"Great Surgeons, bad Nursing Care"

About: Royal Albert Edward Infirmary

What I liked

I visited this hospital on numerous occasions to visit my sister who was admitted to the orthopaedics department after a car accident. She had shattered her pelvis and broke her hip and leg socket and needed an operation to bolt her hips back together. The operation went very well and the surgeons did a great job.

What could be improved

Terrible care given by the nurses. On the surface they were very friendly and pleasant, but they were obviously either undertrained or horrifically overworked.

They didn't change her dressing every day, or even every two days. My sister has bars sticking out of her hips which are keeping her pelvis together, the dressing needs to be changed every day to prevent an infection. This is basic hygiene and would take about 10 minutes to do.

They let her go without going to the toilet for three weeks (though she had a catheter for urine). When she was moved to Preston hospital the nurses there were horrified; if there is no bowel movement for four days you give them a suppository. Leaving her for that long was potentially very dangerous; she had to have her bowels x-rayed and checked to make sure no damage had been done. Thankfully she was ok but this could have led to ruptured bowels.

When she woke with pain in the night it took over an hour in some cases for a nurse to come and see her. This was also the case with all the other ladies on the ward; one woman was left on the toilet for 40 minutes while I was visiting. Very upsetting to see as these were senior citizens who cannot move themselves without help.

Also at the end of visiting time the nurses ring a sort of school bell to instruct you to leave. I don't know who's idea this was but it was a bad one; we are not cattle, just come over and ask us to leave, it's more personal.

Anything else?

Initially we were very happy she was moving to Royal Edward hospital to have her operation (she was admitted to Blackburn Infirmary first), as we had heard great reviews and were told it was the best in the area for orthopaedics. I still remain sure the surgeon did a terrific job, but something must be done about the nursing care provided.

Either employ more nurses or train them to monitor bowel movements and increase awareness of infection. A 17 year old girl should not be left helpless and worried that she hasn't gone to the toilet for three weeks.

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››