'It is heartbreaking watching her suffer' - husband's emotional plea to help wife get urgent hip replacement (From Borehamwood Times)
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Borehamwood woman left waiting for months for urgent hip replacement at Barnet General
A retired nurse has “lost faith in a marvellous system” after she was told she could end up waiting months for an urgent hip replacement.
Christine Appleby, of Cranes Way, Borehamwood, was told she needed the operation after she woke up in December unable to move her legs and in “excruciating” pain.
The 70-year-old was rushed to Barnet General Hospital where doctors diagnosed her with arthritis in her hip and put her on the waiting list for the urgent procedure.
But when she received a letter in January telling her to ring and make an appointment, she was told it could actually take “weeks or months” for a date to become available.
Now nearly four months on from the date she was referred, she is still waiting for an appointment – and the disabled pensioner says every day is a constant struggle.
She added: “It makes me feel so depressed and angry. I am trapped in a nightmare because I am in absolute agony with my hip.
“It is unacceptable to leave me like this because it has been four months since the hospital doctor told me I would need this operation.
“I am worried they have forgotten about me and I have no idea where to turn to now. It seems ridiculous.
“I worked for the NHS for thirty years and thought it was a marvellous system, but I have lost faith in it now.”
The former nurse, who used to assist doctors with complex brain surgeries, also has multiple sclerosis, heart disease and bowel problems, and needs a daily cocktail of drugs.
Her husband, 66-year-old David Appleby, quit his job as a teacher to become his wife’s full time carer, but is at his wits end with what he calls a “failing” system.
Mr Appleby, who is profoundly deaf, said he has tried to ring the hospital appointments number over a hundred times, but has never been able to get through on the phone.
He even visited his GP to ask him to write a second letter of referral in February, but is still waiting to hear back.
In a moment of frustration last week, he wrote a letter to the hospital’s chief executive Tim Peachy.
He said: “I find it really upsetting. I love Christine so much so watching her suffer so much is purely heartbreaking. I just want her to get better.
“It is diabolical. I keep trying to ring the hospital but you can never get through. They keep you on hold listening to jangly music for half an hour and then cut you off.
“You get nowhere with them and I don’t understand who is running the system.”
A statement from Barnet and Chase Farm Hospital NHS Trust, said a member of staff would be contacting the couple to arrange an appointment.
It added: "We were extremely concerned to receive this complaint about Mrs Appleby's care whilst being treated in one of our hospitals.
"We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with Mr and Mrs Appleby so we carry out a full investigation."