Feedback and Testimonials


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Comments regarding the Harrow Gastro Website are gratefully received and suggestions welcomed! If you would like to leave a message for Dr Pitcher or his Harrow Gastro team regarding any aspect of your Private medical care please do so using the link

Testimonials

Miss NC aged 24y – Irritable bowel syndrome and not Crohn’s disease

I cannot thank Dr Pitcher enough for giving me my life back. For many years I have suffered with chronic abdominal pain. So severe I had to quit my job. I thought that there was no light at the end of the tunnel as I had already been seen under a hospital and wasn't getting any better. However, when I met Dr Pitcher he really dug into my past and history and made a lot of time for me. Previously I was diagnosed with suspected IBD, however the biopsy evidence was not enough in Dr Pitcher’s opinion to suggest it was Crohn's.  He put it down to irritable bowel syndrome, which could have been brought on by anxiety and food intolerances. He prescribed me the antidepressants Prozac and amitriptyline. They have both worked in effect for the pain. I can now eat most foods and not suffer as much as I did. I will always still suffer in mild pain, as the irritation in the bowel is still there. However, it is no way near as painful as it was beforehand.  I am so thankful for Dr Pitcher and his expertise. He has changed my life!  

Mr IK, aged 86y – Emergency admission for anaemia due to bleeding GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumour)

I have been meaning to write to you for some time because of the extraordinary kindness you showed my father recently whilst he was under your care. You diagnosed a GIST which, unfortunately, turned out to be high-risk and not benign, but my father has recovered well from his surgery and is doing well at the moment.

It is unusual in this day and age to experience the level of care that you showed to my father and I, and for this I will be forever grateful to you. Transporting my father yourself to The Clementine Churchill Hospital and telephoning me at 8.30am and 11pm at night is well, well beyond the call of duty and I would like to thank you most profusely for this.

Mr BC, aged 28y – undiagnosed eosinophilic oesophagitis for 20 years

Many thanks for emailing me the results of my blood tests now that I am settled in abroad. I just wanted to update you on my condition which you might find interesting.  The swallowing pain from my recent episode healed within a couple of days, and I generally felt less of a burning/acidic feel in my oesophagus than normal. Importantly though, all the symptoms of dysphagia I've had for the last 20 years or so have also gone completely. Typically I would feel some slight sticking of food at least once a day with most meals but now everything is fine. Many thanks for your help - being able to eat and not worry about food impaction occurring is quite a revolution for me!

Mr GH, aged 33y – undiagnosed bile acid diarrhoea for 15 years

For over 15 years I have been going on about my life as anyone would, not knowing how bad my toilet habits were, until my girlfriend told me to see someone after a difficult holiday abroad. I would tend to have diarrhoea around 4 or 5 times a day and they wouldn’t be pleasant experiences. I was referred to Dr Maxton Pitcher where he examined me and suggested I have my stomach tested for bile acid malabsorption with a radio-isotope pill.  I had to have my tummy scanned over a course of two weeks.   This showed evidence that there was an issue with my small intestine. I was prescribed Colesevelam Hydrochloride twice a day during my meals. I can honestly say that the medication has changed my life.  My eating habits are now unrestricted and the trips to the toilet were cut dramatically. I can now go out socially and not have the worry of having a troublesome time in the toilet. Many thanks!

Miss SF, aged 30y – first attack of severe, fulminating ulcerative colitis

6 weeks ago I had never heard of this disease and now here I am in remission from a severe acute attack. After having diarrhoea for 3 weeks and assuming it was just a bad bout of food poisoning / gastroenteritis, I was admitted to hospital under the care of Dr Pitcher with suspected IBD. This was quickly confirmed as acute severe Ulcerative Colitis. I was initially prescribed steroids to try and calm the condition but as my bowel was in danger of perforating and I was not reacting quickly enough to this treatment, Dr Pitcher proposed that I try a relatively new biological drug called Infliximab. So far this has proven to have been the best decision. Relatively shortly after the first infusion, the frequency of my bowel movements started to decrease and the x-rays showed that the swelling in my bowel had reduced and the need for surgery lessened considerably. Within 48 hours I was eating bland food and left hospital after a total 12 nights.

I can not thank or recommend Dr Pitcher highly enough for the treatment and attention I received while under his care. For the first few days in hospital, he came to see me twice a day to monitor my condition - I have no doubt that he is a very busy person but I always felt that he took the time to treat me to the best of his ability, to reassure me and patiently answer my questions. In hind sight, one thing that I think was particularly well managed by Dr Pitcher and all of the nursing and medical staff is the bite size chunks of information that I was given about my situation and planned treatment. Initially, I was not really in a position to absorb very much information at all and so I know that I was given only the essential points in the first few days. Once I was responding, I was given more details (including copies of letters to my GP) and Dr Pitcher was always available to answer any questions. For me this was the perfect approach as it minimised the amount I was overwhelmed.

Due to the fact that I live 120 miles away from Harrow, I am no longer under Dr Pitcher’s care, and I am a little disappointed in this as I believe I received the best possible attention while being one of his patients. He has generously made the effort to recommend and liaise with a gastroenterologist where I live and I am now due to see him in a couple of weeks. Dr Pitcher and the other staff at the Clementine Churchill Hospital always treated me with patience, consideration, efficiency and empathy. When I was initially admitted to hospital, I was embarrassed and upset about my symptoms but I was soon put at ease and felt I was able to hold on to my dignity. For helping me get through this unexpected and overwhelming period in my life, I will always be grateful. I am now feeling much better and am determined to manage this condition so to ensure it has the minimum impact on my life.

Mrs MW, aged 65y – disabling IBS and atypical facial pain, treated with low dose amitriptyline

FIRSTLY, I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME BACK MY LIFE.  I spent three very miserable tearful unpleasant years with my 'pain'. Many tearful appointments with GP and London Professor to no avail, although I am sure they were doing their best to help me.  I began to feel absolutely invisible to the medics and dreaded each day with the pain.  The winter was worse because the cold used to just grip my pain and make it unbearable.  I had the operation for the removal of my salivary gland just because I would have had anything done just to get rid of the pain. I just had a double whammy then as I still had my pain and also the pain of the ‘op’!!!   The removal of a perfectly good tooth also. Just one visit to you and you immediately prescribed the correct medication for me. I have to say that I did not actually hold out much hope but was very grateful for any attention given me but more importantly you gave me enough confidence for me to listen to you.  I am now well into the ‘swing’ of the tablets.  They are extremely efficient now at controlling the pain and although some days were not quite so good at times, even those days the pain is bearable.  Not too many of those days now though because over the last 2 weeks I am beginning to lead a normal life now thanks to you. Thank you, thank you so very much.  You are one fantastic Doctor.  To wake up in the morning without that horrible pain after 3 years was unbelievable.  Even my stomach problems have settled down!!!!  How amazing is that!

Miss HA, aged 47y – Elective colectomy and ileostomy for chronic ulcerative colitis

It is now 5 months since my surgery and I am very well, feel well and have had no issues with the stoma or care or it. I am a different person, more confident again, not worrying about going out etc. It was definitely the right time for me to have the surgery. I don’t think one realises quite how restricting life had been and how unwell I was, even with all the drugs (which on reflection didn’t really help!) until you feel healthy again. But then again, you know me, stubborn and stoical to the last!! I don’t think I was ready to have surgery sooner than I did, but to be able to have the procedure laparoscopically made it all much more appealing.

The timing was right for me, maybe I could have done it sooner but it takes a lot to realise that life will be better without a colon! All the worries I had about having a stoma have not materialised - you learn to cope with what you need to get on with life. I am now more concerned about having the pouch done as I will be back to the bathroom on a regular basis - with control so I am told!! I would not want to go to a permanent stoma without trying the pouch and I am hopeful that it will be as successful as the initial surgery. If things don’t go to plan and I eventually end up with a permanent stoma then I know that I will be fine with that.

Miss RD, aged 21y – severe IBS treated with gut-focussed hypnotherapy. Told elsewhere “nothing could be done for her”

I have been doing v. well at University! I cannot thank you enough for having been such a fantastic empathetic Doctor. You have played a great part in helping me get my life back following 2008, being positive about the future, no matter the dips, and being smart about how far I push myself and my body to manage my symptoms of any sort well. Thank you very much.

Mr AK, aged 66y – 40 year history of undiagnosed severe abdominal pain due to Familial Mediterranean Fever

Thank you so much for getting to the root cause of my longstanding tummy pain which has plagued me for so many years and for which no other doctors I have seen in London have provided an answer - up until now that is. You seemed to make the diagnosis almost at the first consultation. The confirmatory genetic test has been most reassuring and my pain is now satisfactorily prevented to a large extent with the colchicine tablets. My GP needed some convincing, however, as he had never heard of the condition and special measures were needed to help me get the medication.

ERCP for obstructive jaundice and stones in the common bile duct - Mr NB, aged 87y:

Another Ode to Endoscopy” - published in CS Healthcare Newsletter

So, once again, jaundiced and sick
NB appeared at St Mark’s Northwick,
Because my doctor was away,
It was to be Dr Pitcher’s day.

Due to the urgency of my condition,
He quickly arranged my admission.
So into Kingsley ward I went,
Expecting just another stent.

It was soon clear from Dr Pitcher,
He had other plans for my stricture;
Scarcely time even for a cup of tea
I was taken down for an ERCP.

Down my throat, the tubing went,
On its head, an instrument,
So designed, to crush my stones,
Without harming duct or bones.

Yes! I’m sure you’ll ask it,
On the end, was a little basket,
To carry away all debris,
Leaving bile duct nice and free.

There I was, you’ll be truly amazed)
Restored to health within two days.
Let endoscopic technology, be praised
And the wages of its’ technicians raised!

Ulcerative colitis, treatment - Mr JT, aged 42y

I am writing to you regarding the excellent service provided by Dr Max Pitcher. I am diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. Dr Pitcher is a very good doctor, he made me very comfortable and treated me very well. He is a credit to St Mark’s. I was suffering for 5 months since end of August 2009 when I saw Dr Pitcher in January 2010. I sincerely thank him for all his help. I am feeling much better now.

Dilatation of post-operative oesophageal stricture - Mr DW, aged 80y

Thank you for seeing me at such short notice on Friday. My throat is a little sore but I have been eating and swallowing normally ever since I came home. In fact, it’s the best it’s felt for two years.

Non-ulcer dyspepsia, diagnosis - Mr RV, aged 45y

Thank you for taking good care of a very nervous patient. Your kind reassurance was greatly appreciated.

Banding treatment of bleeding oesophageal varices – Mr JP, aged 68y

Thank you so much for what you have done for me. I will do everything it takes to stop drinking.

Stent for oesophageal cancer - Mrs SB, aged 60y

Thank you so much for your care and attention whilst our mother was under your care. Your warmth and kindness was so greatly appreciated. She felt very safe under your care. The time you took out to explain and reassure her and us during the very emotional time will always be held close to our hearts forever. Thank you once again for everything and your personal touch - you are such a humble individual - it has meant so much to us.

Lymphoma, diagnosis - Mrs CF, aged 75y

Thanks for all your help. Chemotherapy cleared the initial cancer but it returned in my lungs. Hopefully with the radiotherapy all will be well.

ERCP and lithotripsy for stones in the common bile duct - Mrs MA, ages 65y

I am writing to thank you for your patience and performance of such a thorough procedure last week. Although I found the procedure daunting and somewhat uncomfortable, I am grateful that you did persevere and complete the operation. I would like you to know that I feel much better and your findings have put my mind at rest with regard to health issues which have worried me for some time. I would like to support the Hospital’s Bowel Cancer Research programme and enclose a donation.

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, diagnosis & referral for surgery - Mr NB, aged 78y

I want to thank you for the treatment I received and for recommending the surgeon who carried out the operation. I would like to mention that I have suffered severely with this disease (together with unusual regular blackouts) for 6 years. There have been no further incidents since my surgery. This surgery has definitely improved the quality of my life and I feel that I have got my former lifestyle back. Thank you once more for doing your best to treat this disease - I am grateful to you for this.

Crohn’s disease, treatment and emergency surgery - Mrs GS, aged 26y
Thank you very much for looking after me so well over the past few years in general and the past couple of weeks in particular. Thanks for getting me seen and looked after so promptly that morning, and for taking care of me after the operation. It was really reassuring to be looked after so well, and I am glad to be on the mend now.

Non-ulcer dyspepsia, diagnosis - Mrs CA, overseas visitor, aged 55y

Thank you very much for the reassuring reports and your friendly attitude. Your type could make a very sick person to get well even without medication.

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