"Poor pain relief in A&E"

About: Worthing Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

I took my husband to Worthing hospital A & E after he twisted his knee.

Triaged, and told we'd be seen in "under an hour". 3 hours later his pain was so bad he was sitting in the lobby, groaning and holding his knee, unable to move or walk. Despite asking, we were not seen until it was "his turn", despite his condition visibly worsening since he arrived.

I asked for a wheelchair to get him into minors, and the Doctor who called us told me "ask the secretaries". I found a wheelchair myself, wheeled my husband into a very small room, only for the Doctor to comment that jeans were not "a good choice of trousers" - I pointed out that his knee had trebled in size since we had got there, and I struggled to get them off whilst the Doctor watched with folded arms.

A quick assessment and x-ray, my husband was left in a corridor a few feet away from the nurses station, rocking and groaning loudly in pain, and also feeling very sick from the pain. At one point he was in tears; very undignified, especially as there were clearly rooms available.

I had to ask for pain relief, and they brought two paracetamol and an ibuprofen- they may as well have given him smarties! The Doctor then wrote up some morphine, but again I had to ask for it rather than it being offered, and then they tried to give him more paracetamol too (I. e. two doses in half an hour) - due to a drug chart error. Luckily we were able to point this out before he took them.

Thank goodness a nurse finally saw how much pain my husband was in and gave him the morphine and within 5 minutes took him round to the Clinical Decision Unit so he could rest his knee on a bed. Staff in this Unit soon had him medicated appropriately and the pain under control.

So, A & E - pain was not controlled, no dignity, in fact we were not even noticed. How much pain does someone need to be in to have someone say "can I help"?

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