"Made to feel terrible while feeling very unwell"

About: West Suffolk Hospital

On Friday May 2nd at approximately 23.00 hours. I was driving home after a long journey. I had felt unwell during the day and about an hour away from home I had started to feel very unwell having excruciating pain in both my chest and abdomen. I was also finding it harder and harder to breath and felt I was about to pass out. I felt to drive the full distance home impossible so made for the nearest A&E hospital which was West Suffolk Hospital Bury St Edmunds. By the time I arrived outside the hospital I felt I was about to pass out. I left my car outside in an emergency bay and tried to report to reception. I actually slumped to the ground and was eventually seen by a doctor approximately 03.00 hours. During the time between booking in and actually seeing anyone who seemed to care about my condition, not one person other than a lady (another patient) who eventually helped me into a wheelchair asked if I was ok or how I felt. The person on reception advised me that on arrival I had been quite rude and that I had thrown my keys on the desk. I remember approaching the reception and asking her for help. She seemed preoccupied and told me to wait my turn. Feeling very distressed and in a great deal of pain and also unable to breathe I was in a state of panic and this person was telling me to wait. I also remember being told that there were people waiting to see a doctor far worse off than myself. I don’t actually remember her showing any signs of concern or interest in how I felt or the state of condition I was in. I wouldn’t have thought that she was either qualified or even officially in a position to judge me or my condition. She certainly showed absolutely no signs of compassion or sympathy. I can remember someone asking me for my personal details which I was unable to give being unable to breathe and being in so much pain. I can also remember being asked to get up off the floor unaided for some reason and was being told to walk to a wheelchair rather than that wheelchair be brought to me. I can also remember being helped by another patient and not the nurse who I can only describe as unsympathetic and a bully. During this time I was asked to remove my jacket which I was unable to do and was refused help in doing so despite repeatedly asking for help. I think at this point feeling very frustrated and distressed I may have thrown my glasses to the floor. I felt frightened and couldn’t understand why I was being treated in this manner. I feel the receptionist and nurse on duty that night felt no concern for my distress or pain I was experiencing My advice to anyone feeling as unwell as I did on Friday night would be to call for an ambulance and not use the services of A&E, especially if it’s at West Suffolk Hospital Bury St Edmunds.

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Response from West Suffolk Hospital

We are very sorry to hear of your experience and would suggest you contact our Patient Advice & Liaison Services (PALS) in order for us to investigate the situation further. PALS can be contacted by phone: 01284 712555 or by email: pals@wsh.nhs.uk

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