"My recent hospital stay"

About: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Emergency Medicine Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / General Internal Medicine Scottish Ambulance Service / Emergency Ambulance

(as the patient),

After approx 2 weeks of progressively worsening back pain, the likes of which I have never experienced before, I found myself unable to stand up - the pain was excruciating. I called my GP surgery. A few hours later, a trainee paramedic arrived who could not prescribe but said they'd pass my symptoms on to the GP. My husband collected a prescription at about teatime. During this time, I felt increasingly anxious and, retrospectively,  I perhaps should have called an ambulance, but it's not something I'd usually do unless I thought the situation was life -threatening. The pills prescribed didn't help and the pain worsened to an unbearable level. My husband phoned NHS 24 but the line was constantly busy - he phoned an ambulance. The two female paramedics who attended were fantastic- got me into the ambulance and administered morphine. 

On arriving at ARI A&E I was assessed by a particular member of staff. I understand they and the rest of the team have a tough job to do, but they didn't seem to grasp my situation and had it not been for the insistence of my son and husband, I doubt whether I would have been admitted. 

I spent the night in ward 104 where I was well cared for and given meds to control the awful pain. The next day, I was again given liquid morphine and diazepam which certainly helped. The physio deemed me fit to go home, but of course, looking back, the strong pain relief had allowed me to pass the assessment. 

On returning home, I had a restless, painful night despite taking the meds prescribed, but the next day was determined to do my exercises as advised. Again, I experienced severe pain and passed out. My husband called for an ambulance.

On arrival I was again assessed by the same member of staff who made me feel I wasn't doing enough to help myself! I really felt they didn't appreciate the amount of pain I was suffering and again  had it not been for the insistance  of my family members, I'm sure I would have been sent home with the box of cocodamol pills they produced. None of us were impressed with this almost oppressive approach. I felt strong pressure to agreeing to go home. 

I was admitted to ward 105 after physio assessment - Susan was thorough, and tough but she could see that by this time I could hardly walk. 

I cannot express deeply enough my gratitude to all the staff who attended me in ward 105 - they are true superheroes. A weight was truly lifted when I entered the ward. They were exceptionally thorough in their assessment and treatment of my pain and because I again blacked out in hospital were able to investigate why this was happening.

I am now home, having been discharged after a 4 day stay, in the hope I never have to return! But I will always be grateful to those who took the time, effort and patience to get to the bottom of my condition. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 


Response from Julie Wattie, Nurse Manager, Medicine 1 (Medicine and Unscheduled Care Division), NHS Grampian

Dear KSC,

My name is Julie Wattie and I am the Nurse Manager for Unscheduled Care which covers the Emergency Department. I am sorry to hear about your experience during your assessment in the Department. If you would like to contact me regarding your concerns my email address is julie.wattie@nhs.net or by phone on 01224 552763



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Response from Euan Esslemont, Head of Service - North Division, Scottish Ambulance Service

Dear KSC,

Thank you for taking the time to feedback on your experience during your recent occurrence of back pain which resulted in you calling for the ambulance service.

I can tell from your testament, how much pain you were experiencing at the time.

I am pleased to read that you found the attending ambulance crew on your first visit to hospital helpful in assisting you to the ambulance and administered medication to relieve the pain.

I do hope you have had some respite from the pain and the cause identified so address going forward.

I would like to ensure that your feedback is passed onto the crew, and to allow us to do so, I would appreciate if you could call our admin team on 01224 812200 and pass on further details on when the crew attended, where etc so we can identify the incident on our system and the crew who attended?

Thank you again for taking the time to get in touch.

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Response from Fiona Robertson, Chief Nurse, Medicine and Unscheduled Care Division, NHS Grampian


Many thanks for taking the time to feedback your recent experience.

I appreciate that Julie, one of my colleagues has responded in regards to your experience in the Emergency Department and hopefully you will feel able to get in touch with her directly.

I am delighted to read of the positive feedback regarding your care whilst in ward 105. The team will be so pleased to have such great feedback and to know that the care they delivered made such a difference to you. The compliments that you expressed in regards to the ward 104 team will also be shared and again pleased that this area were able to manage your pain effectively and provide the care that you required.

I hope things are continuing to improve now that you are home.

With kind regards

Fiona Robertson

Chief Nurse

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