"Post Operative Help"

About: The Tunbridge Wells Hospital / A&E and trauma unit

After having major spinal surgery a week ago my husband began suffering with severe pain all down his left hand side. I rang Kings College Hospital and spoke to the consultants PA who advised me to take my husband straight to our local A &E which was Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury. On arrival we were queued outside the door as there was only one poor receptionist, trying to deal with all sorts going on. It was explained about the spinal surgery and that my husband was only aloud to sit for max of 10 minutes, he should be lying flat or walking. Obviously walking was an issue as he was in so much pain. The receptionist was extremely sympathetic and advised us that triage wouldn't be long, they would then assist us in getting him laid down. We eventually were seen by the triage nurse after an hour of my husband standing and pacing from foot to foot, by this stage he was in absolute agony, light headed with the pain and pins and needles in both of his legs. He explained to the triage nurse that he must lay down and was told that, that would not be possible as there were no beds available, they thought it would be 2 hours before one became free, he explained how his legs had now gone numb and how much pain he was in. The nurse said there was nothing they could do! My husband then limped out of the room and said he would have to go home so he could lie down. I continued to speak with the triage sister, i became very tearful as i'm sure you can appreciate that spinal column surgery should not be taken lightly. The triage sister then suggested I took my husband to Brighton A & E, which is 39 miles from our home and would of taken me roughly an hour and a half. I explained to the triage sister again that the 10 minute journey was excruciating for my husband so how on earth did they think he could manage that kind of journey. I even asked for a trolley to put my husband on and i would stand with him but again they said it was their registration and it would be unreasonable for her to do it. I did explain that i thought it was very unreasonable to take the risk with spinal surgery. I've ended up bringing my husband home and unfortunately my next course of action will be to ring an ambulance, at least then we know he'll be laying down. I have always tried to do things the right way but it gets you nowhere. The receptionist was pushed to their limits being on their own - i wouldn't be surprised if those poor receptionists all go off with stress, they' re the front line and need the support. We felt the triage nurse was completely unsympathetic.

Story from NHS Choices

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