St Mark's Hospital
Review of Bowel Cancer Screening, written by a patient
12th June 2020
The colonoscopy was necessary following an abnormal result using a regular, home bowel test kit (once every two years). Some delay in follow-up was unavoidable because of Covid-19. An initial visit, on Tuesday 9th June, to collect the Moviprep laxative and diet instructions pre-procedure, also included a swab test for Covid-19. The result was advised by telephone 24 hours later (negative). The procedure took place on the Friday, three days later. I was met at the door of St Marks by a nurse who walked me to the Endoscopy unit inside the hospital. I was given a fresh virus mask to replace my own and then answered the usual identity questions (date of birth, address) plus general health questions, to a separate nurse (Sindu), who was very kind and considerate. She ran though the risks of the procedure which I understood by signing the form. She inserted a small, plastic cannula into my arm which would receive the sedation liquid, and took my blood pressure.Then I had to change, removing all garments below the waist, and put on a hospital gown and large, blue boxer shorts with an access hole in the back. Next, I sat in the waiting room, alone, watching television, before meeting Ahmed, very gentle and professional, who needed consent for a separate research project. Then, the main man, Professor Brian Saunders, came in with a group of observers and trainee doctors. He told me about the procedure and was not only professional but exuded confidence, which was very reassuring. I was then taken by one of the nurses to the treatment room, almost like an operating theatre, with a couch, screen and other equipment. I had to give my details again, to confirm I was the correct patient, and my blood pressure was taken once more. After the couch was adjusted for comfort, I was given the sedative to help me relax and asked to lay on my left side. The sedative kicked in quite quickly and the procedure commenced. It's possible to observe the procedure on the screen as the small camera moved through the rectum and colon. Quite fascinating. Professor Sanders narrated what he was doing for the benefit of me and the observers. When he found a small polyp, which often occur in older patients, he was able to remove it using a loop and snare attached to a wire passing through the colonoscope. I had a slightly larger one, 14 mm, removed the same way. Only two were removed and were to be sent for laboratory analysis. The whole process took around 45 minutes and was absolute painless. Then the wheeled couch was moved to a recovery area in the next room, where my blood pressure was taken again. I was able to rest awhile and have some tea and biscuits. Two or three nurses (male and female) came and went and each spoke to me and all were very kind and caring. Karen seemed to be the lead nurse at this point and, after around 30 minutes, I was able to dress and she kindly walked me to the main St Marks entrance where my wife arrived to collect me. So, arrived at 10.00 am and left at around 1.00 pm. Absolutely first rate service and felt very reassured throughout. A very good team.