"A&E treating the symptoms not the cause"

About: St Peter's Hospital (Chertsey)

I will first of all point out that I am not the patient but the patients mother. 1st visit to A&E with partner with stabbing abdo pains - sent home after blood tests advised to take paracetamol. 2nd visit via 999 ambulance early hours of morning after violently vomiting,was informed later that it was faecal sent home.Advised by GP to attend 2nd A&E Frimley Park for 2nd opinion. 3 rd visit - all be it to different A&E They did blood tests and urine sample but told us to go back to St Peters otherwise tests would be duplicated. 4th visit 1:45 the following morning I met my daughter at St Peters A&E where we checked in at reception.When I explained to the Triage nurse that I worked at a health centre and did know 'a little' could my daughter please have an abdominal ultrasound scan,she turned and looked at me and said'You will have a long wait,the ultrasound doesn't open until 9am.' I explained that if it was her daughter she would be worried. We were seen after 15-20 minutes by a nurse that did blood test and ecg and went to sit back down in the main reception area.Whilst in the room having ecg I noticed that my daughter was a 'green patient'(lowish priority)I found this out from a brochure in the wating area.I also found out that 'traige'was French for sorting.The triage nurses attitude should be 'sorted' We waited and were eventually seen by a Dr in A&E at approximately 4:30.The unit was not that busy in fact at one point we were the only people there for about an hour,my daughter creased up in pain and me trying to comfort her. The conclusion - my daughter now is sporting a 10 inch scar (lateral) because she has had major abdominal surgery.Basically her bowel was knotted up around caesarean scar. All I want them to learn from this is listen to the patient and his/her relatives,we are not all plebians.I feel they thought she needed paracetamol and a hot water bottle. Please learn from this St Peters Hospital.

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Response from St Peter's Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to share your daughter’s experiences of our A&E department. It is very difficult to comment specifically without reviewing your daughter’s notes and knowing all the details, such as which doctor she was seen by and what tests were carried out when etc. Sometimes a diagnosis is not immediately apparently and abdominal pain can be caused by so many different factors, but of course we apologise if you did not feel our staff listened to you or that our services fell short in anyway. Equally, it is disappointing to hear that the attitude of some staff members was not friendly or supportive at times and we are sorry you encountered this. We all work under great pressure in A&E and whilst it can sometimes seem that the department is quiet from the waiting room, we can be helping very seriously ill patients ‘behind the scenes’. However, every patient is entitled to the same high standard of care and empathy and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss your daughter’s experiences in more detail. If you would be willing to do so, please contact me directly on the number below. Best wishes, Helen Lawrence A&E Lead Nurse 01932 722091

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