"Who to believe at A&E?"

About: University Hospital (Coventry) / Accident and emergency West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

Having recently moved back to Coventry, I have had the misfortune of having to attend A&E on two separate occasions. The first time was the day after I had made my move back to Coventry. My wife felt the need to call an ambulance as I was suffering with chronic chest pains and unable to breathe properly. O.K, fully understandable and full praise to the Paramedics who treated me. Walsgrave A & E then had their go and I cam away not knowing why I was suffering so much and what I could do to help. Had no GP to fall back on, as it was difficult finding one nearby.

My second visit occurred this morning, when, after 4 days of no sleep and near to exhaustion, I was forced to concede that my problem needed to be sorted out. I have an extremely large cyst on the back of my skull, which prevents me from lying down on my right side. This you might think, is no big deal, but having broken my back in 2 places in a car accident some years earlier (1st AND 2nd lumber) and also several fractures to my neck and damage also to my Axillis, waiting around in an A & E department would not be my choice. Anyway, the triage nurse saw me, an hour and a half after arriving, she informed me that there had been a shooting and the A & E was very busy. However, she did say that as it was a minor operation I needed, I would be seen relatively quickly and would be treated that night. O.K, relief at last I thought and waited another 3 hours to be seen again by anyone. Fully aware of the department’s problems and how busy they were. I was happy to wait my turn. When I was called in to see the nurse again, having waited another 3 hours and by now, in considerable pain myself, I was told by another nurse that my need wasn't an A&E problem and that it was unlikely I would receive treatment at all. The male nurse who spoke to me was nothing short of rude and clearly unable himself to handle his night’s pressures. So, took it out on me. During my wait, I watched drunk after drunk being treated for the most minor of things, like scratched fingers, bumps and bruises, but all in all, nothing life threatening and something in most cases that could have been dealt with at home with a sticking plaster! This left me completely flabbergasted and very angry. I had just spent £40 on taxis to receive treatment in a hospital because I had no GP support, to be turned away after many hours wait and in much worse health that when I left home in the first place.

Still untreated, I find myself in the unenviable position of no sleep, increasing pain throughout my spinal column, a cyst which is very big indeed and Xmas at home feeling violently unwell. I also have an eye condition which is making me go blind and venturing out at night is a living nightmare for me (I have suffered with night blindness due to R.P since I was in my mid teens) and leave me feeling very isolated. Combined with Manic Bi-Polar depression, Christmas could have been at least bearable under the circumstances. All in all, I have to say, my recent return to Coventry has been nothing short of an experience to say the least. Can’t find a doctor close by who isn’t rude, and can’t use the A&E as a means of getting medical treatment. Thought the NHS was for everyone? Rarely do I, or have I resorted to using accident and emergency departments unless I felt my health was going to suffer without obtaining treatment from some source or other and in this case... No source at all is apparently my only choice right now.

Well, here I sit at home, another completely sleepless night and now, in extreme discomfort because of my spinal problems!

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