Abigail McArdle’s story back and forth from RVI Newcastle & Durham

Abigail McArdle aged 26 years old from the North East was referred to Dr Chaloub in November 2017 after years of terrible menstrual pain starting at the age of 8 her GP decided that a specialist needed to see Abbey as It had recently become more of an issue of her everyday life. Whilst long waiting for her appointment Abbey’s symptoms were aggressively getting worse she was in so much pain Abbey started collapsing and vomiting. This started to become a 2 weekly thing. Due to the severity of the pain she had multiple admissions to A&E in the RVI and to gynaecology ward 40.  Image may contain: Abbey Jokar and Lopez Omid Jokar, people standing, wedding, sky and outdoor

This is her story………..

I first thought of complaining regarding the treatment I was receiving from ward 40 nursing staff1  in particular that completely ignored my very obvious excruciating pain and as my bloods came back normal as well as urine samples they would put it down to it must be in my head or I was putting it on for attention or that I was an addict of pain medication. Even after diagnosis for my endometriosis she continued to tell me I’m an addict that I need to come to terms with my addiction with cognitive behavioural therapy taking it upon herself to diagnose that was the reason for my pain.

Along with these allegations she started to tell me I am killing my unborn child by taking the medication. I needed to keep my pain at a manageable  level (I was not pregnant and she knew that with endometriosis infertility is a high risk). This was all in front of my mother and husband. My mother at the time being shocked at her behaviour followed her out of the room only to hear her telling the nursing staff “here she is again here for her fix”. At the time I was in so much pain I was unable to defend myself I could only cry at her accusations and say no. I did make a pals complaint regarding this and the matron of the ward apologied for the misconduct of the nurse and proceeded to tell me that the nurse no longer worked there anymore. 

However I Eventually had my laparoscopy surgery on 4 June 2018 with Dr Chaloub. My discharge information stated that I had a laparoscopy which showed endometriosis, my ovaries and tubes were normal, diathermy (burning technique called ablation) to the endometriosis was performed with no follow up and that a routine recovery is expected.

2 months after surgery I suddenly started to experience the same excruciating  pain as before but I thought maybe it’s still healing so left it however after 2 weeks I started bleeding again with the  same routine as before the surgery however the pain was worse. 

My husband took me to A&E after trying to fight the pain for hours this was the 18th august this time I was admitted from A&E to ward 40 and seen by Miss Felicity Mills a foundation year 2 under Dr Chaloub, she sent me down for a ultra sound which was done on the 19th august 2018. It showed 2 cysts on my right ovary both on and inside of the ovary. 1 follicle cyst 9mm and 1 cyst inside the ovary 11mm which due to my history of endometriosis could be suggestive of an endometriona cyst. I was discharged on the same day as they believed that the cysts are insignificant and they found no further causes to investigate, I questioned what would happen to the cysts I was told they would just burst and its nothing to worry about.

After doing my own research I did become more aware that having this sort of pain this early after surgery also reading up reguarding endometriona cysts that these symptoms should be getting dealt with or at least a plan put in place for me. So my husband and myself believe a second opinion would be best after numerous admissions to ward 40 and repeativly told there’s nothing else they can do so we saw no other choice than to tell dr Challoub that we needed my information to be sent to a dr khazali in Surrey for a second opinion. From this moment on I have had nothing but trouble after asking for a second opinion this is where the nightmare with dr Challoub began, he removed me from his patient list. Then he wouldn’t send my information after promising numerous times both himself and his secretary Maureen had both lied saying they had been sent, however once we got to Surrey after spending our savings paying to see dr khazali privately and the traveling expenses to Surrey were told dr Challoub has not sent anything so dr khazali needs to make his opinion on the little information that I had kept. 

 dr khazali believed that the endometriona inside of the ovary needed to be drained and that any endometriosis left needed excision surgery to remove it however being privately owned I was unable to pay for the surgery privately by him self and through the nhs dr khazali advises for a specialist to be near to my home as I would need to have specialist care near by throughout my life and coming to Surrey is not realistic.

Another trip to A&E where my GP had called for an ambulance to take me to hospital and had said that he was calling Dr Chaloub to see if he would take me on as I have no specialist in the area and I need to be seen to as an emergency.  He agreed to take me back on as a patient however when I get to the A&E although the a&e doctor  agrees  that I need to be admitted to ward 40 or seen by a specialist as she has no knowledge of endometriosis she tells me she is deeply sorry but ward 40 will not accept me. I questioned why and that I needed help she went on to say I’ve been told to stop any pain relief and to send me home. I’m not able to do anything else so as my husband got the wheelchair to push me out she handed a leaflet for pals and said that we should look into it. After this episode at the RVI it hit me really hard they were now refusing me treatment I didn’t know how I was going to be able to cope at home.

I then received a letter confirming an appointment had been made for me to see Dr Chaloub in clinic on the 15th November 2018 after my GP had called to make sure I was put back under his care. I was waiting a long time for this appointment but thought maybe this had resolved things and I would now get the health care needed. 

Awaiting the appointment I have several flare ups where I am petrified to seek help crying all night until my husband wouldn’t let it go on any further took me to the RVI and I was admitted however as usual nothing happened I’m only given morphine to relief the immediate pain at this point we are told that the appointment with dr Challoub has been cancelled with no explanation.

I came out of hospital still unable to walk  and to keep medication down still crying in pain, I was unable to climb the steps to our home so I needed to go to my mother’s house. Within 4-5 hours after being discharged from ward 40 rvi I I needed an ambulance again being violently sick and the pain rising to excruciating levels due to not being able to keep medication down. The ambulance crew could not believe I had been discarded in this state so called ward 40 to ask them to re admit but they refused once again with no explanation, so the paramedics took me to Durham hospital. On arrival at Durham hospital as I was in a bad state the paramedics talked to a doctor regarding my pain to see if I could have pain relief they told them I needed to be under a endometriosis team and that is at the RVI and that they will demand I need to go back to ward 40. So after travelling to Durham the paramedics now needed to take me to the RVI who now would accept me. Upon entering the ward it was empty and plenty of beds were there, the paramedics did question the nurse as to why I was refused if there’s this many beds available, she said she had no knowledge of any of this and she was only a nurse, as the paramedics left me one who had cared for me throughout the whole journey witnessing first had my condition and my blood pressure dropping inside the ambulance and told me that once I am well enough I needed to look into complaining regarding just this incident to the highest degree as it was despicable. 

After all of this I was seen by a doctor who agreed Dr Challoub  now needs to get involved. Once he arrived accompanied by 2 other doctors I wanted to address firstly  what surgery was performed as it’s got on 2 medical documents 2 different types of surgery he told me excision was done and ablation was used for a small amount on the other side, so I proceeded to ask could I see my pathology report of what you cut out of me , he apologised and told me he didn’t send anything to pathology that I was right usually a pathology report would be done but as it was only small and it didn’t need testing as he’s a specialist and could see that it was endometriosis he didn’t do one I now know that anything that has been taken away from the body no matter how small needs to be sent to pathology . So I proceeded to ask what can be done moving forward with my care he already knew I am wanting children so hormonal therapy is not an option  as  that just masks the endometriosis not remove it. Dr  Challoub then agreed that surgery to remove any endometriosis that has reoccurred drain any endometriona cysts and also to check my tubes to make sure they are clear so I can have children straight after surgery to see if that helps my condition as in some cases some people who conceive do sometimes get relief from endometriosis so this would help both fulfill our wish of children and give us hope of decreasing the pain. 

Still not right I stayed at my mother’s house in Stanley where I had a another flare up. I was taken to Durham hospital as it was nearest in the area and I knew that ward 40 may not admit me as I’ve be turned away on numerous occasions. They gave me a ultrasound where a cyst was found on the left ovary measuring 31x29x28mm with it being a blood filled cyst they could not rule out an endometriona cyst and with my name on the waiting list for surgery they thought it would be wise to inform my consultant Dr Chaloub of this finding. With me in hospital in pain and struggling to talk I thought it best for my mother to call and inform them however Dr Chaloub’s secretary Maureen was very rude and would not speak to my mother even after explaining I am lying in a hospital bed unable to talk still she insisted I needed to call myself.  My mother asked if Abigail gave her consent for me to speak on behalf of her would that be allowed she said not at all I needed to be next to my mother as she called. So I called the next day to explain when she informed me I was not on the waiting list Dr Chaloub was still awaiting my confirmation I explained that this could not be possible that Dr Rebecca Lovell had told him that I wanted the surgery and I have my discharge letter to say I am on the waiting list she then replied very rudely that she is not a doctor and to tell my mother to never call her again on my behalf. I tried to reason with her and explain I’m in a great deal of pain I am in a hospital bed as I speak can I not give my confirmation that my own mother can call on behalf of me, she shut down the question telling me she has already explained to my mother she cannot call again and hung up. After calling back Maureen the next day to ensure Dr Chaloub was taking this seriously and had looked at the scan results I was put through to another secretary as Maureen was in a meeting but she would leave a message for her and she said she would call back, I received no call back.

So I then called my GP  DR Makepeace and explained the situation he kindly suggested after knowing my ongoing troubles with the ward and Dr Chaloub that if I emailed my ultrasound results through to him he could pass it over to Dr Chaloub as he thinks Dr Chaloub should see the results in case earlier treatment was needed.

So I waited until the next day and called Maureen back to see if Dr Chaloub had received the report from my GP she told me that Dr Chaloub was not in today however she got the message that I left yesterday and Dr Chaloub has told her that he does not need to see any results. I am now stuck on what to do. I am discharged from Durham after being monitored and ensured I can eat and drink and told by the pain team that the only thing I can do until surgery when I have a big flare up is to come to hospital for monitoring as I’m unable to keep my pain relief medication in my system due to vomiting and even when the tablets are in my system at times during a severe flare up this medication is not enough. Now every 2 weeks I’m likely to need to attend A&E, which Is severely affecting me.

After a couple of days again I’m in excruciating pain with pain going into my leg, again being at my mother’s I am taken to Durham and re scanned to see if it had ruptured as if it was indeed an endometriona that had ruptured then this could have long lasting defects to my fertility this was on the 26 November 2018.

The scan showed that the cyst was smaller than the previous scan measuring 21x22x26mm with traces of free fluid in the pouch of Douglas.

At this point I had finally got to breaking point myself and my husband proceeded to complain to the chief executive of the RVI by writing a letter containing all my complaints that I believed I had been mistreated I attached this and emailed this also posted a second copy  to the chief executive on the 28th November 2018 we also proceeded to complain twice to our mp and reaches out to all resources to pleed for someone to help us. 

I received a call from a lady who worked for the chief executive and was a investigating officer on the 3rd December apologising for having such a cause for complaint and explained that they will respond in writing to myself regarding there investigation in 40 working days so I should have received this report by the 28th January 2019. It was revealed after speaking to her that something may be able to be done and that I should have complaint that it was wrong what had happened to me so I was hopeful this could be resolved and the surgery I needed would take place. 

However I was admitted to ward 40 where dr Challoubs  understudy examined  me and did believe it was wise to bring my surgery sooner due to the cysts and the unbearable daily pain however the next day in ward 40 dr  Challoub did come to see me after he had been told of the complaint I had made he came into the ward aggressively  as I was lying in pain waiting for a doctor to do ward rounds, he said to me that he knows about the complaint that I have put in regarding him and said as I quote ‘ your talking absolute bullshit’ so now there’s nothing we can do until your surgery is done in  March or when ever the waiting list is so you just need to get off the ward until then that’s it where finished and walked away other paitents  in the beds near to me seeing how incredibly upset I was and after hearing what he had said actually got out of bed to console me telling me how sorry they where for me that no one should experience that my only answer was that I was used to it so I was forced to leave the ward barley able to walk crying I needed to get to some seats for my husband to come and pick me up as I was petrified to stay in the ward any longer he had made me hit rock bottom. At this point we knew that us complaining which we had been told to do by many other health professionals and thought we had more than a right to had made my situation 100%  worse, the only thing I could do now would be to tell the chief executive to add this onto my complaint.

I do understand more time will need to be taken to investigate this extra complaint,even though truthfully I was unable to just wait for a decision to be Made my health unfortunately just couldn’t be put on hold and have been needing to go to a&e where I was told by my case worker that I legally needed to go for treatment at the rvi and couldn’t be turned away and my care should not be effected by my complaint however time and time again I was rejected from ward 40 or once I’m on ward 40 dr Challoub will not do anything to help they treat me terribly and discharge me without any investigation, I’m petrified to go to hospital now when I have my extreme flare ups due to dr challoubs attitude and lack of care. I don’t know how my body will cope much longer being in the extreme pain and how much this strain is putting onto my fertility that I’m very much protective over after seeing the Mis failings of dr challoubs care. 

After being admitted into Durham hospital this January they found the endometriona cyst that I was told had dissolved has now grew inside my ovary , now to 3 cm this could put my fertility at risk severely if this ruptures which is a daily worry of mine. 

I can no longer work due to my illness I am now in pain almost daily needing to rely on my mother who herself has chronic osteoarthritis in both knees and my  husband who works very hard on-top of caring for me.  I used to run my own business and work 40 hours a week on top of that I always had an active lifestyle even competing in bodybuilding competitions However now I am unable to even take a shower without needing to take a nap afterwards due to the stress on my body also due to the amount of pain relief I now need to take.

I have been passed around for too long I complained due to the above reasons and the  investigation and answers to my complaint should have been answered to by the 28th January 2019 however on the 1st February I had a phone call back after trying tirelessly to get some information on the case that further time was needed to complete the investigation as ward 40 had not complied or released any of the information on time so they had until the 11th February to hand it over for the case worker for the case worker and others to then produce the report that would be done by the 22nd March 2019. 

After being taken in and out of a&e in tremendous pain every month getting worse and still having no answers from the chief executives office I decided by the 28th March 2019  I had allowed to much time and tried to call to demand some answers my case worker was on holiday at the time but I spoke to the leader Tracey Scott reguarding my case she informed me that ward 40 had still not complied with any information or answered any of the serious complaints even herself was disgusted at just how they have been allowed to not follow protocol timeframes and carry on treating  me in this way. I complained to try to help my health after receiving 2 years of bad treatment in November 2018 and still by the end of March 2019 there has been nothing done to even apologise or explain how this misconduct and utter lack of care has been allowed to carry on by dr Challoub and ward 40 at the RVI. 

I don’t know where else I’m able to turn to for help I’ve tried every avenue with little or no success. my health both physically and mentally have been effected by this on going ordeal and my fertility will be effected and most probably already is severely which is heartbreaking for  myself but also my husband who this has also effected tremendously after seeing the effects this disease has had on my body and my personality. My mother and husband have tried all to help but we can’t fight the system that has so tremendously let us down. We just need answers how these things could be allowed to happen and why nothing has been done to help how can I after begging for help from medical professionals be let down so much. I can’t be the only one in this situation, I feel for any woman fighting this silent disease it destroys family’s and even destroys the woman fighting every day in pain with very little research or in my case the people who are the specialists treat you in such a manner you loose all hope. 

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9 thoughts on “Abigail McArdle’s story back and forth from RVI Newcastle & Durham

  1. I first met Abbey in UHND when my own daughter ( who actually knew her from school) was admitted in a similar condition into the same ward. (incidentally, she also, still has no answers to her condition either)
    This young lady is one of the strongest people I’ve met. (As a previous bodybuilder myself, not the type of people who moan about pain.. No pain no gain are words to live by)
    Every time I arrived to see my own daughter, Abbey would be laid on her bed, curled up in a foetal position, in silent tears, not wanting to disturb the other ladies in the 4 bed ward room. She was obviously in excruciating pain and was extremely distressed. I would go over to give her a hug and let her cry on me she was in such a bad state. She didn’t know me except for knowing my daughter and yet she clung to me, sobbing. I was appalled!!! So much so, that I took it upon myself to speak to a nurse several times to ask for some help for her. My daughter had also done this multiple times on her behalf while they were in together as she couldn’t bear to see her in so much pain.
    Each time I visited she was in a worse state. Even then, she was being treated as a pain med addict and had been refused an increased dose of medication.
    I have followed her life from then to here… . Through her many, many admissions to different hospitals, having to give up her business and spending almost every day in awful amounts of pain.
    No one should be treated the way this young woman has been… If she were an animal suffering as much, and as often, as she does, a vet would advise euthanasia!!

    Why is it possible for 1 so-called ‘doctor’ to have such power over a person’s life without being held accountable?? The alarm bells should have been ringing with the management team when so many admissions were refused.
    He should be struck off the medical register and never allowed to practice medicine again. He is obviously not a specialist or he would have been, in my opinion, so frustrated by her case that he would do anything to get to the bottom of it. Instead, he kicked her out of the hospital, barely able to walk and promptly forgot about her. He should be made to pay from his own pocket any private medical fees needed to ensure Abbey is treated properly.

    He is a disgrace to the medical profession.
    The Hippocratic Oath states… First, do no harm.

    A massive failure, don’t you think?

  2. Wow absolutely disgusting the way you’ve been treated dr challloub needs stuck off and the entire staff on ward 40 want prosecuted how can this even happen feel sad that this has happened to what is meant to be one of the best hospitals in northeast it needs sorting and this poor girl needs help and then compensation for the aweful cruel way she has been treated

  3. I feel your pain Abigail.. I suffered the same for many years..my trouble started at 18 years of age..with heavy periods..a swollen tummy..and horrendous pain.. ..I kept going to see my gp who just told me all young girls have heavy periods..there would be days I could hardly move due to the pain..there were times i was scared to leave the house as one day the pains started when i was out shopping by myself at Newcastle.. i was stood in a sho door way unable to move..the pain was like a vice..after numerous visits to the gp..and also calling out GPS to my home..i was finally referred to a gynaecologist..after various tests and scans they found i had endometriosis and ..a huge cyst on my ovary..i was put on the waiting list to have surgery to remove the cyst..things settled for a while..then i had a huge flare up..i was 8n and out of hospital having different procedures on the day unit..i had what the doctor called chocolate cysts on my womb..extensive endometriosis..my tubes were blocked..i was then given a hysterectomy..which left me unable to have children..doctors are not very caring when it comes to endometriosis..there needs to be more done about it..women should not give up..I hope one day you get the help you need Abigail.. keep fighting..I’m here if you need to talk..

  4. Wow, my heart goes out to you. This is unbelievable that someone should be treated in this way. To me it sounds like a personal vendetta now but unfortunately it is you that is suffering. When a complaint has been lodged it is so wrong that it is not being dealt with. I truly hope that you get the surgery you need soon and go on to have the family you desire with your husband, good luck x

  5. I can’t quite believe this, I’ve just been diagnosed with endometriosis by laparoscopy which was performed by Dr Chaloub, he was very respectful with me and he was the only one to take the chance to do the laparoscopy. Durham wouldn’t do anything for me. I would highly recommend Dr Chaloub, he was recommended by a friend to me.

  6. Can I simply just say what a relief to discover someonethat actually understands what they’re discussing online.You actually realize how to bring an issueto light and make it important. More and more people really need to read this and understand this side of yourstory. I can’t believe you are not more popular because you most certainly have thegift.

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