"76 year old with sciatica left on trolley for 3..."
About: John Radcliffe Hospital John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford OX3 9DU
My mother, 76 and suffering from an immune disorder, was referred to A&E on Sat 19th of September because she was in extreme sciatic pain and the GP judged a scan was necessary. A&E was busy and we waited 4 hours on a trolley before being seen. An MRI scan took place at 10.30 at night and the results were not judged to be critical. My mother was referred for nursing care and placed, still on the trolley, in EMU, a sort of holding bay behind A&E. This is a very noisy space, without natural light or bathroom facilities, full of noisy alarms and working staff. Here she remained, on the trolley, for the next three days. She was too tall for the trolley, and her feet stuck our over the end. She could not adjust the back of the trolley or reach her water glass without sounding an alarm. If she did sound the alarm, she would have to wait 20 minutes to be attended to She could not turn over. She could not sleep. Her drugs were confused and forgotten. She was taken for a scan at 5 in the morning which proved to be for someone else.Very soon, she deteriorated alarmingly, reporting extreme pain and developing first diarrhea and then loss of feeling in her back and double incontinence. We started work on finding her a nursing home to go to, but there were none that could help us on the Sunday. On the Monday evening, we were astonished to be handed a discharge letter on the grounds she 'was not ill, just in pain.' . Doctors inspected her and agreed she needed nursing care. We were then told that her only option was to go the Horton in Banbury. This would leave her unable to see my father, 78, and would also expose her and her depressed immune system to the infection of a shared community ward, so we refused and continued trying to have her admitted to a local nursing home. However, the Home were asking for an MRSA swab, which the JR had not done, and were concerned about the diarrhea. The JR had noted 1 episode of this, but my mother had experienced 27. On Tuesday, we obtained the consent of the Home to move her, but found that physically doing so was difficult. She could not have an ambulance because the Home was private. The JR insisted that she was 'a person who could sit' and could take a taxi, but by this time she could scarcely move her head. The matron of the Home warned us that JR patients were often discharged and dumped in wheelchairs in the waiting area for up to 9 hours.
In the end, we had to pay £300 for a private ambulance to take us less than half a mile. The MRSA swab was never done. Her drugs were not sent correctly. She was exhausted and traumatised and far more ill than when she went to A&E. We left behind in the EMU the same neighbour who had been there when we arrived: a demented woman weeping and moaning with pain and begging for someone to speak to her.
No individual who we spoke to was less than kind: but this was a cruel experience for all of us. The JR should be ashamed that such a place as the EMU exists in their hospi