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Excellent care for a broken back: thank you NHS

29 June 2018


Dee Dillistone is a busy working mum with three children and she is grateful to the NHS for the excellent care she received when she broke her back. Here is her story to celebrate the NHS 70th birthday.

Two years ago, Dee Dillistone had a fall while she was out. It was clearly serious and an ambulance was called.

Dee explains: “At the time, although I was in in a lot of pain, I didn’t really understand the serious nature of my injuries.  A paramedic car came along first, and I was assessed and given gas and air for the pain.  The paramedic then called for an ambulance and I was taken to the A&E department at Bedford Hospital.  I was very anxious, and afraid, but the clinical staff kept very calm throughout which really helped me.

Once we arrived at A & E, I was seen and x-rayed reasonably quickly.  Given that my accident took place on a Saturday night, I hadn’t expected to be cared for so quickly. The clinician who saw me was very calm when he told me the news that I’d broken my back. This was of course a shocking thing to hear and I was worried about how I would cope and be able to look after my children.  

During my four day stay on the ward, staff kept me up to date with what was happening, and I was also allowed visitors outside the usual visiting hours for emotional support, such as my vicar, which is something that I really appreciated.

Within a day, the consultant had explained to me that the fracture was not the type to have a risk of paralysis and I was safe to move around. This reassurance and clear information was very helpful.

My pain medication was well provided, and a physio team taught me how to walk safely on crutches.  Before being discharged home, additional x-rays were required by Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, where my condition would be reviewed. When faced with a delay at the x-ray department, the young female consultant found a wheelchair and took me for the x-ray herself so that I would be able to go home to my young children without any more delay.  

I got home with a bag full of medication, a copy of my referral notes and a linked appointment for Addenbrookes to see the spinal specialist for review. 

As a mum of three, I was most worried about the children and about getting back to them, and the hospital staff respected this.

Although this was quite a traumatic experience, I felt involved in my care throughout, was kept well informed and was asked about what was needed thanks to the care and kindness of NHS staff.”   

Thankfully, Dee has made a complete recovery.

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