"ED visit with our toddler"
About: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) Exeter EX2 5DW http://www.rdehospital.nhs.uk/
Our 22 month old son had become very breathless at home, and having called 111, the operator decided he need to be seen by a paramedic and dialled 999. He was working very hard to breath, grunting when breathing out, and sucking in his chest and tummy with every breath. The male paramedic who attended was professional, calm and reassuring. Our son took to him, allowing him to examine his chest and conduct some tests. He was concerned about his breathing and called for an ambulance to pick us up. After a fraughtful first 15 mins in the ambulance, he calmed down and fell asleep sitting in my lap, and his breathing improved alot. He was not working as hard to breath and the grunting was intermittent. Once we arrived we were accompanied by the female paramedic and ambulance driver to the the majors dept. His handover was done by the paramedic to the nurse in private, which I found a little odd. When they returned, what I imagine was some sort of triage consisted of the nurse asking me to lift his top, after doing so she instructed us to sit in the minors waiting room. We sat in the minors waiting room for 90 mins before I finally became agitated after a boy, aged approx 8, who had also been brought in by ambulance after our arrival, with a laceration to his face, was called through before us. I cannot understand why a child under 2, with respiratory problems can be left for 90 mins with no observations. When I questioned a nurse as to why we had waited so long, and why a boy with a laceration to his face was seen before toddler with breathing difficulties, I got told 'different people need to be seen by different specialities'. Then I got told 'he was next to be seen'. The minors waiting room itself was dirty with dried blood on the floor. This is a clear infection control risk. I cleaned the floor myself as I did not want my child to go on the dirty floor. And furthermore a consultant was giving a patient his confidential results in the waiting area for all to hear! This is completely unacceptable. The RDE also fail to have a separate waiting area for children in the dept, so our son was subjected to a number of different adult patients with 'special needs' who were alarming to be around. This waiting area was neither child friendly or safe to be in, with no toys for entertainment. Eventually a nurse came to do some obs in the waiting room as there were no 'paed cubicles' available. Surely if he can wait in an adult waiting room, he can use an adult cubicle? (Yes I could see a vacant cubicle.) By this point or son was tired, hungry and fed up and fought with the nurse the entire time. He made his presence known to the whole dept. After another 10 mins or so, we were shown to a paed cubicle which had not been cleaned thoroughly before we entered, most notable was a 'bung' from a cannula on the floor. The doctors exam was as successful as the obs. We were discharged with advice to return if his symptoms did.