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Interview 22- Intensive care' patients' experiences

Age at interview: 71
Brief Outline: Was admitted to ICU in 2004 because of a rare infection caused by slight dog bite. Had finger and toes amputated. Was in intensive care for 17 days and was discharged after a short stay in a general ward. Later attended another hospital for skin grafts.
Background: Occupation' retired head master. Marital status' married. Number of children' 2. Ethnic background' White British.

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When he was in intensive care doctors wanted to amputate his infected limbs, but he chose to wait...

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When he was in intensive care doctors wanted to amputate his infected limbs, but he chose to wait...

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Before I left [city] when I was very poorly, my wife and my two children were called out, and I remember them being called out by one of the physicians to tell them how dreadfully ill I was. And then they came into me, it was, I think there were four surgeons there as the doctor who spoke to me painted a very bleak and black picture in fact which concerned [laughs] me somewhat even though I wasn't, you know, fully compus mentus.
 
But they wanted there and then really for me to decide to have my hand and both my feet amputated. And I said no. I said I'd wait and see how I got on. And fortunately it was the right decision because within a couple of days I felt that much better and, as I say, [consultant's name] took me under his wing, took me down to [city]. He's a brilliant chap really. And he skin grafted my hand because the back of my hand was completely eaten away. And the first graft didn't take. Then he did another which did take and is almost healed now. And he amputated one of my fingers. Took off one of my fingers off my left hand there and then.
 
And subsequently I stayed in hospital until February and then he let me out for about a couple of days, you know, which was very good really. It's nice to go home. And then I went back in and they amputated my toes. And again they are healing up very well. It's the pressure sores on my heels really that are causing, you know, the most problem at the moment but they're improving. And then he finally. And then I came home again after that. Then he had me in just for one day for a local anaesthetic and he took the tips of two other fingers on my right hand. And he doesn't want to see me now until the middle of September.
 
 

Did not take his doctor’s advice to have both his feet and a hand amputated and felt relieved...

Did not take his doctor’s advice to have both his feet and a hand amputated and felt relieved...

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 Before I left [city] when I was very poorly, my wife and my two children were called out, and I remember them being called out by one of the physicians to tell them how dreadfully ill I was. And then they came into me, it was, I think there were four surgeons there as the doctor who spoke to me painted a very bleak and black picture in fact which concerned [laughs] me somewhat even though I wasn't, you know, fully compus mentus.

 
But they wanted there and then really for me to decide to have my hand and both my feet amputated. And I said no. I said I'd wait and see how I got on. And fortunately it was the right decision because within a couple of days I felt that much better and, as I say, [consultant's name] took me under his wing, took me down to [city]. He's a brilliant chap really. And he skin grafted my hand because the back of my hand was completely eaten away. And the first graft didn't take. Then he did another which did take and is almost healed now. And he amputated one of my fingers. Took off one of my fingers off my left hand there and then.
 
And subsequently I stayed in hospital until February and then he let me out for about a couple of days, you know, which was very good really. It's nice to go home. And then I went back in and they amputated my toes. And again they are healing up very well. It's the pressure sores on my heels really that are causing, you know, the most problem at the moment but they're improving. And then he finally. And then I came home again after that. Then he had me in just for one day for a local anaesthetic and he took the tips of two other fingers on my right hand. And he doesn't want to see me now until the middle of September.
 
 

His wife would not let him sign the consent forms for her operation as there was a risk she could...

His wife would not let him sign the consent forms for her operation as there was a risk she could...

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Husband' And the wife wouldn't let me sign the consent form, would you? She wouldn't put it on my shoulders. She said, “I'll sign it myself.”

What were the consent forms for?

Husband' To have the operation.

Right, so you didn't sign them?

Husband' Wife wouldn't let me sign it. The wife wouldn't let me sign it. She wanted to sign it in case anything happened. Because he was honest, he was very, he said, “I don't want” he said, “I can't give you a percentage.” He said, “Your wife is very ill.”

Wife' He didn't tell me that, did he?

Husband' No, he told me. He said, “If we don't operate now” he said, “You won't have a wife by the morning.” And they operated. They took her up to Intensive Care. I stayed there. I don't know, I don't know what time, I can't remember much about it to be honest with you


 

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