"Multiple visits to A&E for hand injury"

About: St Helier Hospital / Accident and emergency

(as a relative),

My husband fell and hurt his thumb. He went to A&E because it was swelling and painful and he has broken it before.

He was told it wasn't his thumb it was his wrist, so they x-rayed the wrist and said they wanted the consultant to see it to decide whether it needed a cast or not. He was strapped into a velcro splint and sent home with an appointment to see the consultant at another date.

When I saw the splint it looked like it was three sizes too small. The velco barely met in the middle to secure it. Anyway, my husband's hand became more painful, started turning a funny colour and was swelling so much the velcro splint was nearly bursting open. At the beginning of the following week it was really bad so we went back to A&E. The nurse who saw my husband said the splint was too small (no surprise there) and on looking at his x-rays asked why they hadn't x-rayed the thumb. So he was sent off for an x-ray of the thumb. That showed he might have torn the muscle so the nurse strapped up his thumb, told him not to take it off and to keep the consultant appointment.

On waking the next morning, the bandage the nurse had put on his hand had come unravelled so instead of returning to A&E my husband went to his GP surgery. They took one look and told him to go straight back to A&E as they were convinced it was broken and they didn't want to re-bandage it if it was.

So off he trotted to A&E where some time later they decided that something was broken, they weren't sure whether it was the thumb or the wrist or both and they put it in a plaster cast.

Im no doctor but wouldn't it have been much easier to have dealt with it properly on the first visit. I know it's not easy and everyone's really busy as the government's austerity drive cuts more and more services but when it takes three trips to sort out one problem I am not surprised we are in the state we are.

We need to wait until he sees the consultant to find out how exactly he has damaged his hand but it was clear from the start that he had damaged it and something more effective should have been done.

The nurses etc are all very nice and doing the best they can in difficult circumstances but....

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Response from Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust

Thank you for your feedback and we are sorry you had such a frustrating experience at our hospital. We do our utmost to provide our patients with a thorough service that makes efficient use of your and our time.

We'll relay your feedback to the teams involved. We apologise and wish your husband a speedy recovery.

Dr James Marsh

Joint Medical Director

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