"The Complicated Fractured Toe Experience"
About: University Hospital Of North Tees University Hospital Of North Tees Stockton-on-Tees TS19 8PE
Posted by Claire Champion
After tripping down the last three stairs at home one Sunday morning (bare footed at the time) I heard a crack, felt a 'pop' and looked at my left foot which now had a little toe sticking out at a jaunty angle. I was dropped off at the local hospital within 20 minutes of my less than graceful tumble. On entry to the A&E department of North Tees Hospital I was greeted by a friendly receptionist who took my details and asked for a brief account of my reason for visit. Oh dear was the reply, please take a seat. I calmly hopped/hobbled to nearest seat in waiting area. I watched other patients be taken for further assessment of need and then be returned to waiting area so I hoped my wait would be brief as foot and toe were becoming rather painful. After only a few minutes I seemed to bypass the cubicle frequented by the others and a wonderful Health Care Assistant emerged from behind doors with a wheelchair. I wish I could remember the assistant's name but I cant so shall be HCA. I was whisked away, made comfortable on a treatment bed as HCA was joined by a Nurse Practitioner. A medical history was taken as they took a quick look at my injury before giving me appropriate pain relief tablets. My initial diagnosis was broken toe, probably a displaced bone and a tear wound between the little toe and next. In the next 5 minutes I was taken to X-ray where staff were staff were efficient and caring, within 10 minutes I was back with HCA and Nurse Practitioner (NP as I cant remember their name either, sorry) A good look at the X-ray by all three of us confirmed a displaced fracture. NP explained in detail about how they would try to reduce it with the aid of gas and air as pain relief. I was given time to take on board plenty of gas and air as my wound was cleaned and fracture reduced. Thank you gas and air! Thank you NP. Almost as soon as this procedure had finished I returned to X-ray for a post reduction assessment. Back with NP and HCA we all looked at latest X-ray, an experienced A&E doctor checked it and was happy with result. Next I was bandaged up, given a lesson in the use of crutches, given prescription painkillers for home, given prescription antibiotics to ward off any infection within wound, given an appointment with an orthopaedic consultant at the fracture clinic the next day and wheeled out to my waiting car. The whole A&E experience lasted less than 2 hours and I was home in time for Sunday Lunch, of course I didn't have to do any of the cooking. At all times I was treated with care and dignity and all staff explained to me what they were doing and why. They were happy to answer my questions and the HCA used just the right amount of humour. My follow up appointments at the fracture clinics have also been on time and I have been impressed by the level of detail consultants have used to explain just why my fracture is a little 'complicated'. Full recovery expected after approximately 6 weeks so now my challenge is to master the use of crutches!