"Terrifying experience at Bournemouth A&E"

About: Royal Bournemouth General Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

My husband who is Type 1 Diabetic began to experience extreme pain in his right eye in early October 2015 in the evening at around 11pm.

He took paracetamol and ibuprofen and we telephoned 111. Whilst waiting for a call back my husband said that he could no longer cope with the pain in his eye, by this time he could not stand any light, his vision was extremely blurred and he was nauseous, reaching but not actually vomiting.

I drove him to Bournemouth A & E and we arrived around 1am I believe? Firstly the receptionist had a little difficulty finding my husbands records because in 30 years of living in Bournemouth he has never attended the A & E Department, that was understandable. However, we explained to the receptionist that he was in extreme pain, (my husband is not a person to fuss) and is Type 1 Diabetic.

I took his blood sugar reading as he was not able to open his eyes, and it read 2.1, an extremely dangerously low level, I had a chocolate bar in my bag, but because he was gagging and extremely nauseous he struggled to eat this. I explained to the receptionist that we required assistance, and on the third time of asking, she told me that she had spoken to a nurse and made them aware, my husband was by now extremely poorly.

The triage nurse came out of her room, and I told her the situation but she simply called in the next patient, and whilst I am not making judgement, they were a young couple and neither one of them appeared to be terrible poorly, but like I say I am not in a position to pass judgement.

By this point I was fairly frantic and so I told the receptionist that I didn't know what to do next, I then decided that the only course of action available to me to make my husband safe was to call an ambulance. However when I started to make the call the triage nurse became free and saw my husband, and issued him with Glucagon tablets. My husbands blood sugar is usually extremely well controlled, it was only because he was so unwell that his blood sugar had dipped dramatically.

I explained that my husbands brother and sister have each had acute glaucoma, and that my husbands symptoms were extremely similar, but she assured me that there was no need to jump to conclusions on that basis alone. My husband spent an extremely painful few hours on the acute admissions ward with no offer of further painkillers, he was just given a towel to place over his head to help cut out the light.

We were finally seen at 3am by a lovely Dr who examined my husband thoroughly but admitted that they knew very little about eyes. By this time the attack had passed. They sent us home with a contact number for the emergency eye unit, however on returning home, the phone rang and it was the doctor to say that they had just looked at the blood test and we needed to return to hospital immediately, which we did, and they gave my husband a large number of steroid tablets, we returned home again.

The next morning we came into the emergency eye unit who were brilliant, they diagnosed acute glaucoma, but were however unable to do the laser surgery then because of the drops that had been used for diagnosis, we went back the next day and the laser eye surgery was performed, my husband is now home recovering.

I am not looking for compensation or even an apology, but I thought that somebody needs to know how terrifying this experience of A & E was. In the event of a loved one being extremely poorly, where are we supposed to go? What are we supposed to do?

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Responses

Response from Sue Mellor, Patient Experience Lead, Royal Bournemouth & Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dear Terrified Patient

I am so sorry that you have had such an awful experience and would very much like to investigate this further.

I will send your comments to the Matron in charge of A&E and we will then get back to you with a more detailed response.

If you are able to provide more information to assist us please could I ask you to contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALs) on 01202 704886 or pals@rbch.nhs.uk

Regards

Sue Mellor

Head of Patient Engagement

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Response from Royal Bournemouth General Hospital

Dear Terrified Patient

I am so sorry that you have had such an awful experience and would very much like to investigate this further.

I will send your comments to the Matron in charge of A&E and we will then get back to you with a more detailed response.

If you are able to provide more information to assist us please could I ask you to contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALs) on 01202 704886 or pals@rbch.nhs.uk

Regards

Sue Mellor

Head of Patient Engagement