"GP referral information seemed to be ignored"

About: University Hospital Of North Durham / General medicine

(as a carer),

Something similar to Saskia's story happened to my husband in 2011.

He kept feeling as if one side was paralysed and then could not talk. Sometimes this only happened for a couple of seconds, other times a minute or so.

He went to see the GP who thought he might have had a TIA. She rang up the hospital and a bed was arranged for him on ward 3. She sent an email with all the information.

When we arrived, there was no bed available and we had to wait in A&E for over 4 hours. Eventually a bed became free, so we went to the ward.

Nobody did any tests. I left him there overnight. The next day he rang me up to tell me his insulin was not working and he'd been moved. I tried to ring the ward to find out what was happening but could not get through, so decided to take him some fresh insulin and see what the problem was.

When I arrived, a doctor was sitting on his bed, telling him he did not see why my husband should be taking up a bed for the weekend. This was on a Friday. This doctor was asking my husband what the problem was when he could hardly talk. He had progressive cerebellar ataxia, which the doctor assumed was the problem, without taking any tests and without having looked at the GP's email.

I told the doctor that the GP thought my husband had had a TIA. This was over 48 hours after the symptoms first appeared.

The ward doctor then sent my husband for a scan. Then he had to go down for another one with contrast. The doctor then told us my husband had a "mass lesion", but he still did not see why he needed to take up a bed for the weekend. He told us he had sent details to the RVI, and we would be contacted next week.

That was when we discovered that a mass lesion was a brain tumour.

My husband was operated on within a week, but died 4 months later.

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Response from University Hospital Of North Durham

Thank you for providing feedback on your husband's admission to Ward 3 at Univeristy Hospital North Durham. Firslty, may I offer my condolences on the loss of your husband. I would also like to apologise for the delay in acknowledging your comments. We have only just been alerted to them by the NHS Choices Team. We would very much welcome the opportunity to discuss your concerns with you. If you feel this would be useful please contact the Trust’s Patient Experience Team on 0800 7835774. If you would prefer to contact us by e-mail, our address is patientexperience@cddft.nhs.uk Alternatively, you can write to us at the following address: - Patient Experience Team Darlington Memorial Hospital Hollyhurst Road Darlington County Durham DL3 6HX If you do decide to contact us, please make us aware that you have left comments on the NHS Choices website. The Trust is grateful for all feedback, positive or negative, as it means we can better understand what is important to our patients. Thank you for leaving your comments on NHS Choices. Patient Experience Team County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Tel: 0800 7835774