"Horrible, horrible experience"
About: South Tyneside District Hospital South Tyneside District Hospital South Shields NE34 0PL
Posted by Catherine
I arrived on Saturday to A&E feeling very poorly indeed, faint, dizzy, and at times entirely unable to lift my head up or open my eyes. At some points it felt I was losing the feeling to my legs and hands, and I was unable to walk as I was so weak.
My brain was able to process things clearly in terms of what was happening/ being done to me, however at points I also experienced the most awful hallucinations and confusion, followed by my body feeling so tired and heavy. I knew this was all somehow related either in part or entirely due to low phosphate in my blood as I had been admitted to A&E via my GP a few days prior, and a phosphate prescription given then. During this second visit lots of tests were carried out, and my phosphate level still found to be very low, however not critically so. Another phosphate prescription was given, and then we (my mum and brother had escorted me to hospital, and stayed with me the entire time) were then told that as the department was for accidents and critical care only, I would have to leave.
Please note at this stage I was virtually entirely unresponsive, unable to stand on my own two feet, or to even support the weight of my head on my neck.
My hearing remained intact during the whole experience though... so I was able to hear the nurse say to my mum that as my observations were all fine, and just my phosphate very low, that the only thing therefore wrong was my 'behaviour' - as if I was consciously and willingly pretending to be as poorly/zonked out as I was! I remember rallying at some point as it was so awful, and managed to say out loud the words 'I am lucid enough to to be annoyed' with as much dignity as I could, before collapsing in a heap again. I think that might have been when the nurse was threatening me in my semi-conscious state to have me committed to the psychiatric unit unless I got up and walked, as there was nowhere else for me to go. I remember the nurse demanding me to answer whether I wanted to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act or not. I felt so ill I hardly had the strength to say I didn't - I remember nearly sliding off the wheel chair I had been put in, and having to be propped up.
I have never had any mental health issues in my entire life before, and for the nurse to treat me at turns as if I was 'pretending' to be ill or was mentally unstable was traumatising beyond words. I never want, or would recommend anyone to go to this department unless they literally have no other options available to them. I would crawl on my hands and knees rather than ever visit it again, which ironically is more or less what I had to do in the end to get out, as I couldn't physically walk. My mum who's in her mid 70s ended up pushing me out in a wheelchair, with a last bit of help given from a kind member of staff when she struggled. The only other kindness I recall was from one of the evening nurses, who offered and made drinks (the only thing offered over a period of about 5 hours or so),