"Should have been quicker.."

About: Royal Blackburn Hospital

I usually have good words for the A&E department. On Thursday 6th August, I went with a severe asthma attack and was seen almost immediately, and given nebulisers within a few minutes.

However, on Tuesday 12th August I ended up back again with another severe attack. My dad and I were told to wait in the waiting area and we were there for 15 minutes, until my dad went to the nurses' station and requested I be seen immediately. By this point I was zoning in and out, and I couldn't speak at all. In fairness to them, they then wheeled me through but then the doctor kept asking questions of me, and really took their time getting me the nebulisers.

After the first 2 meds in the nebuliser and some of the liquid prednisolone, I wasn't much better and was in fact just getting worse and worse again. The doctor came back and again took their time. The doctor said they would get me another nebuliser and 'something else', but came back to do bloods before giving me the nebuliser!

I thought 'oh well, maybe the doctor's just going to do this quickly and I'll get the neb as soon as they're finished', but then a nurse came in and had no idea how serious my condition was. They too kept trying to get me to talk ('you need to talk to me you know!') as they did my obs, failed to notice I was having retractions, and tried to tell me to 'calm down and just try to breathe normally' while my peak flow was 120 (35% of my best) and dropping, and I was very obviously in danger of imminent respiratory arrest. I was zoning out, I was unable to even speak...the nurse should have seen that. I looked at my dad in terror and despair, because my only thought was 'they don't even care, they're going to let me die', which I know was slightly irrational but really, can you blame me? Luckily, my dad read me perfectly and very firmly told the nurse that I was obviously really struggling, and I was supposed to be getting another nebuliser, so could they stop telling me how to breathe and help me!

After that, I was wheeled through to Resus, which was really where I should have been all along. I got nebulisers and magnesium there, and more nebulisers before being transferred to MAU in the early hours of the morning.

Like I say, I usually am full of praise and certainly the week before the A&E staff was superb (save for sending me home on 30mg pred rather than 40mg) but this should have been much quicker. I understand the prioritisation system and know that sometimes one has to wait for hours in A&E...but in this case, I was an immediate emergency and should have been on that nebuliser within minutes of arriving. I should not have had to wait in the waiting room, and I should definitely never have had to wait as long as I did to get the second nebuliser. Much longer and my attack could have been near-fatal, or even fatal.

Sorry it had to be such a bad review. Maybe you could consider briefing all your staff on acute asthma pathways and guidelines?

Thanks :)

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Response from Royal Blackburn Hospital

Many thanks for your feedback on your recent experience of our Emergency Department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and thank-you for taking the time to do so.

I am very sorry that you are unhappy with the care provided on this occasion, particularly in view of your previous positive experience.

I will make sure your comments are passed onto the team.

However, in order for us to further understand what made this such a poor experience for you and investigate further, perhaps you could contact one of our Patient Experience team to talk through your concerns.

We would really value this so that we can try to improve things for every patient visiting our hospitals and services.

You can either contact me (Melissa Almond) on 01254 734087 or email me on Melissa.almond@elht.nhs.uk

Or if you prefer you can discuss further any concerns you may have about our services with our East Lancashire Hospitals Trust Customer Relations team on 01254 733700 or complaints@elht.nhs.uk who can advise you of your options in raising these concerns further.

If you would like to share your experience in confidence with an independent organisation please contact Healthwatch BwD on 01254 504985 or info@healthwatchblackburnwithdarwen.co.uk

Many thanks again for commenting.

Melissa Almond, Patient Experience Facilitator

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