To any Healthcare Workers out there….

This article was submitted to my ‘Mighty’ page but has been saved for future release rather than being published straight away.

Roll back to early March 2016: I had just completed training for a new job within the emergency services and it was my first day “set free” to take calls and be “in training.” I felt strange, was having chest pain and really didn’t feel well. Within the first couple of hours into the shift I went home unwell. The 30-mile journey home was the longest ever and I was straight on the phone to NHS direct for advice.

Fast forward to late April, a very long six weeks later. I was still off work and had been to so many nurses, GPs, out of hours and telephone triage appointments I had lost count. That day I spoke to my surgery to request an appointment with a doctor and was told I couldn’t see one but they had a paramedic in the surgery I could see. By this point I had lost the will to live and just wanted the pain to stop.

I will never forget the kindness I received from that paramedic. I was told to go to the hospital and a letter was written and faxed to the emergency department for me to go to see the surgeons.

I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and while this condition is being talked about more, there is still a stigma with the condition. I had abdominal pain that had lasted about six weeks and had been referred to the surgical team, not the gynaecology team.

One of the worst comments I have ever overheard from a person was: “She has polycystic ovaries, just send her to gynae and they can discharge her.”

While this comment may only be minor, I also saw these people shaking their heads and asking about beds for other patients. Might I add, this person was a doctor.

Three days later, I had surgery and my appendix was removed and then two days later I went home. I continued to use the services of my GP, district nurse and NHS Direct as I had an infection in one wound that turned out to be two different infections as well as several water infections.

I will never be the same person again, but I am very thankful to that paramedic who believed me and listened to me and the surgeon who listened to me and didn’t presume it was just my polycystic ovaries – because it wasn’t!!

To any healthcare workers or those who wish to become a healthcare professional: If a patient comes to you with a problem, please do not presume it is “just” their pre-existing condition. Yes, take it into account, but don’t use it as the first excuse to discharge your patient.

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