"Complete incompetent staff"

About: Tewkesbury Hospital

I took my mother (aged 82), here on holiday from Italy for half term week, in this unit on October 30, 2013, after she was falling over on a nearby playground. She hit her left arm at the height of her shoulder and would complain, apart from the pain, about feeling the arm "wobbly", i.e. not connected with the shoulder. They two x-rays, one of which was completely useless. The other one showed the displacement of the arm (I could see it myself, despite not being a doctor), but the nurse would describe it as "closed fracture", "minor displacement". The only thing they did was to put a loose sling around her neck to hold the arm. The arm was loose, not tightened around the chest. As a consequence, not only her arm got completely black and swollen, but when she flew back to Rome after 3 days, the orthopedic surgeon, who took another X-ray and a CT-scan saw that the arm was completely displaced, the bone had cut the veins, having caused dangerous internal bleeding that after only few days could have led to an amputation. N.B. the staff knew that I lived in Birmingham and thus they could have easily instructed me to take her to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital straight away, instead of saying that she was perfectly fit for flying etc. My mother was operated in Rome 6 days after the accident occurred, with a serious operation to re-attach the arm to the shoulder. She is now finishing a very painful physiotherapy, but was at least able to keep her arm. This all would not have happened if a) the x-rays had been shown to a doctor, b) her complaints about the "wobbly" arm would have been taken seriously, c) the nurse would have tightened the arm properly to the chest in order to avoid any movement of the loose bone. We are seriously thinking about making a formal complaint. I have visited many countries in my life, and lived in three, incl. the UK. I have never experienced such an incompetence of the staff as I did in this case, although it happened several times with NHS doctors.

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Response from Tewkesbury Hospital

Many thanks for taking the time to share this feedback. First of all I apologise for the delay in replying to you: NHS Choices has only recently resolved technical issues so that we can respond directly through their website. We are sorry to hear your concerns, and would like to talk to you to find out more about your mother's experience. Would you be happy to get in touch with our Service Experience team so we can investigate this further? We have searched in detail through our records for Tewkesbury minor injuries unit during October and have not been able to identify your mother's visit, based on the details above, so we would really welcome you getting in touch with us so that we can investigate thoroughly. You can contact the team on 0300 421 8313 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday or email: yourexperience@glos-care.nhs.uk. Thank you again for sharing your feedback. Best wishes The team at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust Thank you again for sharing your feedback. Best wishes The team at Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust

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