"Ignored, confused, upset - devastated"

About: University College Hospital

What I liked

Nothing

What could be improved

After collapsing unconscious and a massive seizure, I was taken by ambulance to uch A and E department (majors) and overheard the paramedics tell the staff I had 'tachycardia' amongst other things but, from the second I arrived in A and E my care stopped. Not a single member of staff came to see me or spoke to me (not even when I first came in through the door) and I was left completely unattended in a corridor. At no time during the two hours did anyone check my vital signs, put me on a cardiac monitor or do a 12 lead ecg. Not even my bp. It was as if I was invisible. I was confused in a hospital, but alone - nobody looking after me, isolated in a corridor.

After not being seen by a doctor or a nurse for 2 hours or so, I tried to attract the attention of a member of staff as I was beginning to wonder how I was going to get home safely and I could not afford a taxi. A member of staff, a nurse (did not introduce himself) came over momentarily, but did not help solve or reassure my worries about getting home safely (I had a phone with me but I was confused and postictal, so I needed someone to say 'is there anyone we can call for you' but he did not do this) instead he told me there were no hospital taxis, and brought a self-discharge form to me and told me to sign it and asked if I had a GP (I was not registered with a GP, but said I'd find one) and he still did not check any vital signs before I left for home, alone, on the tube.

Anything else?

My legs felt strange and weak as I made my way home in a confused daze. When I arrived home, I saw in the mirror my tongue was black from burst blood vessels. It was very obvious and the nurse should surely have seen this in what was a well lit area. I was brought into A and E majors by ambulance and the staff had been told by paramedics of a possible cardiac arrhythmia, yet nobody spoke to me or checked me while I was there for 2 hours. The only contact was with the nurse who asked me to sign the self-discharge form, so I would not miss the last tube. I felt literally abandoned. Think I might have been better off in minors and triage. I realise staff were busy, but it only takes a few minutes for someone to say hello and check me or put me on a heart monitor with the alarms set.

I have since been diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia and another serious medical condition. We have no way of knowing if I was having supraventricular tachycardia at the time of my seizure because no member of hospital staff did my vital signs or put me on a heart monitor. I should not have been made to sign a 'self-discharge against medical advice form' because I was never given any medical advice whatsoever in the first place. I did not go home 'against medical advice' when no doctor had even seen me or provided any such medical advice. It is now more difficult for my consultants to make differential diagnosis after I was not seen by a doctor in A and E, despite arriving there by ambulance. Thankfully my neuro consultant *in another hospital* is excellent.

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Responses

Response from University College Hospital

I am very sorry to read that you did not have a positive experience of our emergency department and would encourage you to provide us with your details and further information so we can fully investigate the issues you have raised. We take all complaints seriously and use feedback and learning from these to improve our services. If you would like to discuss this with our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) please do not hesitate to contact them on 020 3447 9975 or pals@uclh.nhs.uk.

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