When pain persists: what makes hospital patients really unhappy?
A ninety-year old woman has lain shrivelled and uncomfortable in her bed for forty hours, awaiting an operation. She has become heavily constipated as a result of an over-enthusiastic prescription of anti-diarrhoeal tablets and is now at risk of a bowel obstruction.
The surgeon says that the hardened faeces need to be manually evacuated under anaesthetic but it’s the weekend and only one operating theatre is open, with a bevy of surgeons desperate for the same limited resources. My patient doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Polish but the language of starvation and defeat is... read more
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