"Unhelpful care at Stafford"

About: Stafford Hospital / General medicine

(as the patient),

My G.P. diagnosed my illness as Acute Cholecystitis, and admitted me to Staffordshire hospital. I was then seen by doctor, who sent me for an x-ray on my chest & abdomen. In x-ray, I was advised that they would only do a chest x-ray, as the appropriate way to diagnose the condition was an ultra sound, not an abdomen x-ray – so an x-ray of my abdomen was not done. The doctor then said I could either go home, in pain, and hope it wouldn’t return or I could choose to stay in to be treated, to try and get the pain under control. I chose to stay, because if I ate or drank I was in pain! An ultra sound still hadn’t been ordered, but I was advised that I would be given antibiotics. I also asked for some more pain relief and was given two Paracetamol, I asked about my medication and was advised to self medicate.

I was sent to accident assessment unit to be given antibiotics. I asked for some water, but was told I would need to wait. The doctor came round and was told that I had a possible infection in my gallbladder, but the only correct way to diagnose this was an ultra sound. Until then, I was told to have antibiotics, as I had a urine infection, and that I could start to eat and drink, and to follow a fat free diet.

When the meals came round, the gentleman in an opposite bed (who was a different race) asked for vegetarian food, due to his religion. I asked if there was any wheat free food. I was told abruptly that there wasn’t, and that I shouldn’t expect any different food, as I had only just come up to the ward a few hours ago. I asked if there was any wheat free products in the hospital, and was told that it isn’t a normal request. So I called my mum and asked her to bring in some food that I could eat. So then the nurse shouted again, abruptly thru the curtain, “I will bring you jacket potato and beans”. I said “Thank you, but I’ve already spoke to my mum and she can bring some wheat-free food in”. Then the care assistant brought some wheat free bread and a jacket potato, even after the staff nurse had said there wouldn’t be any food available - and I still hadn’t been given anything to drink! I was told all my own medication would be locked up, and they recommended that I sent it home, as they would have the medication I required on a ward, and I wouldn’t be able to take my own. Then I was told I had been moved to another ward, where I was then given back my medication from the locker.

I was then admitted to ward 7. I asked the nurse who brought me up to the ward during the handover, to make sure they are aware that I haven’t been given my medications, nor have I had my antibiotics. The nurse on ward 7 said she would come back to speak to me. I asked about my migraine medication, as on the other ward it was locked up. She advised me to have it sent home, as I would not be allowed to self-medicate, and they would already have my medications, so they would be back to lock them up. Though, if anyone was coming at visiting time, it might be better to send my medication home. She also noticed the bright red mark, where I had my medication patch, and I had a reaction to it, so I had to change the patch site. I asked about an anti-histamine and was told she would ask the doctor as not written up for any. I also told the nurse I hadn’t received my earlier medication, as I was moved wards before the medications where given out, and that I had nothing to drink and there was no water.

I was asked to send my tablets home during visiting. I asked my mum to take my medications home with her, which of course she did. During visiting, my mum noticed I had no water. I did state that I did ask for some, however, it had not arrived. My mum asked for some water, and was told someone would bring me a jug of water shortly. At 23:15, I still hadn’t received any water, as the some of the nurse were at the nurses’ station talking, I was told to get some from the bathroom or a jug of water would be changed in the morning…

One nurse came and spoke to me after visiting hours, and asked me if I sent my medication home as requested, which of course I did. She then checked my medication sheet and said they wouldn’t be able to get hold of my regular medication. I find this really disgraceful, as when I was on EAU, a pharmacist came and spoke to a patient in the next bed. So I would have thought they would have checked the medication I required for my stay in hospital, as by this point it seemed I would be in hospital the whole weekend. As it turned out, in my handbag I had an emergency days medication. I was told to take them, and that she would be back to see what I had taken – this never happened.

Regarding my migraine medication. From 20:30 I started asking for migraine medication, I also asked if the lights could be turned off, as it’s affecting my migraine. The other ladies in the ward were asleep, apart from one, who didn’t mind the lights being turned off. I was advised that I would need to wait until all the medication was being done at 22:00, then the lights would be switched to night mode. I asked a few times for this to happen, by 23:15 none off these things had happened. While I was still waiting for my medication and in acute pain, the nurse woke up 2 patients that where fast asleep to give them Paracetamol. I understand that they require medication as much as myself, but as they were asleep they weren’t in the same discomfort that I was in. As I was in a great deal of stress & discomfort, I felt that I needed to go & discharge my self. Then the nurse came over & looked at my sheet & noticed that I was on a lot of medication. She kept asking me what medication I wanted, as none of the ones I said were on the list. But as she didn’t give me the list to check, I lent over to see the drug sheet. Her face changed & seemed very unhappy that I looked at the sheet to ask about the medication. I said I think these drugs are for a migraine, but wasn’t sure, as the box has a different name than on the sheet. The nurse then stated that there were no migraine medications in the hospital and I would need to phone my mum to go to my house & get medications to bring them into hospital, as I won’t be given any. The time was now 23:18, I was told to phone my mum to get up & go to my house & find my medication & then to drive over 13 mile back to hospital, to bring my migraine medication. I did try to call my mum, which I didn’t approve of, however, I needed the medication. But I couldn’t get hold of her, as it was very late, so I said I would have to get them myself & might as well go home as not getting the correct care in the hospital.

At 23:23 I left ward 7. I was told that I couldn’t have my 16:00 antibiotic, as the doctor hadn’t written it up until 16:30, so it would have been late. Even thou I hadn’t received my 22:00 antibiotic by 23:23, I got up & quickly dressed to leave the ward.

The nurse kept moaning that there was only 3 staff on the ward, including looking after the men. The lady buzzed her bell & after 5 mins she took her self to the toilet. When the nurse came up to the room she said to me “Is it you buzzing again?” however I have never pressed the buzzer in the whole time I was in hospital. I understand the nurses are busy, but the nurse didn’t ask anyone how they were until she had moaned about not having a enough staff. So the lady in the opposite bed wouldn’t ask for a long time about being made comfortable, as when she did was told it would take up 2 nurse to lift her & there was only 3 nurses for everyone. However, I believe I didn’t receive the care required by the nursing staff, nor was she polite. I also understand it’s hard working nights, but I never take it out on my patients where I work as it’s not their fault they require help & the only way to get help is to ask. When I went down to the nurse station a few times to ask for help requiring medication, lights & water, they where stood chatting!

I was told I would need to fill out a discharge sheet. I said I was only going home because I couldn’t stand the light any longer & desperately required my migraine medication. I was extremely upset & was becoming very distressed due to the pain, & had to leave as it was the best way to resolve the situation. I was losing my temper, due to the amount of pain. I was told the only way I could leave as the hospital was locked up where the bed manager stated after having the notes brought down to A&E that my migraine medication had been written up twice, so there was no reason why I shouldn’t be given the medication. It also stated that in my notes, making it very clear that my migraines bring on the same symptoms as a stroke. I find it distressing when the medical profession is refusing to give me the care I require, or even just the medications needed to control my condition. So I was told that they had a 24hr pharmacy and they could have got the medications that I require. I shouldn’t have been left for hours waiting for the migraine medication. She did say she would speak to staff on the ward. I put a few of the complaints on the self discharge form & I had to get a taxi home, as I have walking problems but as I needed to get the medication I required.

The next day (Saturday), I was still in a great deal of pain. I had to call the out of hours service, because I was in so much pain & registered disabled. Due to the migraine I had last night, I was still in pain & had an intense head pain. I spoke to a really nice gentleman on the phone, who said he would get a doctor to call me, as I said I would like a appointment as required antibiotics. Was told it would be better to speak to the doctor. The doctor called & said that he didn’t know if I could get the antibiotics, & that should not have discharged myself from hospital. In normal conditions, I wouldn’t have done this but I required migraine medication & I also explained that I was being sick even thou taking anti sickness medication.

The doctor stated that I wouldn’t be able to get a home visit, as I was able to get a taxi from the hospital. I explained that I was very ill with the gallbladder, urine infection & migraine including my disability. He stated that I didn’t fit the criteria, when I asked how would I fit that criteria he stated that I would need to be elderly! I didn’t known being old was a disability, as I know lots of elderly people & they walk & have a lot less pain then I have every day.

The doctor stated that as I had no one to take me to hospital, I would have to travel over 11 miles by public transport. I explained that I couldn’t do this, as I was ill. He said that I got home yesterday, so I can do the same today. I explained that I spent £30 getting home last night in a taxi & that I wouldn’t be able to afford £60 in getting to see the G.P., who might not even give me the medication. Also, as I was still being sick, was unsure if a taxi would let me travel. He said I would have to do this, unless I didn’t want to be seen by a G.P. & then I would just have to wait for the out of hours doctor to be seen. When I got to the outpatients department, the child in front of me had been waiting hours to be seen & was still waiting, as no one knew where the doctor was. After sitting in the waiting room for nearly 90 mins, going to the toilets to be sick & in a great deal of pain, I saw a very nice nurse who managed to sort out my medication & take out my cannula which hadn’t been taken out in hospital.

I just feel that the treatment I received in hospital was not what I would accept, nor did it help my condition health or well-being.

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