Colonoscopy Troubles

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Yesterday I went in for a colonoscopy for the 5th time, but it had been 10 years due to being out of work and some previous bad experiences with doctors that have a poor bed side manner. I have Crohn's disease or UC, but not really sure which one. I told my doctor before the test that I was in a lot of pain and to be careful. I said if I can't handle the pain we need to stop and I told them I wanted to be put out as much as possible. Well for the most part that was what happened, but at the end of the test I started to come to. I told them at that time that I needed more pain medicine I can feel the pain. They responded to me by saying no, we are almost done. I tried to say stop, but I was under just enough that I couldn't get another word out, so they continued and for being almost done it seemed like an eternity as I was in horrible pain from the scope being passed in and out of my back side many times. All I could do was flintch and try to deal with the pain. Now they know that I have an active bowel disease going on in my rectum and passing that scope in and out was painful. This probably went on for 5 to 10 minutes I suffered. Once I finally was in recovery they asked me to eat and drink something. I was so upset with the doctor at this time I refused and told them I just want to leave. I am so upset about this I couldn't sleep at all. I need to file a complaint, but I don't really want the doctor to get in trouble over this. I just want her to understand what she put me through and in the future she needs to listen better to her patients. When I said I needed more pain reliever I meant that if you don't then the other option is to stop the test. I really didn't need her taking so many biopsies of my rectum, when it was so tender and painful. I am angry that she didn't listen to me and stop. Now I don't trust her. I am not sure what if anything I should do about this, but I feel that she didn't put my comfort as the 1st priority, instead it was more important to finish the test and make me hurt. I think at the very least that is a poor bedside manner and could even be considered unprofessional of her. It was like I was petrified. Unable to move or talk and I was in so much pain. If I had come out of the medicine fog at that time I would have said stop now and if she didn't I would have got up and walked out the door scope and all. So now I am faced with having to write a letter or E-mail to the clinic manager letting them know what had happened to me. They use Versed so she probably figures that I won't remember anything. I wish that was the case. Should I complain to the Manager or someone else is the question?

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  • Posted

    So sorry to hear about this Craig. I too had a very bad experience but mine was with a gastroscopy under sedation (other end!)

    As a former nurse I understand exactly what happened here. The sedation used in this type of procedure doesn't put you under at all. What it does is make you forget about the experience. Or that's what it's supposed to do...

    In some people the amnestic effect unfortunately doesn't work and they come out of it remembering some or all of the procedure, which can be very traumatic. This is particularly likely to happen in the over-60s or in those who have cardio-respiratory problems, as they are only given a half dose. However, it can happen in younger, healthy individuals who are given the full dose.

    Many people struggle or complain loudly about pain under these circumstances, but very few have any recollection of doing so afterwards. Unfortunately the staff tend to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach and assume that no one will remember what happened. This can even lead to physical restraint being applied in order to complete the procedure (which happened in my case). I remember being incredibly angry after my procedure and shouting at the nurse as I was being wheeled out. She wasn't unkind, but she laughed and assured me I'd crash out in the next few seconds, would sleep for a few minutes and wouldn't remember a thing when I woke up!

    Every hospital should have a complaints procedure, with someone you can write to. You should call the hospital switchboard to find out who this is. I think it would be useful to complain, as medical and nursing staff need to be sensitised to this problem, which usually gets swept under the carpet. If enough people enter formal complaints, it could eventually lead to a change in procedures.

    This can be compared to the situation in the 60s and 70s (when I was nursing) when a small but significant minority of people were coming round from anaesthesia on the operating table while under the influence of paralysing drugs which stopped them from signalling that they were awake. This went on for many years, with nurses (who usually heard these accounts from patients) being forbidden to discuss the problem, on pain of dismissal. It was only in the 1980s that new methods were developed, initially in the US, to overcome this problem, after which the authorities finally admitted it had been happening for a long time.

    In summary: complain, make sure your voice is heard. But don't expect any direct results. The benefits for others will gradually ensue from a steady trickle of complaints, even if there's no closure for those complaining.

    Finally, I'm so sorry you've had to go through this. I was totally traumatised by my own experience and still occasionally have flashbacks now, three years later. But the anger does eventually wear off. I hope too that you soon recover from the physical after-effects.

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  • Posted

    Pals is a patient and Liason service dept and   has an office in all  NHS Hospitals.  Go and have a talk to them!   You can make it anonymous if you wish and it could help someone else as it is  discussed with the relevant department!

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