"Poor care in A&E department at QMC after self harm"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust Queen's Medical Centre

(as the patient),

This morning at 4am I unfortunately had to go to A&E. I suffer from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and subsequently have mental health problems. In recent years I have repeatedly had to attend A&E to be stitched up etc. Recently I have been trying very hard not to self harm and have been accessing therapy and support and hadn't been to the department for quite a while.

When I got there the streaming nurse recognised me and said how well I have been doing and she had noticed that I haven't been for a while. She was very caring and supportive. I really hate going to A&E. I call it 'The walk of shame' as I know my wounds are self inflicted.

Earlier this morning I had had a nightmare and flashback and had woken up yet again with a wet bed, crying and shaking and so frightened. When I am in this state I disassociate and today I found myself in the bathroom and had stabbed myself in the chest.

I knew I needed medical attention and stitches so I reluctantly went to A&E.

The streaming nurse took my hand and led me into the resus section of A&E as the stab wound in my chest was deep.

When I walked in I felt so upset and frightened and it is really loud and busy. The doctor, called Chris, recognised me. He sat me on a bed and the nurse bought a gown and blanket. He coldly said that he won't need them. He briefly looked at my wound. Didn't ask me many questions but did ask if I wanted pain relief which I said I did. He never gave me any but made me feel like I deserved the pain I was in. He bought a kit over and coldly stitched my wound and then said he would get DPM to see me. He put on a plaster that I am allergic to but I didn't have the courage to say anything.

At 4. 30 he left me curled under my coat, cold and upset and never spoke to me again.

I cried and felt so lost and pathetic. I hate it when I hurt myself and never want to be at the hospital.

Later on they put me in a different area of the department and I laid there for 3 hours on my own. When the new staff came on a male nurse put a blanket over me and that made me cry more as I didn't feel I deserved any act of kindness.

I was wheeled into the other side of A&E and placed in the middle of the department on a trolley. I cried even more and was in pain.

At 9am I finally saw a man from DPM. He told me to go home and to call my MHT tomorrow. I told him how frightened I was about hurting myself and that I was in pain. I asked for one tablet for tonight so I had something to calm me down but he told me I had to ring 111 and he couldn't help me.

I left the department at 9. 30, really upset. I had to sit in my car in the car park and ring 111 to ask NEMS to call me. I sat in my car for nearly an hour and a GP rang me back and luckily gave me a prescription for one tablet of lorazepam so I can be safer tonight. I picked up the prescription on my way home from hospital.

I know that I self harm and can understand the judgement that professionals make but I was treated really coldly and in an uncaring way. It just compounds the thoughts that I have that I am dirty, stupid and disgusting. No one cared that I was upset, cold, in pain and alone and I got the impression that they think if they treat me like that I won't do it again but unfortunately mental health doesn't work like that and I don't have a lot of control. I am waiting for in patient trauma therapy and am happy to engage in any way it can in order to get better.

The New Year is the anniversary of a major traumatic event and is a hard time for me. I have had very little sleep, too many flashbacks and nightmares and feel very suicidal and low. Last nights care has just made me feel worse and the worrying thing is that I'm not sure I will ever go back but what do I do when I need urgent care. It frightens me that I will kill myself.

I would hate anyone to be treated like I was last night. I have never complained before and am so appreciative of the support I receive. This time, however I want an explanation as to why I was treated so badly and in such an uncaring manner. No one should spend hours cold, upset and in pain curled up under a coat with no basic care and compassion. It is not good enough.

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Response from Deborah Thompson, Matron, Adult Mental Health, Highbury Hospital


I have just read your post and I am very sorry that you have had such an experience. We have already passed on your comments to the relevant people and you should expect a further response shortly.

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Response from Jo Horsley, Adult Mental Health Service Manager - Acute services, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust


I’m so sorry to hear about your distressing experiences when you visited A&E at QMC. I would like more information so I can investigate your experience thoroughly. Please email me at jo.horsley@nottshc.nhs.uk or call me on 01159691300 ext 14112. My secretary will be able to book us an appointment at Highbury hospital if you would like to meet to discuss further, it may be easier for you than over the phone. We take patient feedback very seriously and I assure you we will investigate the DMP element of your visit and contact QMC managers in relation to your experiences with their staff.

I hope you’re feeling better and look forward to speaking to you soon.

Kind regards

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