"Compassion is sometimes lacking"
About: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France / Accident & Emergency Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France Accident & Emergency EH16 4SA Scottish Ambulance Service Scottish Ambulance Service EH12 9EB
Posted by UnicornsAreReal (as ),
I became unwell while out in public, a passer-by stopped to assist me and took the decision to dial 999 for an ambulance. The passer-by told the 999 call taker the information on my medic alert bracelet and also pointed it out to the ambulance crew. This was ignored by the ambulance crew who said it was "irrelevant" and assessed me as having a panic attack. During my time in their alleged care I was treated with only the very basic of courtesy and it was only on my request that a blood sugar reading was taken. As I was feeling very unwell I did not feel able to tell them again about my bracelet.
Upon arrival at A+E it was reported that I was just having a panic attack and all observations were normal. I was then told to sit in a small waiting area to be triaged. When the nurse came to triage me I was talked to with disdain and was asked the circumstance of my being in A+E. I did my best to explain about being unwell and a passer-by calling 999 on my behalf. The nurse stated that I was obviously just anxious and I was asked "what made you think this is an emergency". I attempted to explain the situation again but I was dismissed to wait for a Dr.
After a short wait the Dr came to talk with me. It was only at this point that I feel I was listened to. The Dr arranged for some tests to be done and genuinely was very compassionate. The Dr had obviously been able to access my hospital records and was well aware of the information held on my medic alert bracelet. When the same nurse came to carry out some of the tests I was happened to ask what I do. I replied, honestly, that I am currently awaiting treatment for a brain tumour - information that the ambulance crew would have had if they had taken notice of my bracelet.
From that moment, the attitude of the nurse changed dramatically. On discharge and recalling the nurse's question to me about why I thought my situation that day was an emergency I stopped and apologised for having wasted both the nurse's and the Dr's time. I really will never forget the response which was "oh, it's fine, I didn't realise you actually had something wrong with you".
It would seem that being prejudged by the ambulance crew led to hostility from A+E staff which was only resolved when the Dr was able to access my clinical information. I feel this is a disgusting way to approach patients and also highly judgemental. Thankfully on this occasion no harm was caused. My consultants have told me that should I feel uncharacteristically unwell I ought to dial 999. I will absolutely hesitate to do so after this experience. Feeling unwell and being treated like this is remarkably upsetting never mind having to cope with the pain and treatment that comes with a brain tumour.