"Hospital Staff were just Fantastic"

About: Greater Manchester NHS Direct NHS Trust / NHS 111 Royal Albert Edward Infirmary / Accident and emergency Royal Albert Edward Infirmary / General surgery St Helens NHS Walk-In Centre

(as a relative),

Patient 78 years from Northern Ireland visiting family in Billinge.

He came to stay a week with his partner (my mum) and us the family in Billinge in early May.

Several days later, he started with tummy pains and loose motions.

Still not feeling well, later that morning we contacted our local surgery which we are registered at. However, because our relative isn’t registered there, they wouldn’t see him. We phoned our local chemist, who advised us to leave him 24hrs and then see how he is. We phoned the NHS help line, who advised us to give him sips of water. They did say they could send a paramedic/ambulance; this was refused, as he didn’t want us to fuss.

By early evening, he was in a lot of pain. A call to 111 and arrangements were made for him to see a doctor at another surgery in St. Helens.

He was seen with minutes of arriving. After an examination, “he needs hospital treatment” the doctor told us. We were given the choice of hospital to take him to. As we walked out the door, the doctor was on the phone to the Royal Albert Hospital Wigan (known to many as Wigan Infirmary) giving them our relative’s details.

He saw the triage nurse on arrival at A&E and within minutes he was taken to a cubicle, where a nurse introduced himself as Mark, asked a couple of routine questions and did an examination of the tummy area. Bloods were taken. Because he had started to dehydrate, a glucose drip and pain relief was administered.

We were able to stay with him the whole time and Mark kept us informed of what was happening and what was going to happen next.

We were very anxious for him, as we lost our dad 9 years ago to an abdominal aneurysm (he died within 5 hours of staring with tummy pains). Poor Mum was in bits.

He had x-rays, but nothing abnormal was showing up. By now the time was 01: 20 hrs on a Thursday in early May. The doctor arranged for a scan to be done later in the morning. He was taken to the Clinical Decisions Ward (CDW) where he was made comfortable for the night and we went home for a few hours.

By the time we got back to the hospital (10am) he had been for his scan and we waited for the results.

The doctor explained that he had a bowel obstruction and would need major surgery straight away. He wasn’t sure until a midline laparotomy if it was the small bowel or the large bowel. Worst case scenario was that he may have to have a stoma.

This was a big shock - he is an active farmer back in his home town, but his condition was life threatening and something had to be done.

We stayed with him while the hospital staff prepared him for theatre, which they did with extreme care and calmness. They were explaining the whole time what was happening and what the next step was.

At 13: 15 he went to theatre.

Before we left the CDW, the nurse informed us that after surgery he would go to the High Dependency Unit and then to the Langtree Ward. We where give slips of paper with contact phone numbers on and said we should phone around 16: 30

16: 45 we phoned the Langtree Ward – he hadn’t arrived there yet, but they were expecting him. We phoned the HP Unit – they had been expecting him, but then the place had been cancelled. (we took this to be a good sign) Then the nurse checked with the Recovery Ward, he was there and they were in the process of transferring him to the Langtree Ward.

Visiting hours for the Langtree Ward 7pm – 8pm. We arrived not know what to expect.

We found our relative, who on seeing us, gave us the thumbs up. No stoma he said.

A nurse who’d been with us in the CDW was on the ward and she very kindly went and got the surgeons assistant. He explained what they had done – division of omental adhesion and release of internal herniation. We couldn’t have been happier of the outcome.

He continued to improve each day and was discharged from the hospital on 4 days later.

A big thank you to the Royal Albert Hospital Wigan staff, especially those working in the Emergency Care Centre (A&E), Clinical Decisions Ward (CDW), Theatre, Recovery Room, Langtree Ward and Discharge Ward. The professionalism, care and support from domestics, nurses and staff to consultants and surgeons was excellent.

Nothing was too much trouble and many went above and beyond to help us through this extremely difficult time.

Day 12 post-op – removal of clips. After many phone calls to our local surgery and the Treatment Room, who both refused to see him. We took him to the St. Helens Walk in Centre to have his clips removed. We arrived at 18: 45, details given in at reception and by 19: 05 the clips were out and we are on our way home.

A big thank to the St. Helens Walk in Centre for their care and support.

We hear too many negative comments about the NHS.

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Response from Susan Heighway, Patient Relations / PALS Manager , Patient Relations / PALS, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for posting your most positive comments regarding the recent treatment and care of your relative at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary througout his patient journey. I will share your comments with all the areas involved in his care to ensure that they are made aware of the great job they are doing within our hospital Trust and your appreciation of that. May we also take this opportunity to extend our best wishes for the continued recovery of your relative.

Kind regards

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Response from Royal Albert Edward Infirmary

Thank you for taking the time to post your kind comments regarding yours and a member of your family’s experience, and for sharing the patient’s journey through the hospital. The Trust is very proud of it’s staff, and I will be sharing your posting with the staff concerned, who I am sure will be very appreciative of your positive feedback. Please pass on my well wishes

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