"A horrendous experience at the hands of a useless..."
About: Airedale General Hospital Airedale General Hospital Keighley BD20 6TD
Posted by David H-S
Having read Medicine and been a long standing "User" of the NHS, my review of an experience at Airedale Hospital perhaps comes form a slightly different perspective to the typical parent or patient. I took my son to Ward 17 because of some alarming bruises and petechiae that appeared on his body. He had been unwell with a fever etc and could not recall injuring himself to get the bruises. Like any concerned parent, I wanted to be sure that he did not have a nasty illness. My son has a family history or Ehlers Danlos syndrome (Hypermobility type). Bruising is prominent feature. Anyone who knows this condition who spends a moment with my son can see that he has it. On arrival at ward 17, we were received by a nurse who did an initial assessment / paper work. From then on things went down hill. It was clear from the start that the consultant's view was that my son was not ill but abused. She tried every which way to match her hand to the bruises on his body. Her physical examination consisted of palpating his spleen and that was it. She made no clinical assessments with regards to anything else. We were then lied to about the results of blood tests. We were told that they were normal. They weren't. My son was then subjected to a degrading and humiliating child protection examination. The consultant was rude. She did not listen to anything we had to say - she made assumptions and speculated about his history. Her questioning was leading and aggressive. She left our son bewildered and us upset. Her attitude displayed a total unprofessional disregard for the needs of our son, his dignity and well being. We were lied to about photographs that were taken of our son. We were told that they were taken for his medical record. They were taken for a child protection booklet. Some have since gone missing! When we asked the consultant to consider (EDS) as a differential diagnosis to non accidental injury (NAI) she said "You don't get bruising with hypermobility type"! When we asked why there was such an emphasis on child protection rather than our son's health, she said that one of the things abusers do is go to hospital with their child! The consultant, having followed RCPCH guidelines on NAI and bruising almost to the letter (except for considering EDS) failed to diagnose our son correctly. She did manage to initiate a social services enquiry into our family which was traumatic and distressing for our son and his whole family. We were told that we might not be allowed to travel and that our son could be taken away. When we repeatedly notified the hospital that we thought this was wrong, nothing was done. Nobody had a look at our son for Ehlers Danlos. Nobody batted an eyelid at what had happened to us. We have since sought private treatment for our son. He has Ehlers Danlos. He bruises because of this. We complained last July to PALS, formally in September. Apparently today the hospital has responded, after 7 months of hell for my son and his family. Davidhs