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Last Wednesday I underwent a GP referred colonoscopy carried out by Dr Jason Hill and the Gastroenterology nursing team.
Following my GP referral (and oncology nurse led triage), it was only a matter of a couple of weeks from referral to the procedure which I was very grateful for.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending how you look at it), Dr Hill discovered a cancerous tumor in my bowel, which to be honest I was not expecting, perhaps polyp’s but never thought I would have cancer, it was a great shock. It appears to have been there for at least a couple of years or more, and developed very likely from a polyp that is long standing. Given the urgency of this I now have a CT scan Wednesday this week.
I wanted to provide feedback on my experience last week.
Obviously I was very nervous when I arrived , however the nursing team put me at ease as much as is possible, providing excellent information in a friendly and thoroughly professional way, and ensured I was treated with dignity and respect, as did Dr Hill when he came out to meet me, the new facilities are first class.
Moving into the procedure room, everything was obviously very well organized and ready to go, no delays, and again Dr Hill provided me with an outline of what the procedure would entail, and checked with me one again to ensure I was ready to proceed. I opted to undergo the procedure without sedation, I wanted to be fully alert to everything that was happening to me, and what was being discovered. As we moved through the procedure Dr Hill provided me with an ongoing commentary, ensuring I was understanding what I was looking at on the monitor, and also explaining to me what was going to happen next, I found his technique ensured minimal discomfort and his communication throughout was reassuring and very educational.
The moment that the tumor came into view I instinctively knew what it must be, it could not be anything else, I remember asking Dr Hill about it, his response was professional, honest and informative, and delivered with timing that showed significant insight and sensitivity in regards to the shock that I had just had. The nursing team were similarly professional and supportive, and as a result, reassuring. It is obviously a very well organized, mature service and procedure, with a team that clearly worked very well together, carried out in a way that made me feel there was nothing uncommon about what had been discovered - I felt no sense of crisis or panic as a result. Afterwards I actually felt a sense of empowerment due to having seen the tumor, ‘getting to know it’, and the excellent ‘bed side manner’ and informative professional approach and information provided by Dr Hill and the nursing team.
Following the procedure, the recovery and debrief meeting experience continued in the same vein, the nursing team were just fantastic, leaving me in no doubt about the next steps in my treatment journey, with Dr Hill and the nursing team demonstrating great empathy support and compassion to both myself and my partner throughout.
I cannot speak highly enough of the new facilities and gastroenterology team at Dunedin Hospital. If my experience is typical of the treatment that we as New Zealand tax payers can expect from our Public Health Gastroenterology Service then I can only say it must surely be an exemplar and we should be very proud of what is being achieved.
- Garry Bell