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"A medical emergency"

About: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Emergency Medicine Aberdeen Royal Infirmary / Radiology (X-rays and Scans)

(as the patient),

In the early hours, one morning in June 2022, my son had to take me to the Accident and Emergency department of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. I had been suffering intense abdominal pain for several hours and had also been retching violently during this time. The pain was so intense I could hardly move and was collapsing on the floor. On the journey to the hospital I was retching and shouting with pain. When we arrived, my son helped me across the car park, as I was doubled over with the pain and could not walk unaided. He put me on a chair in A&E, however the pain was so intense I couldn't stay on the chair and collapsed onto the floor, where I was shouting, screaming and begging for painkillers, all the while clutching my abdominal area. Two staff members came over and told me to get up off the floor because it was dirty. I couldn't. My son had to lift me up and assist me to a bed. I explained that the pain had been going on for several hours, it was coming in waves and that I had been retching throughout. I also told them that I'd had the same pain, to a lesser degree, two or three weeks prior. All the time I was being questioned, I was shouting and begging for painkillers, as well as continuing to retch. I was given some painkillers but I vomited them back up almost immediately. I was given anti sickness medication and possibly painkillers via a line. Monitors were placed on my chest, my vital signs were monitored, bloods were taken at some point. I was also asked to provide a urine sample, all the while still being in extreme pain. Eventually the pain abated and I was released about 5 hours later, being told that I had a bladder infection. I was given antibiotic medication and told to see my doctor if I had no improvement.

During the course of the day, the pain resumed and the wave pattern seemed to be repeating itself. I was very afraid that the pain would return to the previous level and I had my daughter come to the house. I spoke to a doctor I know and they advised that I should contact them if I believe I needed to be admitted to hospital. This I did and my daughter drove me to hospital.

At some point, I had a CT scan which showed that I had an ovarian cyst that had twisted, thus cutting off it's own blood supply. I needed surgery to remove the cyst. I have phone messages indicating to me that I believed I might have been awaiting surgery on the following evening after my appointment, but that didn't happen as there were other emergencies coming in. Then I was told I was going for surgery on the morning the following day. That didn't happen either. In fact, I didn't go to theatre until night time 2 days later. I was fasted every day, then bumped. I hadn't eaten for 4 days. 

During my stay in hospital I have no real recollection of receiving regular medication. I did receive painkillers when I asked for them, however I believe I should have had a regular dose.

I began to feel very desperate, when it seemed that no-one was interested in what was happening to me. My room was at the end of a corridor so I didn't see anyone walking by. If I wanted to discuss my situation I either had to buzz or walk to the nurses' station. I really wanted to discuss my situation with someone who actually knew what was going on, because whenever I tried to point out that I was very ill, in pain and really not coping, I was told that other emergencies had to be dealt with before me. I was being met with a very dismissive attitude from the nursing staff. I was also getting extremely frustrated by this time as it seemed as if this surgery might never happen. I couldn't go on being fasted and I certainly couldn't eat the hospital food. I have reason to believe I was wrongly categorised as a 'C' instead of a 'B'. I was on my way back from the nurses' station when the theatre team arrived and literally rushed me to theatre. They were fantastic!

I was informed that my ovarian cyst had twisted twice. Apparently it seemed obvious to some people that torsion was involved. I feel that If I'd been scanned upon my arrival at A&E, time, pain and suffering might/could have been reduced......but I wasn't. I consider this to be a gross oversight on the part of all the staff concerned. I have never experienced such a level of pain. I kept telling everyone that this pain was beyond anything I'd ever known. I was screaming. I was begging for pain relief. I was retching and vomiting. I was clutching my abdominal area and telling everyone exactly where the pain was starting and where it was moving. I could pin point it exactly. I told them I'd previously had a C section and the sharp pain was at the end of that surgery. I explained this pain was acute. They could see me in extreme pain. I was sent home without any abdominal examination. The entire experience was dreadful. It was frightening. Very frightening. Made all the more so by the seemingly uninterested attitude of the nursing staff. I would not wish such an experience on anyone, ever. On the morning on my discharge we were awoken very abruptly and with some urgency, it seemed. I know this was due to a scarcity of beds however it then took a further 6 hours to actually get out of the hospital. All in all, I found this to be an horrendous experience.

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Response from Julie Wattie, Nurse Manager, Medicine 1 (Medicine and Unscheduled Care Division), NHS Grampian last week
Julie Wattie
Nurse Manager, Medicine 1 (Medicine and Unscheduled Care Division),
NHS Grampian
Submitted on 07/08/2022 at 13:55
Published on Care Opinion at 13:55

Dear TattA,

I am so sorry to read about the experience that you had. I am sure my colleague will respond soon regarding your hospital admission but if you wish to contact me so I can look in to what happened further in the Emergency Department my details are or 01224 552763.

I hope you are now feeling better and recovering well


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Update posted by TattA (the patient)

Thank you Julie for your response. Nice to know someone has taken this on board. I will reply to you directly.

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