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Giving new meaning to nhs cuts

MagazineAugust 2002 (Vol. 13 Issue 5)Giving new meaning to nhs cuts

Fifteen years ago, I ripped one of my thigh muscles

Fifteen years ago, I ripped one of my thigh muscles. After eight days of pain, I finally went to see my GP at the local hospital. He diagnosed muscle tension and prescribed Robaxin (methocarbamol, a muscle relaxant). But as he left the cubicle, I heard the nurse tell him that she believed I had a thrombosis. He told her she was talking nonsense as my leg wasn't blue.


Three months later, I hobbled into a casualty unit and, within 10 minutes, I was hospitalised with chronic deep vein thrombosis. X-rays showed total occlusion of the vein down the whole of my leg - from thigh to foot. I was treated with heparin and put on warfarin.


Not long after that, I went to Glasgow's homoeopathic hospital; their treatment helped and I changed my diet.


Back at the local hospital, surgery was mooted, but I refused.


I then suspected there was clotting in my abdomen - an ultrasound scan proved me to be correct. The surgeon again proposed surgery, and again I refused. On his consultation report card, he wrote that I was 'not in the right frame of mind'.


Later, I was asked to go to hospital for an X-ray. There was an attempt to inject some sort of solution into the vein. After some minutes, I felt an enormous pressure in my groin and, 10 minutes later, I could sense some concern among the doctors. One doctor then explained that the syringe had slipped, cut through an artery and they were trying to stop the bleeding. After some 30 minutes, they finally succeeded. Then, after another attempt to inject the solution into my leg - which failed again - they gave up and took the X-ray anyway.


I was then given a bed in intensive care, where the surgeon came along with two colleagues and started to draw on my thigh to show them where he was going to make the incisions. When I asked what he was doing, he said he was showing how he was going to amputate my leg from the thigh down the following morning. I said that if he laid a finger on me, I would sue him for every last penny he had and make sure he never worked ever again as a doctor or surgeon. He said I'd signed a consent form, but I told him that I had crossed off all the items and stated that I was signing under duress.


That night, I escaped from the ICU. That thankfully was the surgeon's last attempt on my leg. - Tony Crossley, via e-mail


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