"Key information not communicated to paramedic"
About: Care UK Care UK Reading RG1 8BW
Posted by CathyCom (as ),
My husband called 111 that evening at 8. 30pm because our 7 year old son had developed a rash suddenly. It was spreading all over his body. He had a call back from a GP who said as he was sleeping and it sounded like nettle rash to just keep an eye on him. We had no indication what may have caused it. However at 9. 45 (shortly after the call finished) I noticed my son's lips were swelling up. My husband called 111 again. As he was giving details and going through the assessment all over again, I said my son needed to go to hospital as I was afraid he may be going into anaphlaxsis. My husband handed the phone to me and I said to the assessor that I did not want to spend time going through the same details and I was going to drive my son to hospital. Then my husband told me that an ambulance had been ordered already, so I stopped getting ready and waited. It took at least 20 minutes for a paramedic to turn up - not in an ambulance but in a car. We live 10 minutes by car from St George's Hospital.
I dialled 999 while we were waiting to see if it was coming as my sons lips were swelling more and more. When the paramedic arrived, he took his time and showed no sense of urgency. I had to run down the road to get him to get out of his car and come to the house. He chatted on the stairs and told me to stop worrying. It was only when he saw my son, realised he needed to go into hospital and we were on our way there in his car that he told me he had NOT BEEN TOLD MY SON'S LIPS WERE SWELLING. He had had no indication that the situation was urgent. A good 30 minutes had passed since I first noticed this worrying sign. This was crucial time which, had he been in anapphylxis, would have been a dangerous wait for us.
The 111 service failed to pass on this vital information and this communication breakdown could have been very serious. Thankfully, I had given my son some antihistamine while I was waiting and the swelling did not affect his airways.