Staff telling jokes about patients in Kingston A&E

I was in A&E with what is now suspected to be diverticulitis. It felt disorganised in the extreme.

I was taken straight through without triage and put directly on a bed because I was in agonising pain. We only saw a nurse an hour and a half after i was given a bed to take blood pressure and pain killers. I had to ask for a urine sample pot because i knew they would eventually require one. Another 30 minutes passed and the same nurse came back to give me a blood test. We didn’t see a doctor for 3 hours (I was crying in pain) and only got one to my bedside because my boyfriend who had had enough, went up and demanded it from the nurses in no uncertain terms. He was so strident we had a doctor there in two minutes.

Some doctors were standing around telling jokes. The one that horrified me the most was that one doctor and one nurse were laughing about a patient because he only had one leg. I was disgusted.

A nurse said ‘I was laughing so hard seeing that stump I had to leave the room.’ A doctor laughing about a patient’s unfortunate physical condition in A&E where they are supposed to take care of you, and there are only curtains for a divide and everyone can hear everything? I just hope that man had been discharged by that point in time. Poor guy. He came into A&E for whatever his problem was and had the doctors and nurses mock and ridicule him.

In the cubicle to my left was a girl who couldn’t have been more than 20 years old who was incredibly ill. She continuously vomited for 2 hours and not one person came to see her other than a nurse to give her bowls to throw up in. She arrived at around the same time we did and as far as I saw no one even took her blood pressure or took a blood or urine sample for the first 2 hours we were there. No one put her on an IV to give her any fluids (she must have been dehydrated).

In the cubicle to my right there was a man who had sever haemorrhoidal problems (there is no privacy because only curtains divide). The doctor spoke little english, it seemed. The poor guy had to describe his symptoms six times before the doctor understood what was going on.

I have been to Kingston A&E before. The first time they were ok (with the exception of giving me antibiotics for an infection with a known resistance, I had to get a private doctor who gave me the appropriate drugs a few days later).


Tests revealed my mother needed surgery

For a number of years my mother suffered with diverticulitis, on many occassions she visited her Doctor/s to be told many people suffer with this and unfortunately there is no cure.

She resigned herself to the fact nothing could be done and it was something she had to put up with.

Over time it became worse, terrible pains and feeling very unwell.

On a few occassions, I had to call the Paramedics as she was in such a state, very weak, weight loss and bleeding from the back passage.

One evening she was rushed to hospital, she was given a bed and put on an IV drip for the night, apparently this would build up her strength.

The following morning a Dr did his rounds and told my mother she was able to return home, much to my dismay!

Needless to say, my mother was no better. It continued like this for quite a number of months, serious bleeding, she is also diabetic. Again she was rushed into hospital. This time she had reached the point where she was so weak, they didn’t think she would make it.

After a number of tests and x-rays (all which, in my opinion, should have been done a year or so prior to this) the tests revealed that she would have to have most of her bowel removed, there was a terrible infection going on and the only way round this was to remove the infected part of the bowel.

The hospital Dr that was dealing with her, asked why she had let this go on for so long! To which I replied, it was never taken seriously and she was always told that what she had was common and there was no cure.

The Dr went on to say, if this had be dealt with in the early stages, she wouldn’t be in the situation she was in at that time.


No info or support on coeliac disease at Queen’s

Have been having lots of tests done because of tummy problems and anaemia – it has taken nine months for them to diagnose coeliac disease.

Numerous tests done, long waits for appts because the clinic is only held once a fortnight or not at all – when consultants are taking holidays – repeated phone calls to consultants secretary (given to me by my G.P.) to try to get an appt. arranged to get results – histology tests not back – when they have enough patients then they hastily arrange a clinic you are given about five working days notice – eventually after two and a half months I got my results via the consultant who was very abrupt had no info on coeliac disease and told me they don’t deal with anything like that!

The fact that I also have diverticulitis and a hiatus hernia, it is not very comforting when you live on your own, have no family and have to go home on your own, and research it all on the ‘net’.

What if I didn’t have a computer?


Concerns about my husband’s dementia care

My husband’s story

My husband is 81, and was diagnosed with vascular dementia around 4 or 5 years ago but only after 2 or 3 years of my insisting things didn’t appear right with him – no one believed me – my GP, nor my son & daughter – a doctor and nurse! He also has diverticulitis and (Type 2) diabetes and chronic heart disease, so I find it all a challenge at 77, and have to keep reminding my daughter I’m not nurse-trained.

My husband has been quite independent but needs constant reminding to do things especially to drink! I have to supervise his dressing and personal hygiene, and I do all his drugs as he was getting confused as to what and when – of special concern was warfarin.

He fell recently, (November 2012) and I couldn’t lift him and used my alarm button and the paramedics were called. They thought he may have a urine infection as his temperature was high, so took him to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital A&E, where they assessed him very swiftly and confirmed this and gave him some antibiotics and discharged. My daughter arrived to take him home by car, and once home my nightmare started. He lost strength in his legs and could hardly walk up the steps to the house. My daughter and I managed to get him inside and he spent the night downstairs on the sofa. At 2. 30am he was unable to stand to pass urine, and his co-ordination was terrible – he kept missing the bottle – and wet himself. I was distraught, and called my daughter back, who then spent the night with him.

I tried the 24/7 Rapid Emergency Response team but only got an answermachine. I thought I must have got it wrong. (They later apologised for this).

The GP On Call refused to come out but contacted a duty social worker who apparently said it wasn’t an emergency as he hadn’t fallen and we would have to wait and contact our own GP in the morning. So even though my daughter and I couldn’t lift him between us, we had to keep him at home? It was a very fraught night.

When I contacted the GP next morning, he arranged for a bed to be reserved and an ambulance to take us to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

At 12:30 pm, we arrived at the Clinical Decision Unit. There was no bed. My husband was on the trolley for 2 hours with the paramedics. There was a lot of frenetic activity around a white board – the first time I’d seen any staff. They still hadn’t spoken to him – and he was getting restless. The paramedics told us that the nursing staff had pressed the ‘release’ button at 13:10 – implying that my husband had been handed over? My daughter said this was to make sure their targets looked like they were being met. The paramedics were with my husband until 2pm.

At 2pm a nice nurse explained what was going to happen – he’d been taken to the bed by this time. My husband was confused – I could tell he wasn’t absorbing anything. I told them he couldn’t stand but I could tell by their faces they didn’t believe me and they still dragged him out of bed because they insisted on weighing him. My daughter was horrified – she said they would have used his armpits, risking shoulder dislocation and said they should have done a risk assessment and used a hoist, but they managed after a lot of struggling – I could see my husband’s feet sliding everywhere under the curtains, and he sounded distressed – they still didn’t appear to believe us about his confusion.

At a quarter past 4, a lovely junior doctor assessed my husband, but I still felt they didn’t believe us – the sideways looks we were getting. At 17:15 my husband said he wanted to pass urine and the nurses wanted him to use a bottle. My daughter said he needed help, but they left the bottle on the end of the bed, drew the curtains and had to run off to find a confused patient who had walked off the unit. When they got back my husband had wet the bed, and because there were no nurses left, my daughter helped make the bed, and apparently she said they dragged him up using a lift that she says was forbidden years ago. My daughter refused to leave his bedside after this, as she was quite upset at the lack of dignity afforded him and my obvious distress.

They took a swab from my husband’s nose and laughed when he winced in discomfort, saying that she found it amusing seeing the different reactions. My husband’s nose has remained tender since his cancer was removed a few years ago. His hurt is my hurt.

His meal was left on a tray in front of him – because of his lack of co-ordination he had great difficulty eating it and it was left to us to feed him.

At 6pm, the drugs were given out but some of his diabetic tablets were missing – I had earlier given them a list of his medication, they blamed the electronic prescribing, I always carry a supply of his drugs and offered them the missing tablets which they accepted asking if I could leave some for the following day as they would probably have the same problem.

Shortly afterwards, he had another accident because they were too busy, so my daughter insisted on staying as she felt he wasn’t safe. My daughter asked for cot sides, as he was very restless, and a kind Healthcare Assistant stayed behind after the end of her shift to fit them.

At the end of visiting, at 8pm, we asked the nurse if the consultant was coming, and was told nonchalantly that the consultant would have gone home by now, and it could be any time between now and 3 o’clock in the morning before a more senior doctor saw my husband. The face and the deep sigh made me feel like I was being a nuisance asking. My daughter asked if there was any likelihood he might be transferred out, and offered her telephone number, but was told they would be too busy in the night to phone us if this happened. I was incredulous that we would not be informed if my husband was moved out of the hospital. The HCA was more helpful and gave us a number to ring in the morning to see if he was still there or to find out where he may have been moved.

My daughter called the number the next morning around 6am and tried three times with no success – just ringing out – before finally calling the main switchboard and asking for the Matron on call, who returned her call and found a member of the ward staff to speak to her.

I think what has upset me more than the drug error, dragging my husband round the bed, leaving him to wet himself was that I felt that no one believed me, and treated my husband as a hindrance. There was no communication for the two days unless I asked my daughter to ask for any updates. Fortunately he was transferred out after the second day to a nearby community hospital. That didn’t fare much better, which leads me to believe this is what we must expect from our NHS now.

14 years ago when my husband was only 67 and had no dementia, he was poorly managed on the same unit, then called ‘Medical Assessment Unit’, and I had hoped that this new ‘flagship hospital’ would have improved. I am fearful for me or my husband having to return there.

My son complained back in 1998, and received a long letter from the then CEO Jonathan Michael. I still have it – and disappointingly the same concerns are still arising, and it could have been written in 2012.

“Your letter and the description of your father’s care both in the community and in the hospital read rather like my worst nightmare. I can only apologise for our part in his very unsatisfactory management… There is no excuse for the length of time it took for your father to be seen by a casualty officer nor the length of time it took for him to be transferred to a ward… It is also not clear why your father’s case was not reviewed by a senior clinician… I accept very much the message and have taken on board the necessity to review current procedures within the Trust.”

Wife of Dementia

North Bristol Hospitals

2002: colon damaged by diverticulitis.

Had to go private because I was very ill and was initially told I would get apt in 10 days. That apt cancelled.

Surgery involved removal of part of colon – catheter fitted because of concern re leak in bladder. Urologist removed catheter too soon (I believe contrary to view of general surgeon and, I believe though not expressed because fixed cost on basis 5/6 day stay!) result septicaemia (?) and taken to Southmead for second op.

Standard of cleanliness in Southmead apalling – result MRSA and Cdif. Lack of interest by Southmead doctors – “my” consultant, the general surgeon, based at Frenchay Hospital and had impression Southmead simply wanted me moved to Frenchay.

Nursing staff generally very caring and helpful (night staff on one ward – possibly agency staff not good). Only saving grace for Southmead was standard of food – very good. Frenchay staff on whole excellent but generally too few staff to cope with demanding patients.

I was urged to eat but food dreadful. In both hospitals cleanliness left much to be desired. Cleaning horrible job but vital and seems to be done by contractors – needs to be responsibility of nurse in charge to ensure high standards (particularly of lavatories and bathrooms) at all times. Hospitals also need to remember they are there to serve the public and hospitals are not run for benefit of Managers and Trusts.

Parking difficult and expensive at both hospitals – why should patients and visitors have to pay for parking – none of them want to be there. Wife in Frenchay recently and apparently visitors (who one would think important for well-being of patients) will now only be admitted for limited periods pm which may prove difficult for some visitors.

The one person who stands out was the Consultant General Surgeon who I can only describe as brillant in both his professional ability and care for his patients.


Treatment for severe diverticulitis at Tameside General Hospital

I visited A&E in Christmas of 2010 with very unpleasant abdominal pain, nausea, fever, diarrhoea, constipation etc and was admitted to the surgical ward at the end of Dec.

I had a Ultrasound on NYE (for which the Radiographer stayed beyond his shift finish) and the diagnosis was confirmed. I had a small/large bowel resection/appendicectomy in the new year.

The aftercare I received was first class and all the medical staff were simply brilliant and i was humbled to tears.


Care of my elderly mum

My elderly mother was admitted last April due to a bowel condition called diverticulitis, she was also in the early stages of vascular dementia. She was in hospital for 5 weeks and I was shocked at how poor her care was.

Because she was messing herself all the time, the smell was horrendous. As she was in a side room, the window was constantly open. Consequently she was cold and on many occasions when I visited her she didn’t even have a blanket to cover her. I would have to ask a nurse to get her one and was often told to get one myself from a cupboard located on the corridor.

The ward had no lounge or those pay TVs and she just looked at 4 stark white walls for 5 very long weeks. We took in photos and pictures to put on her wall etc (as flowers were not allowed). Even some of the staff said it was awful. My mum never complained once.

I visited mum every day and it cost a total of £105.00 in parking fees. I was never told you could get a special pass if a patient was in for more than 2 weeks. I didn’t begrudge her a penny but I hope she never has the misfortune to have to go into Chorley Hospital ever again.


Care of Nigel Saunders

My husband was admitted via ambulance into a & e on Sunday night 14 july with acute diverticulitis and he left the following Friday evening. We have nothing but praise in the way that he was treated from the moment the ambulance people walked into our hotel bedroom in Stratford from the time he left the hospital five nights later. The level of care tht he received was amazing..everyone was so professional and he was given every test possible and his pain control was monitored to the best of everyone’s ability. The following day I caught up with him on the23 hour ward where he was in fact for four days and saw many new faces before moving upstairs to Hatton ward. The staff there were also amazing. So friendly and helpful. I found everyone had a smile on their faces from the surgeons to the lovely people in the cafe. I was thrilled with the visiting hours, 11 through to 8pm. In Worthing, visiting is from 3 pm to 8pm and there is ah hour somewhere in between when you have to leave the patient to have his supper. None of that Im Pleased to say in Warwick. He was given pills and follow up notes for his doctor at home on the day he left, and He was very happy with the treatment he received during his stay. And I was too. I got particularly fond of the no 16 bus. Thank you all for all your help and kindness..we are really grateful.

Jeannie gapp

Ward E15

My husband was admitted to QMC on 30th August. Majority of staff we encountered were lovely, however they were often rushed off their feet & unable to provide the level of care which I’m sure they would have wanted. Dr at NEMS diagnosed possible kidney stones & NEMS Ambulance took us short journey to QMC & ward B3. On arrival no beds available & so we sat in waiting area for almost 2 hours. No medical staff came to check on us & husband in such agony that I actually asked if there was somewhere he could lie down on the floor! Once allocated a bed my husband given anti-biotics (for urine infection) & anti-sickness via IV & morphine orally (for pain). Didn’t see another doctor again re pain for 36 hours! On Sunday moved to E15 & discovered his blood pressure had dropped significantly. He was given saline via IV to rehydrate him, but no drinking water for over 12 hours! Surely a basic need? Blood pressure hardly monitored during Sunday – staff seemed uninterested. Night staff then very concerned to find his blood pressure low. I am very concerned that the day-time nurse didn’t check this, even when asked. On Monday the nurse was very caring & professional. However elsewhere there were issues easily avoided but which compounded patient suffering: No record from B3 of the anti-biotics my husband received on 30th August. Nurse stripped patients beds but then found no clean linen. Patients had to sit for several hours waiting for fresh linen. My husband felt so wretched he simply lay on a bare mattress! Perhaps check fresh linen available before beds stripped? Evening meal – no spoons so patient given a fork to eat soup! By Tuesday still no spoons & patients given forks to eat ice-cream! A cancer patient required scan & so on Mon ‘nil by mouth’. By lunch-time on Tues (& now absolutely starving) & still awaiting scan, he had 2 mouthfuls of lunch & porter arrived to take him for the evasive scan. Couldn’t now have scan as he had eaten! Monday pm porter took my husband for CT scan, but took him to Ultra-sound scan dept. Not until my husband had removed his top & been smothered with lubricant that the staff realised he was in the wrong place! Porter then took him to CT Scan dept area but as busy, my husband left outside in the corridor in a wheelchair alone & not having any idea of his whereabouts within the hospital. A 94 year patient was then left with him. Leaving very sick patients alone in a corridor is simply dangerous & wholly unacceptable. On Tues my husband discharged as CT scan & x-ray ‘clear’ & pain diagnosed as muscular & told no more treatment required. By Friday & still in significant pain, my husband visited his GP. From CT Scan notes GP spotted it quite clearly noted sigmoid diverticulosis & she diagnosed diverticulitis was quite likely the cause of his continuing pain. A course of anti-biotics have been prescribed & we are hopeful that his symptoms will now ease