"Extremely bad mental health provision, doctors..."
About: Sunderland Royal Hospital Sunderland Royal Hospital Sunderland SR4 7TP
Posted by Gavin Earnshaw
In Summer 2015 I was admitted following two failed attempts to 999 to get an ambulance to hospital. When I eventually called my GP to call one on my behalf I was taken to Sunderland and diagnosed with very low potassium. I was placed on an ECG and given two IV bags to sort it out. However during this time I was extremely anxious and having hallucinations, a painful stomach with radiating pain throughout the body, constipation and high anxiety levels/panic attacks.
The doctors in the hospital totally ignored all of the symptoms of mental illness whilst I was being treated. Once my potassium was back to normal I was strong armed by the doctor on duty to sign the discharge papers. I explained to the doctor that I was really not myself and was afraid, I said to the doctor that if the symptoms I am feeling are not really happening, then I wanted them to place me in a mental health ward so they could diagnose the issue because I was extremely concerned at the time that I had many physical ailments which were being ignored by this doctor.
The doctor refused and I said that if it got worse, I would only be back again. So I signed. Later that evening I had extreme symptoms, extreme anxiety, what appeared to be a seizure in my legs followed by loss of sensation. I was taken back to hospital, by this point the feeling had mostly returned (but the ambulance crew witnessed the shaking in my legs). The doctor did not wish to keep me in hospital and refused to forward me to any mental health teams.
Early the next morning I had what can only be described as a psychotic episode, I was hallucinating heavily seeing blood (which was not there), convinced that my organs were going to explode or something terrible. More extreme pain, hyperventilation. I did some very scary things thinking I was fighting for my life - I should have been kept in hospital. My disabled mother witnessed the episode and was distraught, had no idea what to do. I thought the hospital would ignore me again but figured that since there was blood everywhere (in my mind) that this time, surely they would take my concerns seriously.
So we called 999 again, but this time went to the QE in Gateshead, who quickly diagnosed hallucinations, a UTI, constipation and liver toxicity. I was given a laxative, diazepam and a coarse of antibiotics. I took me about 2 months to feel normal again. Sunderland hospital completely missed these issues and ignored me when I returned to hospital.
Their provision for mental health is abysmal and could cost some seriously ill people their lives. I literally begged the doctors there to help me, and their only answer was, "You are not showing signs of acute illness and we will not admit you to the hospital". Mental health of this nature absolutely is acute and it was extremely dangerous to ignore the symptoms I was presenting, especially when I wasn't aware that I was suffering from mental illness at the time, the doctors at the hospital should have known better.