University Hospital Limerick patient claims she was ‘badgered’ into procedure without sedation

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

Email:

fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

Patient claims she was ‘badgered’ into procedure without sedation at University Hospital Limerick

Sinead Johnson issued the complaint on July 21

A PATIENT has accused University Hospital Limerick staff of “controlled calculated abuse”, claiming she was “badgered” into undergoing a procedure “without any sedation at all”.

Parteen native Sinead Johnson, who lives in Ballybunion, wrote a formal complaint following gastroscopy procedure at UHL in July last.

At this stage, Ms Johnson had been “violently sick” and had suffered two bouts of sepsis while being treated at the hospital in Dooradoyle for nearly three months.

A gastroscopy is the telescopic and visual examination of the stomach, oesophagus and upper segment of the bowel.

Ms Johnson, who is a nurse, said she had given consent to the procedure under sedation with the drug midazolam, to be carried out by a particular consultant on July 19 last.

On the morning of the procedure, at 11.45am, she was informed that she was going to endoscopy, her complaint said.

“I had no IV line in and I told the ward nurses that I had eaten at 9am and I couldn’t be scoped yet. They said they would advise endoscopy when I arrived,” she wrote.

She wrote that she was then faced with a different consultant.

“I objected to this and wanted [consultant] to do it.”

“I also said many times that I want sedation. The nurses kept saying it was a five-minute procedure and I wouldn’t feel anything as my throat would be numbed.”

She said that after the agreed consultant was “bleeped”, two nurses “badgered me into going ahead”.

“They were literally, face on face, and said that if we don’t do this, you’ll have to come back on Monday if it’s not done today.”

She said she was not given the drug midazolam.

“I then had the procedure without any sedation at all. I felt do [sic] badgered and I was hoping that [consultant] would assert himself as my doctor.”

She said that she had “great difficulty breathing and was gagging and I was in pain. I was in panic. I was sweating profusely, so much so, that I was sliding on the table. It took longer than five minutes,” she said in her complaint, dated July 21, 2018.

After the procedure, Ms Johnson said the scope was taken out, “I cried my eyes out”.

“I also want to make it clear that throughout the entire procedure, I was kicking the bedrail and slapping my thigh because of the distress the procedure was causing me. I was unable to verbalise anything as I had a gag in my mouth however the physical display of distress of me kicking the rails should have alerted them to stop the procedure,” she said.

She said she suffered from a sore throat and was distressed after the gastroscopy.

“On the way back to my ward, I was accompanied by two nurses who kept saying to me, things like: ‘You don’t think we bullied you, do you?’; ‘We didn’t bully you, did we?’ This made me uncomfortable. I am also still upset about this.”

She claimed that she did not consent to the procedure without sedation.

“I have been in hospital for nearly three months and I have had an ileostomy; two episodes of sepsis; I have been violently sick, and I am in constant pain; I cannot look after myself and am almost bedbound; I am weak standing.”

Ms Johnson added: “It was the worst experience of my life. Humiliating, demeaning without any control of what they did to me was controlled calculated abuse, plain and simple.”

In response, the UL Hospitals Group wrote to Ms Johnson on August 1, saying: “I am so sorry to hear of your experience with our service.

“I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me. Comments such as yours allow us to review the service we provide and to make changes where necessary , we hope such changes will improve our service. I will be reviewing your correspondence with the relevant staff involved in your care and will issue you with a response on or before [date].

“We are committed to making sure that individuals are satisfied with the care and service they receive at UL Hospitals.”

A spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group said: 

"To protect patient confidentiality, UL Hospitals Group is unable to comment on individual cases.  However we would like to confirm that a full investigation was carried out into the complaint made by Ms Johnson. Correspondence was issued in November which outlined options for the patient to have her complaint reviewed should she wish, which is in line with the Your Service Your Say, complaints processes.

"UL Hospitals Group sincerely regrets that any patient has a poor experience and welcomes feedback from patients and families so that we can improve services."