Yesterday afternoon, at around 16:10 I took myself to Accident and Emergency. Over 6 hours later, I got home at 22:51.
I arrived at the hospital with a sample of urine and the knowledge, after taking a home test, that it was very likely I had a kidney infection. I have been advised by specialists that, due to my medical history, renal infections could cause serious damage to my bladder and/or kidneys and in the past, this has been respected by the hospital staff and I have been hooked up to IV antibiotics within an hour of arriving… Yesterday it took over five hours for me to be given IV antibiotics. The doctor treating me was wonderful and was shocked when she found out how long, after receiving my urine test results back from pathology, I had been forced to wait to be given my antibiotics. Other than that, my personal experience wasn’t that bad, but what I witnessed was.
Not long after arriving I heard that one of the toilet lightbulbs wasn’t working, which wasn’t too much of a big deal. It became an issue when the only other toilet available to the people waiting in the A&E waiting room was flooded. The staff at the desk were informed of the issues but nothing was done, at least not during my time there. The problem became even worse when an elderly, partially blind woman in the waiting room needed the toilet; a nurse was asked to come and assist this woman in going to the toilet and after being asked for a second time, one eventually did. But, all she did was take the lady to the toilet and then left her there. Someone else in the waiting room assisted her in getting back to her wheelchair after she had finished in the toilet.
Whilst sat in the waiting room I witnessed people being made to stand whilst they waited because there weren’t enough seats, I saw a man being taken outside and patted down by the police in front of a window so what was happening was on full display for all 65+ people in the waiting room to watch. A patient who was there due to an on-going heart condition was made to wait far too long before they were seen. There were people with broken bones being treated before me, despite getting there after me – one of my kidneys could have been failing again, what happened to priorities?
When I was eventually taken through to be given my antibiotics I saw some things that truly broke my heart. There was one patient who had arrived a couple of hours later than me, and whilst having my treatment I found out they had kidney stones; which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is incredibly painful. This patient was left to sit in a chair as there weren’t any beds available and being sat up when your kidneys are hurting is more painful than most people will realise. They should have been lying down, but the hospital just didn’t have the beds.
Another patient was there after trying to take their life – how do I know this? I know this because one nurse said it loud enough for the whole of the ward to hear. This patient then had their bloods taken and became very faint; it took them far too long to find an oxygen mask for this patient… I remember the days when there was one for every cubicle in A&E.
When I was given some paracetamol, I was told there weren’t any pill pots left so I was given them in the sealed sheet they come in, despite not being able to use my right hand because it had my IV line going into it – the person with me had to get the pills out of the packet so I was able to take them… the nurse didn’t stick around long enough to do it for me. I also had to share an IV stand with the patient in the cubicle next to me; this meant I couldn’t see how much was left in my IV bag or go to the toilet.
At one point during my visit I was told I would probably have to stay in hospital overnight to have more IV antibiotics, instead I was sent home with tablet antibiotics – I truly believe that I was only sent home because they did not have a bed for me. It is very possible I will end up going back to hospital later this week. When I did leave, I discovered people were now sat on the FLOOR waiting to be seen by someone. That poor, elderly, blind woman was still sat waiting, on her own.
Writing this, I still can’t believe what I witnessed. I’m not writing this to insult the people working last night, I’m writing it because our NHS is stretched more than I realised – and that’s being said by someone who frequents NHS services incredibly often. This needs fixing, and it isn’t going to happen under our current government. Please register to vote, it is so important that we get out on June 8th and save our NHS’s future.
Please note that this was written on Tuesday 9th May 2017, despite not being posted until Wednesday 31st May 2017.