"A pulled muscle, indigestion or a pulmonary embolism?"
About: St Thomas' Hospital / Accident and emergency St Thomas' Hospital Accident and emergency London SE1 7EH
Posted by Sadie (as ),
On the last day of my holiday in Turkey I woke in severe pain, it felt like a chronic pleurisy, I was short of breath and felt very ill. However I wanted to get home, so instead of going to the local hospital I went to a pharmacy and got painkillers and antibiotics. I managed to get on the plane and arrived in the uk so I went straight to my local hospital's accident and emergency.
The first doctor I saw gave me an ecg and said she would arrange a chest x-ray, however after listening to my chest she called another doctor. He listened and told me that I didn't have a chest infection, but that I definitely had a skeletal-muscular complaint: I had pulled a muscle. There was apparently no need for me to have a chest x-ray. The first doctor spoke to me again and said that she thought I should take some bisodol as it could be severe indigestion!
I went home and tried to rest but was in severe pain all night. In the morning I started to cough up blood and so I returned to the a&e.
The doctor I saw this time said that from just speaking to me he could see that there was a serious infection, he listened to my chest and said that there was fluid on my lungs. A chest x-ray showed pneumonia and 'something else'. I was admitted to a ward and a consultant said that I had pleurisy, pneumonia and possible pulmonary embolism.
A CT scan the following day showed that I did indeed have clots on the lungs and leading to the lungs.
I realise that doctors are overworked and I am sure that a&e departments are often frantic, but the dept was not particularly busy when I was first seen, in fact it was more busy on my second visit when a correct diagnosis was made. I felt that the doctors did not want to listen to me when I told them that the pain was like an extreme version of pleurisy, indeed they seemed to be more interested in the antibiotics that I had purchased abroad as they didn't recognise them. [The consultant did and said that they were excellent]
If this can happen in a famous teaching hospital then I worry about a&e care in the NHS.