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Celia Jones: A Patient’s Perspective on Healthcare

This is the first Patient’s Perspective on Healthcare installment from my world record setting longest interviewing Marathon attempt. Celia Jones joined the Perspectives on Healthcare podcast with Rob Oliver from the UK. She is number 1 of 137 interviews. I will be releasing these interviews one at a time, every Friday.

In case you are curious, the marathon lasted 37 hours, 44 minutes, and 17 seconds. Now, I am gathering the evidence and preparing to submit it for certification by Guinness.

Here is the transcript of my conversation with Celia Jones where she provided a patient’s perspective on healthcare:

Rob Oliver: Thank you. And I appreciate you being here with me today. I have some wonderful and exciting news, and that is, as many of you know, I’ve been working on a patient’s perspective interview marathon, and it has been accomplished. So on May 6 and 7th, I did 137 interviews over the course of 37 hours, 44 minutes and 17 seconds straight. It was amazing. I had a number of fantastic people on they gave their experiences, they talked about healthcare heroes, and they gave some ideas about quality health care and how to improve it. So what I’m going to do for the next however long it takes, I’m going to break these interviews down into single sections and I will be sharing those with you every single Friday. So the plan is on Fridays you’ll be getting a patient’s perspective, and then on Tuesdays, you will be hearing a professional’s perspective. So without further Ado, here is my first interview with Celia Jones. It kicked off the Guinness well, it’s not a Guinness World record yet, but hopefully as soon as I submit the information, it will be approved for that. But it is the attempted Guinness World record setting longest interviewing marathon here’s Celia.

Rob Oliver: Welcome to the Guinness World Record Interview Marathon. We are starting. I am excited. My first guest is tell me, what is your name, please?

Celia Jones: Celia.

Rob Oliver: And where are you from, Celia?

Celia Jones: I’m from Great Britain.

Rob Oliver: Wonderful. So tell me a little bit about yourself and your experiences in healthcare, please.

Celia Jones: Okay. So I was a nurse before I retired and I worked in Australia as well as the UK. And my experiences were pretty average, I suppose. I didn’t see anything really bad until my partner was ill and he got taken into the local hospital. And I witnessed the most appalling care that I’ve ever seen in my life, enough to make your hair stand on end. That was in 2016. He did survive, but sadly, he died a year later through lack of diagnosis of a tumor the size of a tennis ball, which was in his esophagus, which was not seen on a CT scan. And the whole experience was really shocking. I made complaints. And when you go through the complaints process, they don’t like it. You’re actually gaslighted as well because they like you to accept or they want you to think that you’ve had really good he’s had really good health care, but he hasn’t. And they had a hospital report, which was basically a cover up, a cover up of their failings, and they use it to this is apparently standard practice. They use it to sort of discredit the complainant. Once you’ve done that, your only recourse where I am is to go to an Ombudsman. Right. So I went to the Ombudsman and he upheld all my complaints and found that there were serious failings and breaches of human rights. But all that took probably the best part of two and a half years and lots and lots of anguish, which is still it kind of stops you in the grieving process. And I know I probably digress because I’ve talked about my experiences of health care. Thankfully, I’ve never seen anything like that in my experiences in 30 years of nursing before.

Rob Oliver: It’s interesting. What I hear you saying is that as a recipient of health care for your partner, you’re seeing things that you weren’t seeing as a provider. Is that right?

Celia Jones: Yeah. And I don’t know whether that was because this was in a particularly bad hospital, because it has got a reputation locally that I didn’t even know about. And the hospital I trained in, which is not far away, I know people will always have problems. You cannot be perfect with everybody all of the time. But I would have said that the hospital I trained in was the center of excellence, and I can’t fault the place even now. But this hospital was a nightmare. An instance is I had a Romanian nurse say to me that I think that you should get him transferred because hospitals are better in Romania, which I found very alarming.

Rob Oliver: Right. Let me ask you this. Have you met any healthcare heroes along the way, someone who you would say is doing it right?

Celia Jones: Well, somebody I really admire is somebody called Dr. David Nott. Is I don’t know whether you’ve heard of him. I actually had the privilege of working with him many years ago when we were both young. And he is working now, actually. He trains people and works for nothing in war zones. It’s a David Nott Foundation, and he will talk people through trauma operations. He’s operated on the front line in Serbia and Bosnia and Iraq and places like that. So that’s my healthcare hero.

Rob Oliver: Excellent. Tell me, what does quality health care mean to you, Celia?

Celia Jones: I think the essence of everything has to be good communication, okay? It’s the foundation of everything.

Rob Oliver: Talk to me about communication. What kind of communication and what does good communication look like in the healthcare setting?

Celia Jones: Well, I think it means you don’t get things wrong. When you communicate test results, you communicate effectively with relatives, you communicate effectively and kindly with patients, and you communicate effectively with your colleagues.

Rob Oliver: Okay. What you’re talking about sounds like outgoing communication. Is there an incoming communication element as well that you can comment on? Being able to share test results in an empathetic way, being able to communicate with your colleagues and with your patients. What about the receptive side of communication?

Celia Jones: How do you mean the receptive side?

Rob Oliver: Either watching the reactions that your patients have or listening to what they are saying.

Celia Jones: Yeah. That’s so important as well, that patients get listened to. I always think that the patient is always right and the patient has to be prioritized, and very often they’re not.

Rob Oliver: Right. It’s a very interesting thing that you say with the patient always being right. Tell me more about that idea.

Celia Jones: Well, obviously, the patient can’t always be right, but I think that they need to feel that they’re heard. One of the findings in my own case was that my partner’s voice was taken by the staff and he wasn’t heard. So his opinion didn’t count. And that’s a basic human right.

Rob Oliver: Yeah. That has to be so frustrating when what you’re saying, what you’re trying to share is not being listened to and you feel like your opinion doesn’t count, it’s being basically thrown out. That’s very difficult, I would imagine. And I would also imagine, were you able to do some advocacy for him or were they willing to listen to you as a partner, or was your voice ignored as well?

Celia Jones: My voice was also ignored. And because I voiced concerns, I was looked at as trouble. And I think this was essentially a very bad Ward in a very bad hospital. So I was trouble. So they decided to get rid of me. They made up a false accusation against me that I had given Brian unprescribed fruzzamide, which is a diuretic, which was completely untrue, and they’d actually given it themselves. It was prescribed, but it gave them a reason to get rid of me and banish me from the Ward. Wow. Which was horrific to the patient and me.

Rob Oliver: Yeah. I mean, when you’re going through times like this, it’s then that you most need your family and your support system and you’re the primary support.

Celia Jones: He died sadly 24 hours later on his own.

Rob Oliver: I can’t comprehend that. It is such a sad thing. And I feel like if we’re going to get to that point in our lives that we pass, no one should have to do that alone. And I’m sorry that that experience happened to you.

Celia Jones: Yeah. In 2020, there was a case actually in the UK, in the High Court, and it deemed that nobody should have to die alone because we’ve had this coverage. Pandemic and visitors were not allowed in hospitals, but it was a human right that people should not be left to die alone.

Rob Oliver: Yeah. So true. What do you wish medical providers understood about you, the people that serve you? What do you wish they understood about you?

Celia Jones: You meaning medical providers generally or specifically now?

Rob Oliver: Medical providers in general. Has there ever been a time when you wish that someone just understood something about you or knew a particular instance or new circumstance that they would have been able to serve you better if they had known?

Celia Jones: To be honest with you, I think that the situation in England and the UK has gone so far downhill that we’ve gone past the point of getting back anything without a complete restructurization. I noticed on my phone the other day news they’re begging retired doctors to come back to work, which is not great, right? So people leave because they’re demoralized, everybody is short staffed so people are stressed and nobody does a good job.

Rob Oliver: Okay, last question for you. What is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of healthcare?

Celia Jones: They need to, well I am going to say again, prioritize the patient and not themselves and be honest, they must be honest.

Rob Oliver: So they need to make sure that healthcare is about patients.

Celia Jones: There should be a duty of candor which is not enacted in our law yet.

Rob Oliver: Excellent. Listen, Celia, thank you for being my first guest. Thank you for helping me kick this off and I appreciate your perspective on healthcare.

Rob Oliver: So what do you think? I would love to have you connect with me on social media. You can follow me on Twitter at your keynote and hit me up there and let me know your thoughts on what Celia had to say. What’s your reaction to her story and her ideas? Thanks for being with me and have a great day.

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Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by guests on the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast are solely the opinion of the guest. They are not to be misconstrued as medical diagnoses or medical advice. Please consult with a licensed medical professional before attempting any of the treatments suggested.

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