"Made to feel I invisible!"
About: St James's University Hospital St James's University Hospital Leeds LS9 7TF
Posted by Karen Carrington
On the 29th August 2014 after an operation to remove an infected cyst on my back I was transferred to ward 43 and introduced by a nurse who said she would be looking after me - I never saw her again! The nurses in recovery had recommended that I be put on an IV drip on the ward but this never happened. I was never shown where the call button or toilet were and another patient had to explain how to contact my family because I could not get a signal on my phone. The cannula in my hand became displaced and was never replaced. My temperature and blood pressure were taken every hour and each time was too low but I was only told to keep drinking water which I did but still felt very light-headed. Other patients on the ward used the call button to alert the nurses and were either ignored or told off because "there are other patients besides you" and yet this same patient had fallen a few times and was clearly unsteady on her feet. When she asked for her urine bag to be changed she was told it would be but had to wait a long time for this to be done. In desperation she asked the man changing the bed linen to help her but he couldn't so she tried to get out of bed herself and it was only then that a nurse came to help but when she pulled the emergency call button in the toilet again she was ignored and I had to get out of bed to alert them. I had to use the call button because my dressing had come off and blood was running down my back onto my sheets and again the button was ignored and I had to go the the door to alert someone. I was told that the dressing would be looked at but before then the ward doctors came and ripped the dressing off my back, prodded my inflamed back (at which point I nearly shot through the roof) and said I could be discharged. I was not told at any time what they had done and what care I would need at home. Eventually my dressing was changed 3 hours after I had alerted them and the nurse seemed to be surprised to find that the op had been on my back - something she perhaps she should have known? Also my name was only written on the board above my bed 30 mins before I went home! The nurses were understaffed and doing their best but all their attention was focused on a patient who clearly needed specialist respiratory care and should never have been on that ward in the first place. I overheard them struggling to attach an oxygen cylinder to a mask and in the morning the replacement staff were heard to say that the night staff should have cut holes out of the mask which they hadn't done - they were clearly out of their depth and this patient was then transferred to the RCU to be cared for. I was very grateful for the care I received when it happened but I was made to feel like I didn't count because I was only staying in overnight. I was told that to get home quickly I would be better off not waiting for pharmacy and to purchase pain relief for myself and then I was just left without being told what to do or how to get out of there!