"Nightmare visit to A&E"

About: Medway Maritime Hospital

Both my husband and I have had fantastic treatment at medway over the last four years for cancer treatment. However today was an absolute nightmare which left my husband who is very ill with cancer very distressed. He was in terrible pain this morning and I was advised by the macmillan palliative care team to call 999 as he may have fractured a bone as his cancer has now spread to the bones. We were brought to Medway and within minutes were told that we would have to go to med occ. my poor husband was wheeled over to the appointments desk and we were told that the next available appointment was 6.30pm. This was 2.20pm. He had been given some oramorph in A&E but we know from experience that this would not touch his pain. We were told we could come back, we did not have to stay there.....a line we have heard used loads of times as we spent a couple of hours there two weeks ago waiting for a scan that didn't happen. So in desperation I went back to A&E I was so upset and cried to the nurse who told us to go to med occ. I pleaded for someone to see him and just help us. The nurse went off to see a doctor, came back and said that an exception would be made and he would be seen! He did not fit the criteria of an emergency. Hubby was wheeled back to A&E and left out in the waiting room. He needed to use the bathroom during this time and I tried to get him out of the chair and to the toilet. I could not hold him myself and another patient came to our aide. He was mortified and frightened that he would fall. We sat in that packed waiting room, I was so worried as he recently has had cellulitis and then scepticemia followed by a chest infection that he would be susceptible to other infections. We were eventually called just actually as we were going to leave and take a chance until Monday. We saw a junior doctor who gave him morphine, sent him for an x Ray then gave him more morphine. It was clearly not hitting the pain bit it was declared that there was nothing more that could be done. Although IV paracetomol would be given as it was effective with morphine. Then we were told we had reached our four hours in A&E and he had been taken off the system, as if he wasn't there. Then we were told that he would not get the paracetomol as we would have to wait for a doctor. I guess that means targets would be missed. My husband was so distressed he just wanted to go home. I wheeled him to our car and listened to him cry out in pain as he tried to get out of the chair and into the car. When we got home I had to call my neighbours to help me get him into the house. I then called the hospice for help. A doctor came out, an amazing doctor. I have never seen my husband cry in the 32 years we have been married. I cannot tell you how distraught I am to have witnessed what he went through today. We were desperate for help. Overheard a nurse say to the other "#### happens" don't know what she was referring to but is that acceptable language to use in front of patients?

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Response from Medway Maritime Hospital

I am sorry to hear of the negative experience you had when you visited the emergency department at Medway Maritime Hospital. I would like to look into your husband's case more closely but will require me information. Could I please ask you to contact me directly so that we can discuss? Pauline Brooker Matron Emergency Department

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