The claim by the UK Health Security Agency that individuals tested for monkeypox are usually informed of their result within 24 hours contrasts with my experience (‘It’s taken so long’: Monkeypox patients raise concerns over UK tracing delays, 19 June).
I was admitted to a major London teaching hospital on 10 June following my return from Africa with an unidentified infection. Monkeypox was ruled out and I was treated with intravenous antibiotics. Unexpectedly, on 12 June I was informed that I was to be tested for monkeypox after all. I would be placed in isolation and all staff would wear full PPE for the 48 hours that it would take to get a result.
After 48 hours, with no indication of how long the delay would continue and with food being left outside my room to go cold, I discharged myself and, wearing what PPE I could find, got myself home. More than a week later, I remain in isolation at home. And despite requests for the result made to the hospital by my GP and the local patient advice and liaison service, all we are told is that “an increase in cases means that there are more results for the labs to process and it can take some time for the results to come back”.
I would not encourage anyone to withhold consent to a test if medical advice is to have one, but I would urge some caution about the practical, financial and other consequences of an open-ended, indeterminate period of unexpected isolation.