Thursday 4 September 2014

Surgeons encouraging victims of illness to operate on themselves

NHS self-surgery

Victims of serious illness are being encouraged to operate on themselves, an inspection of hospital practises in England and Wales has found.

An investigative body found that routine operations such as appendectomies and tonsillectomies were considered ‘mundane’ and that most surgeons had ‘given up’ any interest in performing them.

In some cases patients were pointed in the direction of a YouTube clip and told to ‘get on with it’.

An NHS spokesperson said that austerity cuts have meant that hospitals and surgeons have to set priorities, and that boring things that happen all the time were not very high on that list.

Pressure on waiting lists is another reason why patients are being encouraged to ‘have a go’, many with little more than a five-minute explanation of what they should be looking for when they get inside.

DIY public services

Patients have said that operating on themselves was ‘not much fun’, and left them feeling shortchanged by the people paid to do this sort of thing.

Simon Williams, who was due to have his tonsils out earlier this year, told us, “They said I could wait another year or so for my operation, or give it a go myself with a pair of plyers and a diagram drawn by the receptionist on the back of an old discharge sheet.”

“I did give it a go, but my gag reflex is terrible – I can barely brush my back teeth, never mind stick a hand tool into my throat. I’d make an awful prostitute.”

“Still, my mate Dave removed his appendix last week without issue, and he tells me he’ll be back at work as soon as the septicemia passes.  So I guess it works for some people.”

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