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"Judgemental lack of care"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency East Surrey Hospital / General surgery

(as a service user),

I attended A&E In severe pain. It was really busy and pressurised. They refused to let me lie on a trolley prioritising other people over me. I was given paracetamol for pain which didnt help and the pain got worse. I was sent for xrays and scans while in the most severe pain I have ever had, I found it to be inhumane and degrading, as I was in view of many other people while I was writhing around in severe pain, and the movements and positions I was put into for these tests was excruciating.

I was left sat on hard chairs in severe pain, I felt that others were being treated differently to me. I was ignored by ALL members of staff who saw me in the minors area, including a senior staff member who kept passing by me. I heard a nurse say I was making a fuss and laughing and joking. To me it wasn't funny and I was in severe distress. It was another patient who could see what I was going through who shouted out to the nurses to help me, I then had to shout out for help quite a few times before a staff member who I found to be very aggressive and uncaring came to me. It was a very small area and they came to me as if it was a surprise that I needed something. All staff working in that area would surely have been able to hear my groans as I was in pain with every breath, and my distress, but none responded. I was offered an oral painkiller which I was not happy to take being so nauseous and knowing that I had extreme symptoms, it wasn't safe to take oral medications. I was then not given anything else.
They continued to refuse to give me somewhere to lie down so I eventually had no choice, but to get myself on their trolley where they did ECG's, when a staff member told me I would have to move for some one else. (I had had an ECG sat on a chair.) They then came to me and made a comment that now I had the trolley to lie on my pain had gone, I felt they were suggesting that that's what I was after, as if I was being manipulative.

The pain wasn't being triggered as much by the upright unsupported poition that the trolley gave me, but the pain definitely hadn't gone and remained severe. But at least I knew that I wouldn't have to lie on the floor just to try and get some relief from the pain.

The next pain relief was oral morphine approx 5 hours after arriving in that place in SEVERE pain. I was made to feel ashamed asking for drugs. I think they didn't offer it to me as they would have had to let me lie down which they didn't seem to want to do. If I hadn't got on that trolley myself, I would never had been given somewhere to lie down before being admitted to the surgical ward many hours later.

I didn't have one kind caring or compassionate word from the staff while I was there, and was so distressed and in so much pain it was cruel and undignified. One nurse in particular has a bad attitude towards me but then I could hear the same staff member laughing and joking with other patients and colleagues.

I was desperate to pass urine and kept asking for help. If I moved myself the pain was so severe that I really needed some help. They stood by the trolley andwere just so unhelpful and judgemental, it made me feel like I was asking them to do something disgusting for me. They didn't really help me as it was too painful to move myself and use a bedpan, and I had to go to the ward with a really full bladder and quite distressed with it as it was making the pain under my diaphragm that was radiating to my chest and shoulders so much worse. 

I understand the pressure they are under, but I found this to be undignified and a complete lack of nursing care especially from the one nurse who had a particularly poor manner and attitude. The Doctors were great, even though they were under pressure as were the radiographers. The ward staff were an absolute delight and it was the biggest relief ever to have someone offer me, and give me, appropriate pain relief when I needed it, and treat me in a kind and compassionate manner having been through a nightmarish experience in A&E.

Such important areas of care that are so lacking with staff members who are allowed to behave in this outrageous manner towards patients, causing a horrendous and distressing experience. 
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Response from Divisional Chief Nurse for Medicine, Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust 9 months ago
We are preparing to make a change
Submitted on 18/08/2021 at 13:47
Published on Care Opinion at 15:10

I am very sorry to read about your experience in our Emergency Department, this would not be in keeping with our Trust values of treating patients with dignity and respect.

It would be helpful for you to email your concerns to so that we can address the concerns you raise and learn from your feedback.

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