Woman's agonising hospital wait

SUFFERING severe pain from an infected gallbladder Bonnie Collins today said she has to live on just water to avoid the condition worsening because a hospital cannot operate on her for four months.

SUFFERING severe pain from an infected gallbladder Bonnie Collins today said she has to live on just water to avoid the condition worsening because a hospital cannot operate on her for four months.

Mrs Collins claims she was told she would have to endure the wait or Ipswich Hospital would not get paid by the primary care trust for her treatment.

However the hospital has denied this and said patients are treated according to clinical need and urgency.

In the meantime, Mrs Collins has been advised that living on a diet is the only way to stop the pain - and she can eat a cream cracker if she gets really hungry.

Mrs Collins, 28, who lives with her husband Jacob, 29, a BT employee, in Kingsbury Road, Trimley St Mary, said her gallbladder became infected four months ago.

She was given antibiotics and a scan at Ipswich Hospital, and was told the gallbladder would need to be removed and, meanwhile, to remain on a very low fat diet to avoid flare ups of the condition.

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“This was fine. I had been managing very well,” she said. “I am well aware having gallstones is not a life threatening situation and was hoping with diet I could manage this. I was put on the waiting list, which was four to six months - not a long wait as such and perfectly able to do with the diet seeming to be allowing me to cope.”

But two weeks ago she started to experience a lot of pain and was admitted to hospital for week.

“I was informed they would not operate on me before four months anyway as they would not get paid,” she said.

“I came home loaded with painkillers and lactulose, but not given any indication of how I could manage the pain/condition for the next four months.”

Doctors had then told her the best way to avoid pain was simply to live on water only.

“I understand fully that if my gallbladder was infected again this would be a far more serious situation and as it stands I am classed as a non urgent case, but I would have thought the fact I cannot eat or drink anything other than water should speak volumes,” said Mrs Collins, who works as a self-employed events co-ordinator and greeting cards designer.

“In essence I have been discharged from hospital with a diagnosed condition which has worsened to the point of total lack of nutrition with no follow-up plan on how to manage this for the next four months and been asked to further compromise my health in order to survive.

“When I was in hospital, a woman with the same condition as me who had not stuck to the diet was operated on at once, but I am made to wait.”

What do you think of hospital waiting times? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said everyone was treated on the basis of clinical priority with cases classed emergency, urgent and routine, where it is felt a patient can safely wait for an operation.

This was to ensure patients are treated “in turn” and there is equity of care rather than some patients being treated faster depending on a surgeon's workload.

She urged Mrs Collins to get in touch with the hospital so they could discuss her concerns with her on a formal basis.

WEBLINK: www.ipswichhospital.org.uk