"Emergency admission for ruptured achilles tendon"

About: Watford General Hospital

My son (22 yrs) ruptured his achilles around 1am on a Saturday (running to his car). He went to A&E and after a long wait (as you would expect) he was seen, diagnosed and put in a plaster cast. There were no spare beds and he was sent home around 6am in the morning. I called the next day and spoke to a Dr who gave me his name, was very polite and informed me all theatres were for emergency "limb at risk" surgeries and it was unlikely that my son would be seen again until the following week. He asked me to call back Monday morning if I had not received a call and he would do his best to prioritise my son's case. However that was unnecessary as I received a call from a senior surgeon on the Sunday evening who told me they would be discussing my son's case between 8am and 9am Monday morning. I received another phone call on Monday morning and was asked to bring my son in for a scan. We went to the hospital not really knowing our way around so initially went to the wrong x-ray department. The young lady on reception was very polite and helpful and called a porter with a wheelchair to take us where we needed to be (my son was using his crutches and this was very thoughtful and helpful). We met the consultant and his entourage in a lift and they knew who we were without us introducing ourselves - impressive! They gave instructions to the porter and we were taken to a the team who removed his plaster cast. Again all very polite and friendly. The porter waited for us while my son's cast was removed and he then took us to ultra sound where he had his scan. The chap who saw my son in asked me if I would like to accompany him - he apologised for keeping us waiting and was very friendly. The doctor who performed the ultrasound talked me through what she was doing and was very apologetic when my son flinched a couple of times (he was in a lot of pain by now). A new porter was called to take us back to see the consultant. We had to wait a little while but everybody kept us informed and again were apologetic. We were then given the details of the risk/benefits of surgery v non-surgery and we agreed surgery was the right decision for my son. He was immediately found a bed and had his surgery within 2 hours of being taken to the ward (Cleves). The politeness and information sharing continued. The nurses are the most caring, hard-working, attentive, kind and compassionate team I have ever encountered. My son was really well looked after, everybody answered my numerous questions with patience and empathy. The following day I was supposed to meet my son in the discharge room and he wasn't there when I arrived. So I went to the main building reception desk and the receptionist (who was on the telephone) stopped her call, asked me if she could help and called the ward for me as I had left the telephone number at home. She was also extremely polite and helpful. I am so impressed by the entire experience - exceptional!

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