My wife and I were playing hockey and she was hit by the ball in the eye socket. While we were able to administer basic first aid and bandage her up, it was clear that stitches would be required and that there was a risk of concussion and/or head trauma, so, mentally prepared for a few hours of waiting, we went to A&E at Queen's Medical Centre.
What happened thereafter was the most incredibly poor and inefficient care that I could ever imagine.
My wife was registered at approximately 20:15 on Friday. The waiting room was relatively busy, but not full by any means.
Nevertheless, I was told by one of the 3 receptionists that I would not be allowed to stay with her. This concerned me, as we still had question marks over head trauma and I didn't want to leave her alone, especially as it was very obvious that no staff member was checking the wellbeing of any patient in the waiting room. However, as I was asked repeatedly to abandon her, I did eventually move to the corridor.
Initial triage took place at about 21:10. My wife's bandage was not removed and the wound was not checked for debris, infection or anything like that. Only heart rate and blood pressure checks were done and then she was sent back out into the waiting room.
Shortly after this, I went back to the car to fetch her bag so that she could tidy some of her belongings and also get some additional clothing. I attempted to return through the main entrance, but the bouncers on the door stopped me. I explained I was just delivering a bag, but this was meant with hostility and resistance. My wife had to get up and come to the door to take the bag from me herself.
The screen in the waiting area said that the wait time for injuries was 2 hours. Therefore, once it got to 10:15 we were expecting something, but the wait got longer and longer with nothing. Once it got to about midnight, we asked where she was in the queue and were told she was 5th in line. We asked again at approximately 1:15 and she was next in line, and then heard about a dozen names called, but not hers. I asked on her behalf at about 2:45 to say we'd been there over 6 hours and that we'd been told she was next and yet lots of names had been called in advance, at which point it was explained that "next" refers to the injury list and so it was still an indefinite delay because there was no way of knowing how fast that line was moving.
It took until 3:45 AM, some 7½ hours after checking in, for my wife to be seen by the doctor. We'd hoped she'd be assessed, stitched up and sent on her way, but we were barely half way through our ordeal at this point.
The doctor assessed the head injury situation but decided that the maxillofacial department should stitch the wound because it was below the eyebrow, but in order to enter that department a COVID test was necessary. We were told this would take 20 minutes and were sent back out to wait.
An hour later, we had heard nothing and not been called. The only person we could get information out of just said that it was never going to be 20 minutes, and that an hour was more likely. Eventually, we were told the COVID test was negative at approximately 6:30 AM, some 2½ hours after it was taken.
At this point we were expecting a prompt call to the ward for the maxillofacial specialist to take a look. However, it wasn't until 7:55 AM that my wife was called up. We had been waiting there until about 8:45 AM at which point I asked how long it would be because we'd been at hospital for 12½ hours. However, the staff member on duty said that this didn't matter because they were separate from A&E so it was a case of an indefinite delay while the maxillofacial team did their round of the wards, and there was nothing she could do but make us continue to wait.
At this point, the stress and lack of sleep got to me a bit, and I exclaimed "Have you any idea how distressing this is for us!?" and was promptly threatened with discharging and going back to square one. I didn't swear, nor threaten or insult the staff member, nor question professionalism. I simply let out my frustration for one brief moment, having suffered nearly 13 hours of A&E and not slept. I apologised immediately but begged the staff member to do something, as it was becoming unbearably infuriating by this point.
Shortly after, I asked the person with the food trolley for something to eat. After all, we'd had nothing to eat and had been kept up all night. I was told "no, it's for the ward" and dismissed. Thankfully, there was one staff member who asked if we were OK (first time we'd been asked in 13 hours) and kindly offered us some coffee and toast.
Eventually, the maxillofacial specialist turned up at about 11 AM and we were finally discharged, nearly 15 hours after we'd originally entered. 15 hours, just for an HIA and some stitches.
I'm also unhappy that there is absolutely no sympathy for anyone in there, and everyone along the way from the receptionists and bouncers in A&E to the ward staff at the end made me feel like I was some kind of villain for just wanting to support my wife. That said, NHS hospital staff have always been rude and dismissive of me in the past wherever I've lived in England, so I now just accept this. My main problem is with the horrendous inefficiency we experienced.
"Inefficiency when attending A&E with a hockey injury"
About: Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust - Queen's Medical Centre Campus Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust - Queen's Medical Centre Campus Nottingham NG7 2UH
Posted by ChrisM (as ),