Read my notes!

I went to see my EP for my 3 month post ablation follow up last week. Everything has been great, back to nsr and rate. So far so good.

I'm on bisoprolol, rivaroxaban and atervastatin. He said to reduce the bisoprolol from 10mg to 5mg (so far so good) and to stop taking the rivaroxaban altogether. On this I looked at him puzzled, and asked him why he has suggested to stop this seeing as I had a mild stroke last October and my cardiologist said I'd be taking it for the rest of my life.

I was gobsmacked when he said 'oh I didn't know that' and proceeded to flick through my vast amount of notes in my medical file.

Really, I cannot believe this, although this is not the first time I've had to tell a medic something important that was in my notes because they have not read them!


How can you correctly treat a patient if you haven't got all the facts.

If I hadn't had my wits about me I'd have stopped taking my anticoagulant now and potentially put myself at risk of having another stroke!


23 Replies

  • It happens. I was put on an anti-viral drug last year that reduces your immune system so you can't take more than one course (a week or so). Afterwards, the doctor, the senior specialist at the hospital, put me on a 2nd course to follow straight on from the first. I questioned it but she sort of waived me to one side somehow and continued to make the prescription. So I had to re-question what she was doing quite forcefully, and then she realised and apologised. It was just a bad day I guess; she certainly wasn't listening.

    I've also had a pre-op discussion the day before a major fascial operation. The surgeon himself came into discuss it me. He showed me on the X-Ray what he was going to do. Looking at the X-Ray, I suggested that it wasn't me. And it wasn't.

    You have to be involved and speak for yourself. We put doctors on too high a pedestal, they're just people and make mistakes.

  • Oh dear that's worrying. They usually like to continue the anticoagulants indefinitely. After my ablation my EP took me off all meds apart from Rivaroxaban which he said keeps me safe even though I was in nsr. And I haven't had a stroke! It's always good to question. AF is back now unfortunately.

  • It happens all the time, not surprised. I think very, very few specialists have the time to read the notes - which is exactly why we as patients need to take response - ability for our own health & well being.

  • I agree, but not everyone are able to

  • It's scary. Sad for people not able or unwilling to challenge. Pleased you told him after all it's our lives and quality of life at risk.

    My lovely old uncle having prostate cancer treatment went for a consultation alone as his daughter was uncaring,. He was told he didn't need the treatment any more and his three month checkup was not needed. Apparently this was wrong. By the time it was discovered that the information given had been wrong it was too late. Bless him he died through wrong communication and not challenging what he had been told. So sad.

  • Well done for being your own best advocate - something we all need to do to the best of our ability. Seems like a glaring error for such a medical expert not to double check before giving the advice.

  • I know, I couldn't believe it, if I'd not said anything I'd be now putting my health at risk,

  • Read your notes?

    Be careful what you wish for, I'd get a copy of them and check they're correct first.

  • What do you mean?

  • They aren't always accurate.

  • Words fail me, but I'm afraid that's how things are these days and you certainly need to have your wits about you! You need to ask questions about everything and certainly put any thoughts you have forward.

    I once received a copy of a letter my AF nurse had sent to my GP relating to my condition, it certainly wasn't about me!

    I feel sorry for elderly people who never question anything as they believe the doctor knows what is best for them.


  • I now ask for copies of all my notes and echo and ecg results. Have all my full discharge letters fro three bouts in hospital. I also make notes of all drugs that I have tried and been taken off because of side effects, which sould all be on my notes but not always. My GP is the worst offender of not putting these on my files. At my last meeting with my EP he said I think we will try you with spino............ its i dirurectic, I said no look at my notes, bad side effects, said oh yes found them, sorry about that.

    I have often to outpatients appointments and they do not have my details, written or on computer. Have to go through once again all the events of my AF and drugs that I am on.

    So keep as many notes as you possible can, it will come in handy.


  • You can't expect any doctor to read all your notes. I know mine are fast outranking War & Peace so if I'm in hospital I always give them the elevator pitch on my conditions before they go asking all the normal questions.

  • Current issues are supposed to be filed in a summary at the top of your records so that they don't have to wade through the whole lot.

  • They're not at my local hospital. The A&E consultant took one look at the pile and was hugely relieved when I preciced what was in it for him.

  • Yes exactly, but you shouldn't have to. You're lucky that they listen to you, usually you might just as well be talking to the wall as talk to the NHS.

    In August 2014 they wrote in my notes that I had had an ablation at a time when I was still on the waiting list for it. I told them again and again, but each time a doctor walked in it was "I see you've had an ablation". When I complained they denied it even though they'd already sent me a copy of the document. When I sent a copy back to them they just ignored it and didn't respond.

    I've also told them my notes now say that my ablation failed when it didn't, but they ignored that too.

  • Snap, I@m into my fifth volume.

  • Hooboy, I used to work for doctors in various capacities, especially transcriber for radiologists. You better believe they make mistakes! Even when notes went through human ears first and were then (supposedly) reread by the doctor before signing, mistakes came through. Now they dictate directly to transcription electronically, and I am certain not every word is double checked. We have to be alert, knowledgeable, and bold in our own behalf. Diagnosed with my first divertuculitis, near rupturing, I spent most of the first night after being admitted to the hospital with a saline drip, not antibiotic, until I asked the nurse what antibiotic it was and she told me it was saline! The doctor had forgotten to write the order for antibiotic! I told her why I was get intravenous antibiotic...and she quickly made the necessary calls and got it right. It all worked out fine, but only because I'm a curious sort and said something.

  • It isn't just about mistakes though is it.

    Panorama recently covered the story about how there are 14,000 patients a year dying because they're not given antibiotics quickly enough, and how the problem has gone unaddressed for years.

    At Shrewsbury they carried on killing babies for years, long after the CQC had warned them, and even after they'd taken the money to buy more monitors.

  • I have had this problem very often, too often. Hospital loosing my notes even. It got that bad that I wrote to Admin at the hospital where I was having trouble. I sent them all my hospital patient numbers going back to 1958, all my address and both my maiden and married name. They must have sorted them out, well they said they did but then when I got my lymphodema stockings through the post they had put my surname before my given name and that changed me from female to male. I was so cross I wrote another angry letter to the department that sent me the stockings. Its the stupid way some departments put your Surname first on their documentation. I have since typed out a list of all my medical history as good as I could remember and from old diary's It has my name,dob,address, NHS number and hospital number at the top then starting back in 1948 through to present. I have all my hospital admissions and all medications start or stop dates. All except the last time I went to A&E the ambulance staff and A&E staff have found it very helpful. The last time I went A&E unfortunately I was not so lucky, lots of drunks and "zombies" so my blackout was put on a back burner as it were, then when I did get seen the junior dr assumed that that the result of a blood test was down to my medication. Three days later back at the respiratory clinic the consultant there listened to my chest and told me I had a very bad chest infection!.. so I dont trust any one now, how can I. Lynn James.

  • The first time I saw my EP, I was relieved to get a good report; however, his summary notes stated "do suggest underlying heart disease" when what he said was "do NOT suggest underlying heart disease." Frankly, I find mistakes in almost every summary, but none as crucial as the omission of the word "not" in that first summary. The patient must be diligent about reviewing those summaries to make sure they are accurate and reflect what they've been told by their doc.

  • Hi

    Alot of this is down to their pronounciation or lack of it, especially dare I say, if they are foreign. I am a medical secretary (AMPSAR qualified) at my local hospital and they still use audiotapes! They rarely spell medical terms or drugs, even difficult ones. This means that I spend my life going over the words or asking someone if it is correct, as well as looking on the net. I double or even triple check everything and highlight words that no one gets, plus looking in files. They dont always quote hospital number either, so again I check I have the correct patient. I look on hospital system to check whether they are Mr, Ms or Mrs if I dont have the paperwork, which I often dont. As you can imagine this is all very time consuming, but I am very fussy about my letters and want to make sure they are 100% correct. I often have to revamp because of poor dictation by foreign and English speaking consultants or doctors , SPRs etc. There is one consultant who sits by an open window and you here the noise of the traffic etc. You can also have a phone ring or a door slam on a particular word you are trying to hear, or they just mumble. Papers are often being rattled in the background or they move away from the microphone! They just dont think or care, even if they are told on numerous occasions sadly. I always get another secretary to check them too if I am not happy. Its all too easy for them to blame us if something goes wrong. We have to watch our backs all the time.

    They are so behind with all the typing in every department because of lack of qualified staff. Jeremy Hunt hasnt got a clue. He came to visit us recently, but just a few select people. He didnt visit the grass roots ie docs, admin staff. He would have been lynched. The whole thing was fixed!

    I think I shall be collating my son's and my record and that of my husband, dont know why I didnt do it before, but thankfully I have most of the info!


  • Now, that is scary, Jane.

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