"misdiagnosed elbow infection"

About: Queen's Medical Centre

my partner went to the A&E dept. a week ago, with a swollen elbow, as he does kickboxing and thought he'd done something. 5 hours later he was told hes damaged the cartage and need to rest, ice pack and ect. 5 days pasts, no better, he had to make an emergency appointment with his gp as the pain got worse. after wait just 2 minutes (very good) and a quick heart rate test and examination he was told it was an infection that had been growing for weeks. the gp put him on the strongest antibiotics you can get. im angry that a A&E doctor missed this and a GP (god bless him) got it bang on with in minutes of looking at it. :(

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Response from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

We are sorry to hear that you feel your partner was misdiagnosed when he was seen in the Emergency Department (ED).

We would be happy to discuss any complaint he has in more detail personally with him; he can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) by email at PALS@nuh.nhs.uk or by telephone to 0800 183 0204.

As a point of general advice to all patients we would explain that most patients attending the ED (with the exception of those with serious illness or injury, or those arriving by ambulance or in need of resuscitation) are first seen not by a doctor but by a senior nurse, or Emergency Nurse Practitioner, who assesses that patient to ensure they are directed to the appropriate area of the ED, or (if needed) to another part of the hospital.

If the patient has symptoms or injuries which do not need emergency medicine or hospital treatment (such as a swollen joint), it may be that they will be advised at that point to return home, take some appropriate steps to alleviate those symptoms (such as ice to reduce swelling), and make an appointment with their GP if symptoms persist.

This can cause some patients to feel as if the assessment has “missed” the cause of their illness, however that first assessment in ED is not a formal diagnosis and is only for the purposes of identifying if emergency treatment or admission for further investigation is required.

We would always advise patients to seek the advice of their GP if symptoms continue, even if they have been assessed in ED as not requiring emergency treatment.

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