"Why is this so difficult?"

About: William Harvey Hospital / Accident and emergency William Harvey Hospital / Paediatrics

(as a parent/guardian),

My 16 year old son experienced recurrent abdominal pain and after consultation with his GP was referred in early evening to A&E with possible appendicitis.

He was referred to the Padua paediatric ward where he was seen within an hour by a surgical registrar who asked for blood, urine and ultrasound tests. The blood and urine tests went immediately but by 9pm no ultrasound. As the assessment unit closed then he was admitted for observation.

Surgical rounds came at noon still with no ultrasound and doctors had no idea why not.

A check with ultrasound indicated no appointment had been made. They could not do it that day so he stayed in again still feeling unwell. By this time as he had faced possible surgery he had not eaten for 40 hours and only sipped some water.

As no ultrasound was imminent he was given a sandwich and was promptly unwell again.

Still no ultrasound by the third morning and only after forceful prompting by the noon surgical round by me was an appointment made.

By now it was over 50 hours with only half a sandwich eaten and minimal water that the scan was arranged and he was seen at lunchtime.

Only with constant prompting by me did someone from the surgical team finally review him and by 5pm with nothing abnormal found he was discharged with instructions to return if he deteriorated.

So conclusions:

He was seen and assessed really quickly 10/10

Nursing and care excellent 8/10 only complaint was it took so much prompting by me to get anything done.

Communication 1/10. No care groups appeared to talk to each other, tell the nurses anything and with only one surgical round a day, he spent two unnecessary days in hospital, at cost to the NHS, emotional and financial cost to his parents and severe frustration at getting things done and finding out what was being done.

We still do not know what caused the illness but fortunately he has recovered well.

However it was an unnecessarily tiring, frustrating and emotionally draining time for all three of us. If a simple test had been done straightaway when ordered it could have been a potentially excellent piece of care, ruled out appendicitis and cleared a bed for another patient.

Why is this so difficult?

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Response from Julie Pearce, Chief Nurse + Director of Quality + Operations, East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for providing us with feedback, and I am sorry that you had such a stressful time. Please do email me on Julie.pearce1@nhs.net. As I would like to follow this through with you.

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