"A&E Department mismanaged & doctors unsure of how..."

About: Russells Hall Hospital

I attended the A&E department in the early hours of a thursday morning with my 6 year old daughter. She was in extreme pain and having waited for two and a half hours on freezing cold metal benches whilst watching the reception staff have converstaions about what they would do when they got home I advised I was leaving the department to take my child home as they weren't helping her. They asked me to go into the A&E department to sign a consent form to say I was taking her home. The doctor in there asked why, I explained how long we had waited and that I would call an ambulance from home because then she would be seen...amazingly we were admitted straight away! However after the initial assessment my daughter was prescribed pain killers, again we waited over 45mins for this while I watched 6 members of staff talking and laughing about their private lives. I was disgusted that a six year old child was crying in pain and nobody could be bothered to help her. Problems with misdiagnosis and a failed discharge from the hoispital continued our experience and resulted in my daughter being re-admitted twice by amublance over the next week. During her time in the hospital doctors could not agree on what was wrong with her and even read x-rays with differing results...surley if a problem exists all doctors should be able to see it? This mis-diagnosis also included a visit from 3 surgoens, none of which made the correct diagnosis, two of whom didin't even phyically examine my daughter as they said they could see there wasn't a problem?! The only saving grace were the wonderful nurses who seemed as frustrated as we were at the way in which my daughters case, and others on the ward, were being managed. I would only attend this hospital again if absoluety necessary and would never attend the A&E department unless via ambulance...even then you get forgotten as we found out.

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Response from Russells Hall Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your experience of our hospital. We are sorry you were not satisfied with your daughter’s care and the time she waited for treatment. We aim to offer the highest standard of care to all our patients and we must apologise if we did not achieve this on this occasion. We appreciate what an anxious time it must have been to come to A&E in the early hours with a six-year-old daughter in pain. We are sorry that you had to wait longer than you would have liked for your daughter to be seen and apologise for the added worry this may have caused you. In line with hospitals nationally, we aim to see, treat, admit or discharge all of our patients within four hours of arriving at A&E. All patients arriving in A&E, whether by ambulance or their own transport, are triaged and priority is given based on the nature and severity of their illness or injury, irrespective of their mode of arrival. This means that our most poorly patients can be seen first. If patients under the age of 16 visit between the hours of 12 noon and 12 midnight they will be seen in the department’s paediatric area. When this area is closed, children are seen in the main area. We are sorry if you felt your daughter did not receive the level of attention and care we would expect to provide. The lead nurse for A&E has been sent a copy of your feedback and has addressed your concerns in her team meeting so that we can learn lessons and make sure we are giving our patients the best possible experience. Diagnosing the cause of abdominal pain in children is difficult and rather than giving a definitive diagnosis, a series of exclusions and physical observations are made over a period of time to assess the child’s progress. We are sorry if you were not kept informed about this during your time on the ward. We would always prefer for children to complete their recovery at home in a familiar and comfortable environment and so would always try to discharge young patients as soon as they are well enough to leave hospital. Children are not discharged until the team of doctors and nurses taking care of them are reassured that the child is improving and that parents can continue their care at home. Parents can contact the ward at any time if they have concerns about their child’s progress once they return home. It is difficult to comment further on your daughter’s specific case without her details and reviewing her medical notes. We would encourage you to get in touch with the nurse in charge of either our A&E Department (01384 456111 ext 2283) or our Children’s Ward (01384 456111 ext 1278) to discuss your concerns about your daughter’s care. If you prefer, you can contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on free phone 0800 073 0510 who will look into your concerns on your behalf.

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