Saturday, June 14, 2008


Reduce hospital stays, reduce infections and reduce complications

Deal with Trauma on the Day. No one, neither surgeon, anaesthetist, nurse nor porter should leave the hospital until the decks are cleared.

The story behind this headline

An 89 year old man, veteran of the Burma campaign and a hospital consultant in Geriatrics and General Medicine at Bedford General Hospital has already waited 36 hours for reduction of a dislocated hip in Bedford General Hospital.

Dr Robert Miller is at increased risk of thrombosis, pneumonia, bedsores, confusion, infection and a failed reduction. And even if the hospital keeps him in a bed for ten days before operating he will still need his operation. Every day his surgery is delayed, delays his recovery and increases the NHS hospital bill. Every day your relative has their surgery delayed, delays their recovery.

The hospital says it cannot afford to open a second theatre to clear trauma cases. They cannot afford not to, and if they are short of money now to open a second theatre, they will have even less money by the time they have dealt with the complications they have caused.

This man is my father. His case is not unique. I want people to write to their MPs and demand that hospitals Deal with Trauma on the Day and post below:

Please write to your MP -not for my father but for your relatives, and for your friends and for your children

Find your MP here

Copy this letter into your email and send it to him or her.

Deal with Trauma on The Day

Dear ______

The UK is the only county in Europe which does not Deal with Trauma on the Day. The longer a patient waits for surgery, the greater their risk of complications. These complications include, infection, thrombosis, pneumonia, bedsores, confusion, failed surgery, and death. The older the patient is, the greater their risk of complications. The younger the patient is, the greater their risk of permanent disability. Hospitals cannot afford not to open a second theatre.

As an MP for ____ hospital, I ask you to campaign to Deal with Trauma on the Day
1) Raise questions in the house
2) Talk to the Chief Executive of ____ and demand action
3) Ensure that all trauma in your constituency is Dealt with on the Day.

Yours truly,

Copyright (c) Dr. Liz Miller


Anonymous said...

I understand, and sympathise with, your distress over your father's treatment. I take on board your more general argument. However, I am puzzled by your need to refer to your father's war and professional records. It implies that he deserves preferential treatment because of them. Surely "Deal With Trauma On The Day" should be universal?

Dr. Liz Miller said...

I agree absolutely - it is irrelevant that this was the hospital in which he worked for almost thirty years. I meant mre as a measure of the decay in the system. There is not sufficient slack to give even him a break.

On the other hand, perhaps if he had not worked there it might have been three days before he got his surgery. It is time to get use the Freedom of Information Act and ask our local hospitals how many cases of trauma wait for more than twenty four hours and why

And to be honest, I am a bit proud of him so maybe I could be indulged a little ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm very, very sorry about your father. That's horrible. No-one should be treated like that. I'll write - although, to be honest, I don't think it will help at all.

I got onto this blog because I read about you in the Guardian and felt really inspired by your story. You turned an awful experience into something wonderful. I wish I could find the strength to do the same.

Three years ago I had a still born baby, then I had two miscarriages and then infertility treatment which didn't work. Now I have to accept that I'll never have another live baby. But at least I have a lovely five year old son so I'm luckier than some.

Due to my experiences over the last three years I will now never go near a doctor or a hospital again - unless I think I'm going to die.

It wasn't that the doctors I dealt with were incompetent. It was just that they were very unkind. I didn't expect anyone to sit holding my hand for hours and listening to my problems.

All I wanted was just for someone to say 'I'm sorry.' That's all. But through three years, and three different hospitals, no-one has ever said it. Such a simple thing, it takes one minute, it costs nothing at all.

I just don't understand. Why do people go into the medical profession if they are people who don't care about other people? If they are people who don't have the communication skills necessary just to offer a few words of comfort?

I don't understand. But I thank you for the work that you're doing. And I'm very sorry that you had to pay such a terrible price in order to have the compassion and wisdom that you have now.

With best wishes,

Alice Jolly (for some reason the machine won't accept my message so I'll have to send it as anonymous)

Garth Marenghi said...

there is a point in your piece,

in that a lot of trauma needs to be dealt with soon rather than later,

however a lot of trauma should not be dealt with when it presents, and is better left a few days,

hence this kind of generalisation is not that useful

Dr. Liz Miller said...

Many thanks for your comment and I do take your point.
I say "Deal with" rather than "operate on" because as you say there is a distinction and sometimes it is better to wait because of swelling etc. Waiting in those cases is "dealing with" - it is the delays that cause problems.