Patient’s distress at lack of support in place at DGH

Ken and Georgina Smith SUS-141021-151822001
Ken and Georgina Smith SUS-141021-151822001

An Eastbourne woman had to be blue-lighted to the Conquest Hospital while in agony after staff at the DGH told her there wasn’t a back-up team in place if something went wrong during a procedure.

Georgina Smith went into hospital on September 20 for a routine colonoscopy but was whisked off to Hastings when it became apparent a small perforation had occurred.

She said, “I went into the DGH for a colonoscopy, which I have had done there before. I signed all the consent forms knowing there was a risk of perforation. What I wasn’t aware of though, was that if something was to go wrong, there wasn’t a back-up team in place in Eastbourne who would be able to deal with it.

“I had to be driven to Hastings by ambulance while I was in a lot of pain. If I had known beforehand that there wasn’t an emergency back-up team at the DGH, I would have just had the operation done in Hastings in the first place.

“I am not criticising the staff at either hospital – they were fantastic – but it is just another example of services that we need that are not available at our local hospital. It was a very distressing experience for me.”

Her husband, Ken Smith, added, “Georgina was in the Conquest Hospital for 13 days recovering from her surgery. It has taken a lot of time and money travelling over to Hastings every day to visit her.”

Dr Phil Mayhead, consultant gastroenterologist, said, “As with any procedure, the risks of undergoing a colonoscopy are discussed beforehand with the patient as part of the consent process. One of the risks, which happens very rarely, is a perforation requiring surgery and this surgery is undertaken at the Conquest Hospital.

“We are sorry that the possibility of a transfer to the Conquest was not explained clearly to Mrs Smith and we are taking steps to ensure that this is properly explained to patients in the future.”

In late 2013, all emergency and high risk general surgery moved from the Eastbourne District General Hospital to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings.