The care our father received in hospital earlier this year

Our 75 year old father was admitted to Grimsby Princess Diana Hospital in January this year with breathing difficulties. 7 days later, after what we felt was a lack of care, and being assaulted by another patient (he was pushed to the ground face down on to his hernia causing bruising to his head and nose), and despite us being told he would be home within a few days, he suffered a heart attack and died less than 24 hours later.

This is now an open complaint case. The ward was put under special measures, which we understand is because of concerns around patient care (though it was explained to us that this was not just due to the care our father received).


Discharged from hospital at 05:00am

One night in mid December 2011 at 11pm, I had to call NHS Direct as I was having severe pains in the top half of my back, on the left side. The nurse called me straight back and as I was gasping in pain she called an ambulance for me because she was not sure if I was having a heart attack, I am 65. When the ambulance people arrived they took my stats and said even without the pain they would need to admit me to hospital as my sugar levels were through the roof. My nearest A & E was closed as the new hospital is being built at Southmead in Bristol. The ambulance crew took me to Frenchay hospital at midnight, a far distance from where I live in Bishopston, Bristol.

The nurse was excellent she looked after me and took my stats and gave me a morphine injection for the pain and carried out other investigations. I had been diagnosed by Lloyds Pharmacy in the October of 2011 as being diabetic, with very high blood pressure and cholestrol. By December my doctor was trying to get these factors under control. As it turned out I had a urinary tract infection probably due to the diabetes and the nurse gave me antibiotics for the infection.

I was completely taken by surprise when I was told at 4.30am that I could now go home. I explained that I had not brought any money with me and it was a good job, I had the presence of mind to get dressed before I left home. The nurse walked me through corridors at Frenchay to get to the ATM machine for cash for a taxi. I said to her should I take out £10.00 but she said no I would need more for the taxi, so I took out £20. On the minimum state pension this is a lot of money.

I went to the reception area and called a taxi to take me home by this time it was 5am and I just wanted to get home and sleep as I was knocked out with the morphine injectiion.My daughter was very cross that I had not called her for assistance but she has to work and needs a lot of focus in her job. I know she would have stayed with me in the hospital all night and then would have carried on to work. This is no good for her health. She could not believe that the NHS would discharge a patient at 5am in the morning who was taking into hospital because she was suspected of having a heart attack. To add I have lost 4 brothers at the ages of 60, 65, 65,and 66.

Once again thank you for raising this issue, the taxi fare home cost me £13.00, therefore I was pleased with nurse who told me to take out at least £20.00 for the fare home.


Missed diagnosis at Chichester Hospital, great care elsewhere.

My husband had a suspected TIA in December 2011. He underwent various tests including an echocardiogram. Cardiologist wanted to do angiogram but we had no confidence in him so we paid to go privately to have a CT angiogram. On receipt of this report at NHS hospital close to us my husband saw a different consultant. His greeting was “Why are you here? “He didn’t seem to have the vaguest idea as to what was wrong even though he must have seen that my husband had a heart murmur. Had he read the CT report? Anyway he decided that there was nothing to be done.

In July 2012 I dialled 999 and my husband was taken back to this hospital and was diagnosed as having had a heart attack. It was now necessary to have an angiogram performed by a cardiologist. Thankfully this hospital said they no longer performed such procedures and he was transferred to Worthing Hospital. They immediately said he hadn’t had a heart attack and decided to redo all the tests. They diagnosed severe aortic stenosis. It was so severe that he was transferred to Brighton Hospital within a few days where they operated giving him a mechanical aortic valve. The medical care at both Worthing and Brighton was fantastic. They saved my husband’s life and now he is fully recovered.

We looked at our copy of CT report from December 2011 that stated that my husband had aortic stenosis! I am absolutely furious with our local hospital and wonder how many more people have been treated so badly.

Patient Activist

Heart attack

my husband had been suffering from what he thought was acid he went to his GP who sent him straight to the hospital on arriving the care was excellant he was admitted the next day he had a stent fitted the heart ward and dryden staff all cared for him very well everything was explained to us we cannot fault the care at all


Everyone was caring

My heart attack happened at 07.00am and I was in recovery at the Northern General Hospital after having a stent implant at 08.50. I received excellent care and information in the Chesterman ward. My stay at the CCU was also excellent as the nurses cared, were informative and everyone from the consultant to the physiotherapist were helpful and caring. The downside of my experience was whilst I was in Chesterman ward, I had no sleep or rest due to other patients shouting and calling out during the night. After a heart attack I felt I needed more peaceful surroundings to enable me to rest.


Very poor customer service

I had a heart attack in early March and was treated at Lincoln Hospital where a stent was fitted. I left Lincoln 2 days later to travel back home to Redhill. The following week I saw my GP who faxed a referral to East Surrey 48 hours later. I contacted East Surrey 3 days after the fax had been sent and they denied receiving any referral. I went back to my GP who confirmed it was sent. I again contacted ES the following day and received the same denial. I contacted them again the next day and yes they did have it and confirmed it had arrived 5 days previously by fax?! I asked when my appointment would be and they did not know. I have contacted repeatedly nearly every day to find out when my appointment is. Lincoln Hospital offered me one within 2 weeks and I assumed that ES would perform in a similar timely way. Not a chance!

Today, I have had verbal acknowledgement that the referral has been received and has been to a consultant and is back at ‘bookings’ to be allocated an appointment. Your telephonist could not/would not tell me when the appointment is except to confirm that it will be within a month of the referral, so in other words within less than two weeks from now.

Personally, I am emotionally distraught at not knowing why I had the heart attack and I am told I need to see a specialist who will be able to tell me why. From a taxpayer perspective, I cannot understand why you have taken so long to just allocate an appointment for me (noting that this is not yet received) when there is a 10% chance of a complication happening in the first few months with the treatment I have had.

If I am unfortunate to have a problem in the short term then you will be forced to react to an emergency instead of proactively handling remedial actions in a considered and economical manner. This is not to mention the risk you are putting me under as well as the additional emotional stress. Please can you explain why this scenario above has happened and what measures you are taking to ensure this poor performance is improved to that expected in a modern society.

Bramble Daddy

Good food and helpful staff at Tameside

After A&E, I saw the assessment team, I was put in ward 31.

I had broken my left heel and was unable to walk on it so I was getting treatment for this as well as a heart attack I suffered earlier. I stayed at the hospital until doctors were satisfied with my recovery.

The food was excellent and both the day and night staff were helpful. The only problem was that the ward was short of staff so sometimes I had to wait a little longer.

There is the need for more nurses if available.


Told heart rate was normal when having a heart attack

My story of being told my Atrial Fibrillation was harmless and then being told that my heart rate was normal when I was having a heart attack. Then being told by another hospital that I had not had a heart attack. My extreme chest pain being ignored. Being asked why was I playing the system by a nurse. Then being disbelieved when I found an alternative medication that actually worked.

I have suffered from Atrial Fibrillation for most of my adult life and was constantly told by my GP that it was harmless. But one day on the golf course last year my AF went out of control. I drove myself to the nearest hospital and presented myself at the A&E where I was told my heart rate was normal. I insisted (being quite ill) and the nurse agreed to do an ECG. This showed my heart rate to be 215. So much for the accuracy of the heart rate monitor she used on me the first time. The nurse called in the resuss team by computer link and the next thing I was told I would shortly have a feeling of impending doom as a doctor unloaded a syringe of unknown fluid into my arm which was apparently designed to stop my heart for a moment. The nurse leaned over me and whispered “You were right to come in to the hospital”. They took several hours trying to reduce my heart rate and I spent 5 days in the cardiac ward. I was told that I had had a Myocardial Infarction after tests had shown that damage had occurred.

I was allowed to shower before going home and I felt very ill from the physical exertion just from having a shower. This I was told was totally normal for heart attack patients.

This was not my local hospital so when I returned home I switched to my own hospital for tests. This hospital decided that I had not had a heart attack at all and I was fine. Despite the fact that I could hardly climb the stairs at home. They took me off of the drugs and one week later I was back in A&E at my local hospital having been taken there by Emergency Ambulance. This happened about 5 times in all and a 5 day stay in the cardiac ward was the highlight. During that time I had extreme chest pains which lasted from midnight to dawn and I had to sit in a chair all night with oxygen. According to the specialists I saw I was quite healthy. A nurse even asked me why I was playing the system. (As if I would have put my health at risk by being in hospital other than for a genuine reason)

I finally decided to try to work out what was happening for myself and realised by a process of elimination that while I was in hospital I was being injected with Heparin but when they sent me home that was the only drug I was not on. I asked my specialist to be put on heparin and he agreed but only for a couple of months. After a few adjustments to the dose I was feeling much better. Then after a couple of months my specialist wanted to take me off of the heparin because he could not find anything wrong with me. I managed to persuade him to keep me on heparin but 3 days before Christmas his secretary told me that I could no longer have any more heparin and that was final. In my opinion the heparin was keeping me out of hospital. I didn’t want to die so I phoned the police and they said they wouldn’t do anything because it was a health matter. So I wrote a letter to the chief executive of the local heath trust and within hours I was told I could be prescribed heparin by my local GP no problem.

I could not stay on heparin for much longer due to possible side effects but luckily for me by chance I found an alternative form of blood thinning pill.

I now feel fitter than any time in the last 20 years and I have had very few AF attacks and none for the last 3 months. All my other symptoms have gone and I can play golf better than before. I have to be careful not to suddenly stress my heart but apart from that so far I am doing fine on my self prescribed alternative to Heparin.

I must continue with the pills because having missed a dose or two I found my symptoms coming back again. I am having trouble convincing the medics that it actually works but I am from a very technical background where results are everything. I may be making some progress convincing them but there is huge resistance to new ideas in the NHS. There are many theories from doctors as to why what I am taking cannot work but the results show that for me it really does work. I would not be paying 90 pounds a month if it did not work and all my friends know I am not renowned for spending money unwisely. Results are everything, theories are theories. That is Science.

My work involved diagnosis of technical problems and trouble shooting to the highest level and at one time I was in charge of protecting a major UK University’s computers from attack by computer viruses. There were 60,000 different viruses at the time. There are now around 300,000 computer viruses at large so I am glad I do not have to do that anymore! I also designed an immune system for data disks. If you don’t think data disks can be given an immune system then think again. So there was a striking similarity between my old job and what the NHS does.


Great care at northern general hospital

I went to the Accident & Emergency Department at the Northern General Hospital with what was thought to be a slight heart attack. The medical and nursing staff were very good, it was very clean and I was dealt with in a polite manner with dignity and two doctors came and looked after me very promptly. I could not fault the care that I received, the staff at the hospital were great.

The only thing that I did not like was the situation with the mixed wards, for two nights I was placed in the Medical Ward with a man in the next bed to me. Men and women had to share the same bathrooms and toilets and I really found this uncomfortable and had no privacy. I was then moved to Firth 8 where it was an all female ward with a male ward next door, however, we still had to share bathroom and toilet facilities. If this could be changed I think it would make a difference to how people felt when they were staying on the ward.

I was told that I had been experiencing Coronary Spasms and not a heart attack which I was pleased about.


Cardiac Rehab

I would like to express my personal thanks and gratitude to all the staff involved in my mother’s care following a heart attack.

Special mention should be given to doctors and staff at A&E and the Coronary Care Unit at Whiston Hospital who provided outstanding service.

She is now taking part in cardiac rehab at the Fingerpost Park Health Centre and has nothing but praise for all the cardiac nurses, trainers and staff. This is a wonderful service, provided by caring, dedicated staff who give patients and relatives peace of mind that the best possible care is given. Thank you Halton and St Helens PCT.