Column: A doctor's experience of NHS
Sometimes it is good to reflect on stories of patients.
A friend and colleague of mine who works as a GP had the experience of being a patient.
I asked him to reflect on the experience of sudden illness and his experience in the NHS.
“Cycling was my passion. During the spring of 2016 I trained two to three times a week for the Welsh Velethon in Cardiff.
“We woke early on race day, to get to the starting line for 7.15am.
“The race involved a few big hills but we were prepared.
“I picked up speed as I came back into Cardiff.
“My legs felt strong despite cycling 80 miles through the Welsh valleys.
“Then I hit a speed bump with only one hand on the handlebars. I went flying forward onto the road at 25 miles an hour, landing on my right hip and rolling several times.
“I lay there on the road not able to move my right leg.
“At the hospital, the bad news was confirmed a fractured hip with five bits for the surgeon to bind and screw together.
“The initial operation took seven hours, complicated by the fact that my femoral artery had been nicked by a shard of bone.
“This was followed by two more operations for complications.
“The staff in Cardiff were wonderful and spoke to me as an individual rather than just the man with the broken leg.
“From the cleaners to the consultant surgeon this individual care made a real difference.
“In an instant I had gone from a fit middle-aged man to someone who was totally incapacitated on a hospital bed.
“Because everything had been stripped away, and almost my life itself, I realised my dependency and faith in God and was at peace.
“It is now four months since the operation and I am back at work part time as a GP.
“Having experienced the trauma, indignity (including bedpans!) and ongoing pain, I can really empathise with my patients.
“I am so thankful to the NHS staff in Cardiff and Sheffield for the expert skill and care they have given me.
“I think that had this happened anywhere else in the world the care would not have been better!”
This story reminded me that care is more than an operation.
We can choose to see good even in difficult circumstances and it’s good to be grateful for the healthcare we have.