"My hospital stay and care"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency East Surrey Hospital / Respiratory medicine

(as the patient),

I was suffering from shortness of breath so went to A&E at East Surrey hospital as it was a Saturday. I had been going through IVF treatment and one of the complications can include blood clots so this is what the doctors suspected initially.

The A&E Dr mentioned doing a chest X-ray to check for other causes such as pneumonia which I knew was very unlikely as I had no symptoms of this. Due to the fact that I had a positive pregnancy test while in A&E, the doctor said that they could understand if I was hesitant to have an X-ray due to this and they would check with the gynaecologist what they thought.

I didn't hear anything else about this and was then transferred to the acute medical ward where I was assessed again. The Dr then came to speak to me and explained that they would do a VQ Perfusion scan to check for the blood clot as it was less radiation than a CT scan. Unfortunately this has to be done on Monday so they would keep me in over the weekend.

The following day my symptoms worsened and I was feeling very dizzy and couldn't walk fast without being very short of breath. I asked the nurses if the doctors would be coming for rounds and they said not normally on a Sunday. By the evening I couldn't eat anything without getting severe indigestion and was having a lot of abdominal pain. My blood pressure was very low so the nurses called the on call Dr to examine me and they advised some IVFT and medication for gastritis.

Later on I started vomiting and the nurse said she would ask the Dr if I could have an antiemetic. A few hrs later I asked again and was told they would ask the Dr again but I still didn't get anything. During the night my blood pressure was still low so the on call Dr was paged repeatedly by the nurses as is their protocol and eventually I heard the Dr come up to the ward. There was a heated exchange with the nurses but they did not come to examine me and apparently said they didn't want me to have any antiemetics.

The next day I was feeling pretty awful and again waiting around all morning to see a Dr. I knew that with a pulmonary embolism I shouldn't be getting worse and my abdominal pain was awful. At about 10. 30 the porter came to take me for an X-ray. I asked why I was having one as my understanding was I was having the special VQ Perfusion scan as I knew an X-ray wouldn't show a blood clot. They took me to X-ray anyway and while waiting I could see signs everywhere warning about the risks of X-rays during pregnancy.

I was called in and asked the radiographer why I was having the X-ray, they said didn't know. I was very emotional and worried about the risks during pregnancy so the radiographer paged my Dr to find out what the plan was.

I was left in a corridor to wait and eventually after not getting hold of the Dr they took me back to the ward after about an hr. Consequently I had then missed the Dr doing rounds so asked the nurse to page them to ask them to come and see me and explain what was happening. Eventually the Dr came at 3pm and explained that in order to do the scan, a chest X-ray had to be dome first. He then went on to explain the relative risks of radiation in pregnancy and once I had heard this I was reassured.

I went down to X-ray in the evening and after the radiographer had taken the X-ray they said they wee going to get the consultant to have a look. I was taken back to ward and told that they had also paged the medical on call Dr to have a look.

I obviously knew they had found something on the X-ray but as usual I knew the Dr would not be coming to speak to me until the morning.

That night I couldn't sleep at all, as I was really struggling to breathe and was feeling so nauseous. The Dr was paged twice and came to see me in the early hours.

They explained that the reason I was struggling to breathe was due tot the fact I had lots of fluid around my lungs (pleural effusion) that needed draining but it was best to do it during the day. I am a VET and if an animal presented to me at 7pm at night with a pleural effusion we would deem that an emergency and it would be having it's chest drained within 20 minutes of admission.

I was very concerned about this but also relived to know that there was a reason I felt so bad and hopefully I would improve soon once they drained my chest.

Anyway I didn't have my chest drain inserted until late afternoon the next day and after looking at my chest CT scan done just before the drain was put in compared to my X-ray the night before there was quite a degree of deterioration with such a large amount of pleural effusion, one of my lungs was collapsed and everything was being pushed over to the other side.

I gradually starting improving but ended up staying in 3 weeks as the fluid kept being produced.

The rest of my stay was ok but I would see a different Dr everyday and felt that there was no communication between them so they often had different opinions on my treatment which I think ended up prolonging my stay longer than I hoped.

I will be making a formal complaint but thought I would post here as well.

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