"My confidence in Darent Valley Hospital has been..."

About: Darent Valley Hospital

What I liked

My daughter's treatment in A&E was good, despite staff being very busy. The doctor who examined her was very reassuring and quickly contacted a member of the surgical team for a second opinion.

What could be improved

Communication on the paediatric ward between nursing staff, consultants and patient.

Anything else?

My daughter was admitted to the paediatric ward with suspected appendicitis.

Blood samples were taken in A&E but these went missing in transit to Pathology, but this only came to light because I queried the results. Whilst walking to the paediatric ward we were informed by a nursing assistant that my daughter was 'nil by mouth'. When I queried this with ward staff we received mixed messages as to when the 'nil by mouth' instruction should start (one nurse said "from midnight" another said "nothing after 4.00 am"). As a consequence, my daughter went without food or drink for over 12 hours. A second batch of blood samples were taken in the early hours of the next morning so that results would be ready for the consultant when he made his mid-morning rounds. To my amazement these blood samples were mislaid too, so the consultant delayed seeing my daughter on the ward in case they could be located. They never were.

In the meantime, a 11.30 am, we were informed that an ultrasound had been booked at 12.15 pm and my daughter needed to drink 1.5 litres of water in preparation - despite there still being a 'nil by mouth' instruction in place. When I queried this I was told that my daughter was no longer 'nil by mouth'.

Following the ultrasound scan my daughter's notes went missing which caused further delays on the ward. Eventually the consultant visited my daughter at approx 1.00pm, since no blood test results were available he advised that another night's stay was necessary for observation. Within two hours of that judgement being made (and written in her notes) we were informed, by a member of the nursing team, that my daughter was to be discharged. Subsequently, she was discharged without any indication as to what had caused her initial illness.

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Response from Darent Valley Hospital

Dear Anonymous,

Please accept my apologies for your and your daughter's experience in this hospital, which clearly falls below our normal standards. The blood samples should not have been lost (indeed it is hard enough to get blood samples from children, without having to repeat them). Communication and planning regarding whether she needed to be 'nil by mouth' and subsequent investigations etc was clearly confused and contradictory.

I would certainly want to investigate what went wrong. It will be difficult for me to investigate this issues without your child's details, but I appreciate you may not wish to share them on this website. If you wish to contact me personally, please do so using the contact details below. I would be very pleased to hear from you.

Thank you for your positive comments regarding the A&E department, I will certainly pass these on.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the poor coordination and communication, and for the loss of the blood samples.

I do hope that your daughter is now recovering. I note you do not know what the 'outcome' was in terms of diagnosis etc - if you would like to arrange to see a paediatrician for a discussion regarding this, again please contact me using the contact details below.

With best wishes,

Jenny Kay

Director of Nursing

01322 4286578


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