"Felt there was a lack of attention by staff in A&E"

About: Cheltenham General Hospital / Accident and emergency Cheltenham General Hospital / General surgery

(as a relative),

I received a call saying that my mother was in A&E after having a fit at her home. My father had called an ambulance, but was in shock and at home.

I travelled in and met up with my sister and father. On arrival my mother was on her own in a typical A&E cubical. She was weak. She started to throw up thick green bile. Only because we were there were we able to deal with the situation otherwise she might have been covered in her own vomit.

My mother was concious and communicating. The decision was made to have her head x-rayed to see if there was pressure on her brain. She was suffering from colon cancer and acute liver cancer, and the fear was it had spread.

Whilst waiting in the corridor of the x-ray dept I noticed the drip that had been put in had come out and the saline was pouring out onto her - I don't recall if it was re-attached. Not long after whilst waiting on the trolley she had a second fit - again we were the only people there to help deal with it and call for assistance. If we hadn't been there then she would have been all alone.

I'm not saying the outcome would have been any different, but I just don't accept that she didn't deserve a nurse to attend her in this most difficult of times. Yes it was a very busy evening, but we feel that having such an apparently low level of staff as to warrant leaving critically ill people unattended around the hospital is unacceptable. As it is we have all been traumatised by the sequence of events that unfolded. We have been left with the nagging doubts in our mind - would the saline drip had made a difference, could anything different have been done if she had been under the observation of trained staff?

She went in poorly, but not at deaths door, and never made it out - one thing led to another and she suffered terminal brain damage, so bad we had to eventually switch the life support machine off. 2 weeks prior she had been travelling the Middle East.

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