Thanks to my GP, who provides an excellent and caring service, I was admitted as an emergency patient with a suspected inflamed appendix to an emergency assessment unit. The care was brilliant from the nursing staff on this ward. However, all seemed to go down hill as I was transferred to two other wards. I spent 48 hours being prodded and poked – being told I wasn’t really ill by one Dr, and should go home, and then being told ‘no’ I was going to theatre. Nursing staff were very busy and unable to answer my concerns and neither the Drs or nurses seemed to know what each other were doing.
I was nil by mouth several times, but due to emergencies coming in my operation was postponed. However, this meant that I went without fluids and pain relief for lengthy periods.
Twice I told nursing staff I was nil by mouth and they told me I wasn’t, luckily I felt too ill to eat- and then medical staff reprimanded me for having water on my table when I was Nil by mouth. I was unable to take my regular medication because of this, and the nurse on that particular ward didn’t know whether it would harm me if I didn’t take it!
I had a scan during a nil by mouth period and had been without pain relief for about 8 hours – it was the most painful experience and the man scanning didn’t seem to realise this or care. I returned to the ward in agony, but the nursing staff didn’t recognise this for over an hour and I was given some pain relief finally.
I was transferred to my third and final ward – which was even worse. And after spiking a temperature and getting even worse, I was advised I would be operated on. Also that I would get pain relief and IV fluids – I’d been without water for about 17 hours by then – it took a further 2 hours, because the nurses were so busy and no-one qualified was free to get an IV into my arm. Eventually I went to theatre late in the evening.
Twenty hours later, I was sent home without information on how to care for myself, the nurse said they needed the bed. My stomach was very swollen and I was concerned, but the nurse just laughed an asked me if it wasn’t it normally like that?
My stomach continued to swell at home and was very, very painful – and 6 days later burst open at the wound site – I had to return to hospital as an emergency admission. Again I returned to the same Assessment ward , and again the staff were brilliant. I had to have my wound opened on the ward and manually drained by the consultant which was horrendous as it had been previously tried by his registrar. I was expecting to go to theatre, and whilst I appreciate it worked – I wasn’t asked if this could happen he just did it. I was put on IV antibiotics – and thankfully they found a Dr who could put IVs in without hurting me!
Unfortunately, I was transferred halfway through my 4 day stay to another ward where again the care was poor – the ward was dirty and the staff did not communicate with the patients or each other effectively. My observations were done irregularly and I began to feel like I was taking up a bed again. In fact, it was said to me by a nurse that they needed my bed. I was discharged to the care of the district nurses who were brilliant. I couldn’t have asked for better care, but the whole process took 8 weeks and left me feeling scared of going into hospital again as a patient.
My concerns are that there were:
– poor communication between medical staff and nurses.
– poor cleanliness: the wards apart from the emergency assessment unit were filthy – particularly the bathrooms and toilet areas.
– doctors not informing you of their names or listening to your concerns – several insisted on attempting to put large IV needles into my arm, despite my explaining I needed a smaller needle. As soon as one listened, it worked!
– being left for lengthy periods without fluids
– being left for lengthy periods without pain relief
– not feeling that I was able to give informed consent, because I wasn’t being fully informed about what was happening to me.
– not being treated with respect.