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Sideshow Meg
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Yesterday was a stressful experience culminating in me moments from surgery being told by my surgeon that he wasn't going ahead with the op and that we were going to discuss a 'pain management plan' for my tonsillitis and reassess the situation in 6 months time.
WHAT!!! That's unbelievable, Hazel! You don't have someone go through all that anxiety, be actually prepared for surgery, and then turn around and tell them moments before that you're not going to perform the operation! That's abominable and if I were you I'd be getting a second opinion. Very poor judgement/patient management on his part.
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Terrible! And "pain management plan" rather than "infection avoidance plan" sounds absurd. It isn't like you have some sort of knee or hip ache and the option is a replacement, which really is quite an ordeal and recovery. Then I could see having that discussion (a lot earlier in the process, of course). But this seems very straightforward.

 

I'm flailing around here trying to see a good side and this is the best I could come up with: I hope that you just magically avoid having any more bouts of tonsillitis, so that this decision will seem, in retrospect, like a blessing in disguise.

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:D meg, my hubby said pretty much what you said, that the surgeon was on a commission to reduce NHS costs and was scaring people away. The fiscal year ends in April and that's why he said come back in 6 months time.

 

I should, in fairness, also mention that I have a rare-ish blood type and he also thought that if I ended up with a transfusion it would make me even sicker. Apparently 2 out of 5 tonsillectomies end in transfusion.

 

The pain management thing was an acceptance of tonsillitis in my life and taking pre-emptive steps to lessen an attack. That is, stocking up on strong painkillers and taking them as soon as I have a sore throat and if it worsens get myself to the GP for penicillin and a 2 day sickline. Thankfully I recover fairly quickly and that's what impressed him enough to cancel the op. So, acceptance and planning. That's what the modern NHS is offering us now!

 

Still, quite why it got to theatre time before this was all decided I don't know. Ah well.

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Gobsmacked.

 

So sorry to read that, Hazel. After all that worry too!!! I'm definitely as suspicious as Meg about the surgeon's motives. But you're well clear of him. Any doctor who leaves it until that moment to decide what to do clearly doesn't have the patient's best interests at heart.

 

Wishing you an easy sore-throat-free 6 months.... (and a second opinion)

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That's shocking Hazel, or at least it should be ~ unfortunately it's all too familiar in the NHS. The Surgeon would have or at least should have known your blood group situation when the decision was first made.

 

The decision to have the surgery ultimately rests with you. Or at least the conversation should not have been along the lines of "I have decided" but "I recommend" Joint decision making not paternalistic control.

 

Sounds like an excuse to me! Too near the end of the financial year and budget running out more like.
I seriously doubt that a Surgeon would have made a decision based on the budget, and if (s)he did, (s)he would have told you so. Doctors in the NHS tend to be very patient focussed and not at all worried about upsetting "the management" or politicians. However, I would not be at all surprised if the current flu epidemic had not influenced the decision. Many hospitals at the moment are on level 2 alert which means that elective surgery is cancelled in favour of emergencies, some have even been on level 3, however if that's the case you should have been told before you book time off work etc. etc.

 

Whatever the reason, the system needs to be improved. There's been a lot of work done to improve same day cancellations at the hospital where I work, however we need to improve further.

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I've often heard of elective operations being cancelled at the last minute (patient already prepped for theatre) but usually because an emergency or priority case has meant that a vital member of the surgical team has been called way, or held up elsewhere.

To cancel an operation because the surgeon has changed his mind at the last minute about the most suitable treatment is altogether different. It does smack more of a change in hospital policy regarding that type of op.

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Happily, I have little knowledge of how the NHS system works, but I have thought that the consultant who made the decision that you needed an op would have been the one to do the op, or at least working to the same guidelines. At the end of the day, if there's a way to avoid the pain and risks of surgery then I'd always be keen to take it, so maybe this pain management plan will turn out to be a good thing. Tonsils are there for a reason and I'd guess that you are better of keeping them. (That's me trying to be positive!)

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Jen, that was one thing he did say that my tonsils are there as part of the immune system and that they were actually doing their job fighting my bouts of tonsillitis and if we took them away my throat infections could get worse.
That's right. A few years ago I was going to have my tonsils and part of my soft pallet removed in an attempt to cure my snoring. One of the side effects was that I would suffer from more sore throats and colds because the tonsils wouldn't be there as the first line of defence. Of course some people have them removed because they are over sensitive and become infected rather than just sore. Luckily I didn't have the operation my lovely wife decided that the cure (which might not have worked) was too drastic.
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Of course some people have them removed because they are over sensitive and become infected rather than just sore.

 

Mine had become like that.

Rather than a protection they had become 'a site for infection', or so my Doctor said. I probably would have managed to cope with one bout a year (in fact I had done for a good number of years, as it had been my weak spot since childhood - this wasn't the first time surgery had been suggested) but eventually every bug I came into contact with made straight for the back of my throat.

As I had a child in nursery and one in primary school at the time, that happened every half-term.

They had to go!

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Jen, that was one thing he did say that my tonsils are there as part of the immune system and that they were actually doing their job fighting my bouts of tonsillitis and if we took them away my throat infections could get worse.

I never knew that! I thought they were just appendix-like superfluous blobs that you could happily live without.

 

Again, you'd rather hope these things would be explained to you at least a little time before you're lying on the operating table...

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I never knew that! I thought they were just appendix-like superfluous blobs that you could happily live without.

 

Again, you'd rather hope these things would be explained to you at least a little time before you're lying on the operating table...

I didn't know that either. I was having tonsillitis every fortnight so mine had to go and I'm subject to the same amount of colds etc that yer average person is, so haven't missed them at all.

 

And yes, this should all have been sorted out and explained long before you're lying on the operating table.

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That said, coming up for four years ago I was ready for surgery when the surgeon told me I could go home and then come back if necessary. This wasn't planned surgery though and I wasn't exactly on the table but I was prepped and ready to go. I took the surgery and it was a the right decision. This was in September so clearly this kind of thing does happen, I just thought it was because it was unplanned surgery in the first place and that was why it was a bit ad hoc.

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