"Distressing and extremely frustrating."

About: Russells Hall Hospital

What I liked

A porter came and brought a wheelchair to the car I was a passenger in as I could not walk and was being sick.

The doctor who came and took blood samples was kind and sensitive while they were taking the samples and told me that they were going to arrange some tests to check for any damage to my heart. They also quickly provided me with an anti-nausea injection to help relieve some of my symptoms.

The person who took my chest x-ray was very polite and dealt with me very quickly.

What could be improved

I gave as much detail as I could regarding the symptoms I was experiencing yet no-one at any point indicated what they thought was possibly the problem. As I'd never before experienced anything like it I was naturally scared and concerned for my health but still I did not have any indication of what the medical staff were actually checking for. After a couple of hours of providing a urine sample, blood samples and having my chest x-rayed I was moved onto some kind of observation ward where I had more blood taken and was asked to give another urine sample in a bowl. I had to stagger to the toilet this time as no-one seemed to notice the fact I was struggling. When I opened the toilet door with the bowl containing my sample a staff member behind the desk told me to leave it on the floor and they would see to it. Five minutes later a nurse came and asked me to provide a urine sample which I replied I had just done and the person at the desk was sorting it out. They left and came back a few minutes later and said I would need to provide another! They did not explain what had happened to the one I provided and when I stated I had been in the hospital for a number of hours and had not been given a single glass of water. I said I could not provide as I had already given two samples in the time I had been there, one when I initially arrived to confirm I was not pregnant and the second which no one seemed to know what had happened to. After being moved from the A&E dept nothing seemed to be being done to find out what was wrong with me and the ward I was moved to did nothing but loose a urine sample in the whole time I was there.

After asking several times what was going on I got no answers. I felt like I was an inconvenience and not important, I became upset and said I wanted to discharge myself as it all seemed a bit of a joke.

I signed a form and left, it was only as I was leaving that the nurse seemed to be concerned.

Anything else?

I returned the following morning hoping to encounter different staff and went through the whole process again, which was much quicker but again did not find out what was wrong with me. I was discharged with a leaflet about leading a healthy lifestyle, I was still experiencing the same symptoms as the day before and this obviously was not down to my diet!

Another 24 hours later I managed to get an emergency appointment with my GP who took around 10 minutes to inform me what I had experienced was an intense anxiety attack. Staff who people depend on failed to connect a long list of symptoms with a common problem, how is this so??

I was never properly spoken to and never had a clue what the staff at Russells Hall thought was wrong with me.

All in all it was a very distressing experience (not the best for anxiety) and all the time and tests were wasted for no result.

I would never recommend Russells Hall based on this experience and find it sad that the staff I encountered have tarred their colleagues who probably take far more care in their work with the same brush.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Russells Hall Hospital

Thank you for taking the trouble to comment on your experience of our hospital. We welcome all feedback and would like to assure you that all comments are taken seriously and acted upon as part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient experience.

We do aim to offer our patients the highest standards of care and we are very sorry if we have fallen short of those standards on this occasion.

Accident and Emergency (A&E), Emergency Assessment Unit (EAU) and Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU) are extremely busy areas. We aim to see patients in A&E within four hours; however, patients can expect to be in EAU for longer dependent on individual clinical assessment until they are stabilised and discharged or admitted to a ward.

Patients with major injuries are triaged and early investigations happen, where appropriate, in order of priority i.e. the sickest patients will be seen first.

As part of our ongoing commitment to improving patient care, your concerns have been raised with the matron looking after Accident and Emergency and the Emergency Assessment Unit and will address these with the staff.

It is difficult to comment on your specific case without your details and reviewing your medical notes, but if you wished to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on free phone 0800 073 0510 we would happily look into the issues you have raised.

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