooner and lasted longer.

One of my granddaughters asked if Grandma was dying. I missed my oldest daughter's 21st birthday, instead getting hauled off in the back of an ambulance.

On each scan or CT it showed a significant umbilical hernia. I asked if this was the cause. "No" was the resounding response.

In the mean time several doctors at work, I am a practice nurse, looked after me while I lay on the floor at work, writhing in pain, vomiting and wishing I would just die.

I asked more than once if it was the hernia strangulating and each time they sent me to the hospital I was discharged again with more drugs to try and the insinuation I was wasting the hospital's time.

January 2014 and I decided to record each pain event, how long it lasted, and what medication I took to try to get rid of the pain.

For the month of January I had 19 episodes, 17 required oral and injected morphine.

I went back to work after annual leave. I was back just one shift plus one hour when it hit again, an hour after taking all my prescribed morphine, the pain still wasn't settling.

A lovely doctor from work came and did an assessment and found the hernia strangulating, purple and beyond painful to touch. She sent me to hospital.

Six hours waiting in the emergency department, the medical team finally decided to put me on the acute list. The surgery didn't happen for another 24 hours.

During the wait the surgeon came and said he didn't believe the surgery would help, but they would still do it.

They did the surgery and five months later I remain pain free.

Our primary health teams are amazing but our hospital system is a joke. If they had operated sooner my family and I wouldn't have had to go through such an emotionally and physically draining time.


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