Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Continuing the Tale: Not a Good Day on the NHS - December 2010

We walked into the local A&E and I was seen to very quickly and moved straight into the High Dependency Unit, again here I was dealt with efficiently, given ECGs and seen by both nurses and a doctor. We went through what had happened over and over again, as you do in these situations and explained the condition I had and gave them my twenty four hour emergency card, which had been issued to me in case of a medical emergency and for medical staff to make contact with my centre. The doctor was very agreeable to contacting Papworth once they had made all the necessary checks. I was made comfortable and given a bed. So far, so good.

The main consultant then came to see me and we went through everything again, he explained that they would need a blood test now and then one three hours later to ensure I had not had a heart attack. He was making it abundantly clear that he thought it unnecessary to ring Papworth and then took it upon himself to start meddling with the drugs I had been given, telling me that it was unnecessary to be on my diuretic Furosemide. At this point my alarm bells were going I didn't want some person altering my prescriptions from the GP on a whim and I told him I wouldn't be altering any of my medication until I had spoken or someone had spoken to my specialist centre. He went off, saying I would have to wait to have the next blood test. All not too bad so far, but could be better.

There were some patients who had been admitted before me causing a fracas about the terrible care they were receiving. I just listened and thought they were quite rude. I was then literally thrown out of the bed I had been given and thrust in some sort of tiny, filthy side room to wait the three hours. Two hours later no -one had been anywhere near me, I had been here about six hours now and had not had anything to drink since about seven o'clock in the morning and I hadn't eaten anything, I saw them taking food round the ward and offering drinks and I was left sitting in this filthy room, full of last night's rubbish sitting with other patient's relatives and old people they had just dumped in there like me. These elderly clearly needed some attention, they were sat in soiled clothes and wet clothes and they were usually waiting to be collected by ambulance to go home like this. It was pretty disgusting I have to say.

Kirkstone Pass
Back to me again, I really needed to eat and drink something and make up my drugs in a clean area, I had been up most of the night, felt terribly weak and unwell, but unfortunately (and this can be fortunately at times too) I have this tendency to look very well and I believe staff thought I was waiting to collect a patient, especially as I was waiting in the relatives waiting room. I went to ask them if I could have some lunch and make my medication up, the only way I could see this happening was to go and sit in the car to do it, as the waiting room was filthy. They were, at this point, extremely rude to me and told me if I left the premises I would be at risk and they would not be responsible. They offered no alternatives, no food, no drink and no clean place to make my medication in. At this point I said I will just take the risk and be back in half an hour. We went to the car and did the necessary, at this point I felt I would be better to be at home, but another part of me felt I had to see this through as the six or seven hours I had been there already would be wasted. We were about quarter of an hour, staff saw me come back in and we waited again, three hours came and went, four hours came and went... Rob went to chase them up and as we thought they had forgotten about me, they had forgotten and apologised and said they would be along to take the next blood test, an hour later.... Rob had to chase them again. Eventually they came and did the blood test, in the filthy room, amongst relatives of the other patients and the elderly sitting in their soiled clothing. I remember thinking if I was ok when I came in, I'm going to be coming out of here a whole lot worse.

I had to wait for the results of this blood test, which they said should be an hour. Another hour came and went and it is nine hours later, still no offer of any food and drink or any sign of anybody knowing I was even there. Another hour and Rob chased them again. Eleven hours after I first arrived I got the blood test result and Mr clever cloggs consultant said he would put that I need to contact Papworth myself in the discharge letter. At this point a kind nursing assistant offered me a sandwich and something to drink! I felt some empathy with the people who had been shouting at the staff earlier.

During all this nonsense, Rob had the good sense to keep in touch with Papworth to let them know what was going on. I left the hospital, having come in feeling not too bad, completely exhausted and felt I couldn't walk very fast, I slowed down my walking and took my time, the last thing I wanted was to faint again and end up in there!

The following morning Rob decided to contact Papworth again, he was worried about what had happened.  

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