"Aspergers Syndrome, Lister Hospital"

About: Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust / Adult mental health NHS Direct NHS Trust / NHS 111

(as the patient),

I was taken to the Lister following an emotional meltdown I couldn't control. I have Aspergers Syndrome and have been under a lot of stress for a substantial period of time. Every mental health service I've been referred to regarding my inability to cope with the ongoing stress have been sympathetic but felt unable to help me. It was inevitable I would reach breaking point eventually.

After a long wait a person I assume was a psychiatrist ushered me through and introduced themselves only to the person who had brought me in, not me. I felt bullied over my condition and it seemed as if the psychiatrist was deliberately maximising my distress at the end. At one point I was grasping my hair and crying just saying unconnected words as is common when an Aspergers person is under extreme stress. I managed to remind the doctor of my Aspergers and that I need time to say things sometimes but their idea of giving me time was limited to a matter of seconds. The doctor insisted the only help I needed was for him to write a letter to my GP saying I'd self harmed over one single issue in my life which I kept trying to explain was not the case and that my GP knew of that issue anyway. I felt the doctor became really aggressive and raised their voice so I asked them to stop being aggressive. I was a mixture of shocked and confused by this point. The doctor stormed out the room and I was really panicked about what on earth they were writing down in such a bad mood having appeared to plainly disliked me and not having given me any opportunity to explain why I really needed help. When I asked what they were writing, the doctor just kept repeating that we were done and that I needed to go.

I felt completely destroyed. I'd gone in by car wearing nightwear, sandals and a short jacket so lots of flesh was exposed to the cold wind. I self harmed again. I'm not usually a self harmer but it felt like the only way to make my head stop and get my emotions out.

I didn't realise how much my various cuts had swollen and become inflamed. They were never checked at the hospital and I daren't seek medical advice for them now.

I wish people like that realised that Aspergers syndrome isn't anyone's choice and I think its awful to make anyone deliberately panic whether they have a condition or not. I now have the added worry of what's been wrongly reported to my GP through my not being allowed to explain myself as well as what look like infected cuts I'm too scared to seek treatment for.

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Response from Mary Stephenson, Complaints and Service Experience Manager, Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Who Cares

We are very sorry to learn of your poor experience in A&E and we welcome your feedback, as it allows us to learn and improve our service.

The situation you have described is of great concern and your posting will be shared with the mental health staff working within A&E to ensure they learn from your experience.

It will assist us greatly if you could contact our PALS team on 01727 804629 so we can look into your specific concerns.

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