Cancelling an Operation when under Anaesthesia?

An Open Letter. March 2nd, 2017.

To Enda Kenny. To Simon Harris. To the the People who Cannot See the Bigger Picture.

It is an awful feeling to have in the pit of your stomach to know your father is sick.

To know he is worrying.

To see him in a hospital for weeks on end like a caged animal, domesticated by force.

My father was diagnosed with heart trouble two years ago.

The doctors have swung between stents and by pass surgery, medication and ‘talks’ since that awful summer two years past.

What has happened since?

A stent operation that was cancelled at the last minute due to a low heart function (despite prior knowledge of this).

Horrid, long waits in St James hospital for a blunt, arrogant machine of a surgeon to make my parents further stressed with his horrendous manner, curt manner of delivery, lack of desire to empathise, sympathise or show kindness to a worried middle aged man and his wife up for the day to Dublin from their rural home. This man- Dr Young- gives you 3-5 minutes, four sentences of information whereupon he parrots his orders into his dictaphone for a letter and barks ‘Cheerio’ to signal that your interview with Him. Is. Over. No questions please, as it were. This man told my parents in this brief time how ill my Dad was, terrified them with what was true but really could have been delivered in another manner. I appreciate time limits and pressure is on the hospitals but I also think that does not stretch to your own choice to be human when dealing with humans.hands-981400__480

A wait for this surgeon that was going on and on, with a father (diabetic) who didn’t want to eat until he had seen the doctor. I went to his office door at one point and broke my moral code by looking at the files. My dad’s file wasn’t even in the wait list pile.  He knew he had little to tell him until he spoke to some other people but did not tell us this in any time. Just let us wait and wait.

Yes, as soon as I made a fuss, we were seen.

Barked at.


No information.


Out of pocket. Out of energy. Fighting for hope.

We have changed surgeon since Dr Young. He had no confidence in helping Dad and honestly the new surgeon gave my father confidence by treating him in an infinitely kinder manner. However we have still been shunted from one place to another,  decision to decision, each one more indefinite and uncertain than the last. This further delay has allowed my father’s condition to worsen. This dillydallying from a rude surgeon to the waiting lists that our country is subject to as a result of our health system taking a backseat to other more trivial matters has let my father become more ill. My father was finally on put onto the list for a triple bypass. Isn’t it awful that our lives are subject to lists?

Times passed.

January brought pneumonia. His heart function is considerable lessened.

Is it fair say that if we had better care two years ago my Dad would not be so unwell? Would it be fair to say this country has allowed him to become worse? That my mother is living a sub-life, in and out of hospitals as  my dad cannot leave one now as he is high risk?  That he cannot drive. Write (his job). Work. Be at home. Be free? Is it fair to say this country is letting my parents down at a time when life should be enjoyed? They should be relaxed?horror-2028165__480.png

I have rarely seen my Dad cry but I did see him cry yesterday.

No one needs to see their Dad cry.

Yesterday in St James’s hospital, after four weeks in Tullamore, he was prepared for the triple bypass surgery. He was anaesthetised. I took time from work. My mother prayed. We sat and waited.

Three hours after he went in, a surgeon comes to us. We sank into our chairs. Why was he here? Why was this gowned man here when he was supposed to be in there? He explained they had reach a complication. They had realised his heart function was so much less. They couldn’t do it this week.

They talked of next week.

Relief at the news that it was not worse was our first response,  it took us awhile to consider these implications.

We waited all day to talk to someone else.

We were sent a young man, a doctor who was not in the team that morning who gave an explanation that my Mother and I don’t really feel satisfied with  (blame Tullamore essentially. That was it. He was officious. Curt. Talked over my Dad. Attempted to answer our questions but really it was not good enough. No other human in the know spoke to us. No other surgeon. Nothing.

Retrospect is powerful for knowledge and I hope that you Taoiseach and your selected minster realise this in years to come when you look back on your administrations.

My father would have been operated on and recovering by now if you all had done a better job.

My mother would not be crippled with fear and anxiety if you prioritise ordinary people.

Apple are laughing at you Taoiseach.

I hope you fall over with your hypocritical bowl of shamrock, and if you hit your head you might realise that you have focused on all the wrong things. You let your administration squabble and lose confidence in you. They sit like pumas in the long grass ready for you to go before they swipe in to take your place. And continue this non-progression.


Enjoy your trip to Washington in the meantime and remember us. Still in hospital. Still recovering. Still dreadfully unhappy.

We are one story in millions.

I am afraid I cannot send my usual kind regards.

Your citizen.


30 thoughts on “Cancelling an Operation when under Anaesthesia?

  1. Ah this is such a painful situation, sending you a hug, I know it’s a hug from a stranger, but I’ve been there with my grandad and I feel you pain, so be strong, we’re always stronger than we think we are. #MarvMondays

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading this reminded me of a TV documentary we watched about the NHS and cancelling of operations – it is devastatingly hard and I’m so sorry you have had to experience this first hand. There really is crisis in our NHS and I only hope and pray your Dad gets the treatment he need soon – no one should have to wait until it’s critical to be seen…
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t even find words to express how sorry I am to hear what you and your family are going through. I cannot believe the treatment (or lack of) he’s been receiving, I really hope things improve for you all but especially your Dad. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wishing your dad and your family all the very best. Our hospitals wouldn’t be under so much pressure if the rest of the health and social care system received the funding and infrastructure it so desperately needs. Also people turning up to A&E when they should see a pharmacist, walk-in-centre or GP means the front door is massively under pressure. Beds need to be opened up. People get stuck in hospital because care packages can’t be put in place at the other end and all of that means the cancelling of operations. I have worked with surgeons, doctors, nurses and the pressure everyone is under is unbelievable time constraints doesn’t even cover it. We need urgent change or more people like your dad are left waiting or worse.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The more stories I read about the NHS, the more I think I will not apply for my nursing license in the UK. I was told that it would take 6 months to 1 year for my application to be approved. (I have been an ER nurse in the USA for 17 years), I would then need to take a written exam, then a practical exam, not to mention the rather large fee for the actual license. I hear stories of how short staffed they are, yet they make the process for a trained nurse to work in the country so difficult.
    I hope your Dad gets the care he needs and deserves. So sorry to hear that your family is going through this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This heart wrenching post is one of the reasons why I love the Fancy Paper Blog. Your way with words comes out most keenly when you’re speaking from the heart. I am so sorry for this experience. I hope things are better. No one deserves such uncertainty.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Orla, I love your determination to fight for his health needs. Not easy having unwell parents!! Both our parents have serious health issues, from Alzheimer’s, cancer to Parkinson’s. Makes us more determined to get out there and do it before something gets us 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My heart aches for you all..your poor dad and your mum and you Orla who have to watch..So sad that a once great NHS is now struggling like this …I hope by now you have a solution ..Take care..Hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome..It seems like no systems then are perfect even the ones where you have to pay… We don’t have to wait here which is good they seem to keep waiting down and mostly you are seen and dealt with very quickly..But even where I live we have 5 hospitals and many medical centres and people seem to go where they need to go rather than all to one place which then makes for overcrowding…So much for civilised society who think they have better systems…I hope your dad is now on the mend x

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Of course you will worry it is your dad and I hope he steers clear of the flu…Did you read my reblog on how to help avoid and deal with the flu? Have attached link as it may be some pointers which may help avoid it Sally is trained health professional and gives really good advice I hope your dad gets some help very soon x

        Liked by 1 person

      3. As many people say sharing is caring and I do hope some of the advice benefits your dad and hope he steers clear of the flu and stays as well as he can xx Have a lovely day x

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This is just awful. I feel for you and send hugs. I wish your Dad and your family all the best.
    I have way to much experience in hospitals and healthcare myself that I know how unreliable and untrustworthy and unorganised it can all be. Communication is so important.

    Liked by 1 person

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