The Broken Clavicle Part III

It’s 6.15am, I’m up getting ready to go to the hospital for my operation. I was told nil by mouth from midnight, so no pain killers for me this morning!

I arrive at my designated ward at 6.50am, 10 minutes early. Sign in and take a seat, I’m on the trauma list as an emergency patient. Less than 4 of us on that list. I noted when I took my seat that there where about 6 of us in the waiting room.

As time goes by, plenty of people arrive in the waiting room, all of them looking comfortable and showing no signs of pain, unlike my self, I’m in agony. Even with painkillers sitting down had been painful! Without them breathing is painful!

We asked the nurses several times what was going on, told them the pain I was in and thatI was having troubles breathing. NOTHING happened, they didn’t care and told us nothing. Eventually we get through to someone after 2 hours and I’m seen by myanaesthetist who quickly got me some pain killers and rushed me through the process. Before that everyone else in the waiting room had been seen some time before me, several of them a few times. That isn’t exactly what you expect when you are a ‘trauma’ patient and the only one showing any sign of pain.

4 Hours later and I’m on the operating table and I don’t even remember getting an injection. I just remember coming too in recovery and shortly later being taken to a ward to recover.

So far I’ve been let down by the health service at several points. I was told in A&E that there was no way they would operate on such a break and that it was fairly simple. Instead of having the A&E Consultant doctor give a medical opinion, I would have rather had an orthopaedic doctor come and give their opinion, then I might have saved nearly 2 weeks of pain and discomfort and I wouldn’t need so much physio.
And when I was waiting for my surgery I was told to come in for 7 without taking any painkillers despite my injury and then had to wait for several hours before I was seen. Again not impressed. If I have any kind of injury like this again then I’m not sure I can go to my local NHS hospital and it crossed my mind in the waiting room on the morning of the surgery, I was very tempted to walk away and go and get booked in at a private hospital, as I doubt I would get treated in the same way! And I know I would be seen by the same doctors.

7 thoughts on “The Broken Clavicle Part III

  1. The health service can make a right balls up of things sometimes, we had a similar run around after Seb bit through a chunk of his tongue! We where asked to go see a special paediatric speech specialist in some backend part of the hospital in the middle of the afternoon only to eventually find their office and be told they are closed (this is around 3pm!). They reluctantly saw us and said that due to his age (2 at the time) he’d need an operation and referred us to another hospital for an early morning visit with another specialist. Due to the nature of his injury he couldn’t eat so didn’t take too kindly to only having ice cream (which hurt!) and water for the evening and was very irritable when we did get to the hospital the following morning with his younger sister in tow.

    After an hour of waiting around (an hour beyond our “appointment”…..) we where told that his injury wasn’t actually that serious and it should heal itself! Big relief that he didn’t need surgery but still would have been useful to have been told that yesterday!

    Going on your story the terms piss up and brewery spring to mind. It’s shocking how they can get it all so wrong sometimes!

  2. Let me guess – Mayday? You hear far too many stories like this about that place.
    Glad you’re getting some action on it though. How’s the pain since the op? Probably too early to tell. Here’s wishing you a faster and less painful recovery from now on.
    (excuse the familiarity, I may not have commented before but I’ve been following your exploits for a while.)

  3. I work for the NHS. I would definitely recommend writing a letter to the Chief Exec, detailing your experiences and exactly where you felt the care fell short of that which you would expect.

    You need to report the problems so they can (hopefully) fix them!

  4. I too broke my clavicle this summer in a candidate for the most ridiculous cycling accident ever – a marmot ran in front of my my wheel and sent me flying. I can certainly recognise and sympathise with the pain and discomfort you’ve described.

    I wanted to pass on though something I found out about during my treatment. Apparently, there are two schools of thought within the NHS on fractured collarbones: one prefers a conservative, non-invasive approach (i.e. with no operation) while the other prefers to operate and actively mend it.

    My collarbone was allowed to heal naturally. When I went for a consultation four weeks after the accident, the bone had re-connected but is pretty disfigured. I could have pushed for an operation to get it mended so that it looked perfect but this would have involved two operations and a lot of time without sport. On balance, I was happy to live with a slightly ugly bone.

    It sounds like your collarbone was not healing as well as mine but I just wanted to let you know that the decision not to operate immediately after the accident is, I understand, a fairly common one.

    Also, the two weeks of pain is also, I think, fairly common too. It took three weeks before the pain started to wear off for me and I could sleep without industrial strength pain killers.

    Hope your recovery goes well and that you’re back on the bike again soon.

    1. I’ve got nothing to compare it to so it’s hard to say. All i know is that the break i had was in 2 places and went straight through, so it was in 3 pieces and had little chance of healing by it’s self without a major disform. I wouldn’t mind a minor one but it was looking bad.

      Either way my recover after the op is much better than just keeping it in a sling.

      It’s an annoying break to have if you are a very physical person as you can’t really do much 🙁

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