"Baffling and irritating."
About: Manchester Royal Infirmary Manchester Royal Infirmary Manchester M13 9WL
Posted by Jonathan Bagley
What I liked
I was advised to attend A and E by a nurse at the NHS drop in centre in Mcr city centre. I had infected elbow bursitis. Got there at 9 am. I have no complaints about the nurse who took my blood sample, the junior doctor who examined me or the radiologist who x-rayed me. After about 5 and a half hours, two of which spent sitting in a chair at the entrance to a surgical ward, I got to see a senior doctor. By this time I was hungry, thirsty, tired, bored witless, dying for a smoke and just wanting to get out of the place. There was something worrying me about it. I didn't feel very safe - maybe because I hadn't been told what was going on. This was when things took a turn for the worse...
What could be improved
The time it all took. The usual opening the curtains too quickly. Doesn't bother me but old ladies would be distressed. To be fair, the nurse did apologise. When the senior doctor examined me, he told me I would need intravenous antibiotics and then have the abcess drained. He then dropped the bombshell that I would need to stay in the hospital for two days. I queried this but he insisted that was the only way. I had only my briefcase with me, but he said I couldn't come back the next day.This sent a blast of andrenaline through me and I got that clarity of thought you get only when faced with the necessity of making an important decision in the face of serious danger. There was no way I was going to spend the rest of the day and even one night sitting on a bed with no books, radio, TV, alcohol or cigarettes, surrounded by genuinely ill people, some probbly in states of mental distress, so I called his bluff, said I wasn't staying. He gave me two minutes to think about it. When he came back I confirmed I was leaving. He told the nurse to remove the cannula and prescribed me the strongest oral antibiotics, saying they wouldn't work. There followed a bit of a hoo hah (the doc, not me) with a nurse about when I could pick them up. I was told to ring up at 5pm. As he wasn't pinning me down, I thought I'd got away with it, but, just before I left, he said, "Mr Bagley, I guarantee you will be back - if not here: at some other hospital," which did worry me a litte. I left and called back at 5; no drugs. Called at 6pm - same. Got pills the next morning, Swelling had spread to my hand, but it quickly went down. After a week there was just a small swelling on my elbow. I registered with a GP where I live and she prescribed me another week of the same and said I would be OK, which I have been.
The drop in centre above the Chemist had previously been staffed by at least one dcotor. If this had still been the case, my visit to the hospital could possibly have been avoided.
I'm not questioning the doctor's judgement. I'm sure they don't use up beds for two days without good reason. I am, though, baffled by the whole experience. Who would walk into a hospital with only a briefcase and after 6 hours of waiting around, agree to stay for another two days?
I looked up intravenous antibiotics and it appears that generally, patients are allowed home with a cannula and return at a prescribed time during the day to have the drugs administered. A work colleague told me his girl friend had walked around for weeks with a cannula in her hand. She had been told by her doctor that hospitals don't like allowing it because addicts use them to inject. Maybe, due to its location, this is a policy of the hospital.
When I got the discharge note the next morning, I noticed that a box labelled "smoking cessation advice" had been ticked. The staff knew I smoked, because I had (mistakenly as it turned out) got the impression I couldn't have gone outside for for a smoke at any time during the day. I had at no time had a conversation about tobacco and had received no advice. Having some familiarity with the world of "Tobacco Control," I am assuming that the hospital receives a sum of money each time it advises a patient, so I guess that's not all bad.