"Parking in an emergency probs & depts need to work..."

About: Kingston Hospital

Following recent open heart surgery at Hammersmith hospital for a valve replacement my mother was concerned by swollen legs 2 days after returning home. GP in Hampton gave an appt within 45 mins of the call (excellent) & he was more concerned about her breathing - she had suddenly become short of breath on the way. With the symptoms fitting those of a pulmonary embolism he called Kingston Hospital & got her referred issuing us with a letter to 'fast track' thru A & E so that tests could be run immediately. On arrival (my mother on the verge of passing out) there was nowhere to pull in. I held up 2 ambulances as I grabbed a wheelchair and rushed her in. I then had to pull in to an ambulance bay so that I could return to quickly get her checked in. We were rudely told by a triage nurse who poked his head out that there was no fast tracking. I returned to park the car properly whilst the receptionist kept an eye on my mother. There was no parking & I was panicked. Finding a parking attendant & yelling my predicament he kindly found me a place. I need not have rushed - we waited 2 hours to be seen by triage. We were told that triage were prioritising patients. Do you have to fully stop breathing to be pushed ahead of someone with a sore knee on crutches? Once seen by triage (same nurse apologised for the delay) things moved quickly - ECG, blood taken but we then waited a further hr before being seen by a junior Dr. The Dr was v reassuring & explained things v well. Chest X ray & results were processed quickly. Fluid was found on the lungs. A blood thinning injection & a diuretic were given. We were told a CT scan would be needed but this could not be done that day (it was 4pm) but we were on an Ambulatory Emergency Care Pathway for a PE & we were to return at 10am the following day to the Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit. Breathing was better the following day but with legs still v swollen & feeling dreadful we returned along with several other patients we recognised from A & E the day before & many others. We were kept waiting for 5 hours! Receptionist kindly offered a pack up lunch & a cup of tea after 4 hours & fortunately I had used a hospital wheelchair for my mother so her legs could be raised (I had the forethought to do this in A & E as well - this advice should have been given to those not in the know). Taking pity after nearly 5 hrs receptionist sorted a bed in a treatment rm & we were seen 15 mins later by a Dr who apologised & explained that A & E had sent everyone to the dept for 10am and she was the only Dr working. Asking a 2nd opinion of a colleague the decision was made to admit for tests about 8 hrs after we arrived. Then a stroke of luck - the Dr who said she loved her job despite everything - arranged for the last ECHO ultrasound of the day at 7pm & Dr wheeled my mother to cardiology. All clear given, advice to continue with diuretics and no stay necess. Before this an excellent ward dinner was given 100% better than Hammersmith Hosp.

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Response from Kingston Hospital

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