"Mixed experiences of care after my mum's fall"

About: South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust William Harvey Hospital / Accident and emergency William Harvey Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a relative),

My mother, who is 77 years old, suffered a fall in July 09 which resulted in an ambulance being called for a possible dislocated shoulder.

One of the ambulance staff was not at all sympathetic and left her feeling that it was her fault as she was wearing improper shoes for her age and that she was lucky she hadn't broken her hip!

At A&E she was x-rayed and then put onto a holding ward in a sling. She had broken her humerus and the ball. She was in an awful lot of pain. After 3 days she was released and a fracture clinic appointment made.

We attended the fracture clinic 2 days later and were told the break was quite bad and that they would have to consult with the 'shoulder expert' as to whether she required surgery and that the hospital would ring my mum the following day if she needed the surgery.

We were supposed to be going on holiday a week later. As we had heard nothing, we assumed that she did not need surgery, so we attended the next fracture clinic appointment the following week. We were now told that she would definitely need surgery the following day - the same day we were due to go on holiday!

I found this too much. A little communication to my mum could have prevented a lot of shock to a 77 year old lady. We were at the hospital from 11am to 3pm with no food or drink for her to have her pre-op checks. However, she was admitted the next day and had her operation. This time she was in for 4 days.

They told her on the 4th day that her blood was not right and they thought she may have an infection and that they would arrange for some antibiotics. She was then told by another shift the same day that she could go home. When she enquired about the antibiotics, she was told that they didn't know anything about them and she didn't need them. So she went home.

5 days later she was rushed back to hospital with pneumonia. She was in for 3 days again before going home. Is this patient care? I think not.

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