"Visit to A&E with my young son"

About: Chesterfield Royal Hospital

I was very dissatisfied with the way in which the Nurse Practitioner treated my son in A&E yesterday as they appeared not to believe the fact that he was in pain and suggested that he was doing this to gain attention. They also made him walk up and down on his broken toe and asked him why he wasn't bending his knee when walking and again suggested that he was making it all up. They then sent him for an X-ray - not to identify if his toe was actually broken but to prove to him that there was nothing wrong with him. He had an x-ray of his foot which proved the fact that there was a small fracture. We went back round to A&E and did not receive an apology for their earlier inappropriate attitude but was greeted with " Well blow me down with a feather, who would have thought that there was a fracture" - well my son & I for one! I know my son and knew full well that there was something wrong with his foot and knew full well that the pain he was experiencing was very real. I understand that they were busy that morning and maybe they do see a number of timewasters and attention seekers but my son is definitely not in this category. He is just a young boy who was in pain and deserved to receive proper nursing care and attention. I feel strongly that often children and the elderly get treated with less dignity and respect just because they are unable to speak up for themselves. It is also important to acknowledge that had they not referred my son for an x-ray that he no doubt would have been sent home with a flea in his ear and left suffering in pain with an undiagnosed broken toe. Also, he may have been put off speaking up in future about illness and injury for fear of receiving similar harsh treatment in the future. I feel that this should be a lesson learned for the future about not disregarding young patients as something serious could be missed with this attitude. Less focus on targets and clearing the waiting room and more focus on actually listening and caring for patients with compassion.

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Responses

Response from Chesterfield Royal Hospital

I was really sorry to read your post and how you and your son were made to feel. You must have been left with a really disappointing impression of the Emergency Department service given the diagnosis and outcome. You make some excellent points about the need to treat children with the same concern as everyone else and to listen to their description of pain appropriately. I'm replying on behalf of the Trust so you get a response quickly. I want to assure you that your post will be shared with the emergency care's senior clinical team so they speak to staff about your experiences and remind the team of what's expected. The service has been under pressure, but this should not effect how we speak to our patients. Alternatively, if you would like us to look into what happened in a little more detail you may wish to speak to our assistance & complaints team. They can be contacted on 01246 512640 9-4pm, Monday to Friday. I hope your son is not finding his injury too painful and please tell him we are sorry if anyone suggested that he was 'making his injury up'. Kind regards Sarah Turner-Saint, head of communications

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