"Treatment at A&E West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds following my double leg fracture"

About: West Suffolk Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

In November last year I fell very heavily which resulted in a double leg fracture. On arrival at A&E, West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, I was extremely shocked and traumatised and there was only one kindly doctor who treated me with respect - others and all the nurses I saw were indifferent and deaf to my polite requests to call my husband through to be with me (despite asking countless different staff many, many times) and I was kept waiting for any pain relief for a long time - I lost count of the amount of times I desperately asked for this. I was eventually seen by a Consultant Orthapaedic Surgeon whose attitude was blunt, uncaring and totally devoid of inter-personal skills. I was left totally bewildered by this encounter and still no-one called my husband to be with me at such a very important time - so he did not get to see the Consultant or hear what he had to say. I was not kept informed at all of what was happening to me, the staff just appeared to take over. I had a temporary plaster put on and was admitted overnight waiting for my operation the following day. I just endured this - it was as if I was an object and not a human being to be treated with respect and kept informed of what was going on. It would transpire that I was offered a choice of just having my leg plastered and not eventually be able to bend my knee very much or have an operation with a better prognosis. When anyone is in such shock and traumatised they need the support of a loved one. My poor husband was left wondering what was happening to me in A&E - we were both utterly distraught. I was left in corridors at various times and also whilst waiting to see a doctor. I had several x-rays and a scan. The porters who took me for the scan pushed the bed very roughly, making it a very painful trip. The staff at the scan asked me to slide over onto the table, which I was totally incapable of doing owing to my severe fractures and when I told them I was unable to do so they appeared annoyed and crudely bundled me onto the table themselves - the pain was mind-blowing and I stuffed my hand into my mouth to prevent me from screaming the place down.

Things did not improve when I reached the ward. Staff were indifferent there too and no notice was taken when I asked for pain relief, a drink of water (despite someone taking jugs to other patients). It was not that late but I was told the kitchen was closed and there was little chance of my getting anything to eat, they would try for a sandwich. Nothing arrived - my husband went to the shop and bought me a bottle of water and something to eat from home.

Worse to come. After my operation the next day and on yet another ward - same problems. I was not offered anything to drink or eat despite repeated requests and other people on the ward being served. I must make it clear that I was fully able and allowed to eat and drink at this point. I eventually pressed a male nurse telling him of my plight and I finally did get something. No-one came to see me and tell me what was going to happen to me. Finally I spotted a senior nurse and called to her in a loud voice to ask her what was happening. Apparently I was in a queue of 30+ people waiting to see a physio who was going to get me mobile hopping on a frame and then I would be discharged. I waited and waited for hours. Next time I spotted the same nurse I asked her to telephone my husband to come and collect me and I would sign a disclaimer and discharge myself. I knew it would be better for me to get home and contact my wonderful GP, who would actually listen to me, to attend to matters on my behalf Miraculously, a short time afterwards a physio appeared and I was finally discharged.

The only person who should me amy respect or kindness was a very young lady who was cleaning the floor. I asked her if she would kindly pass me two things from the high bedside table I could not reach and she was only too pleased to help.

After my horrendous experience I pray I will never have to go there again - I just could not.

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