"Hungry, dehydrated and waiting for an op at the Royal London"

About: The Royal London Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

My daughter in law, a lone parent of a 7 year old, was admitted to the Royal London Hospital, Treves Ward, in March, after an accident in which she sliced through her tendon with a dirty kitchen knife. She was to be operated on Sat am, so given nil by mouth.

By Sat pm she was dehydrated and v hungry and still no indication of when she would have the op. She was fed. The whole saga was repeated on Sunday. Now it is Mon and we still don't know when she will have the op.

Meanwhile, i have to take time off work to care for my granddaughter. No-one at the hospital has expressed the slightest interest in the child, no-one has asked if there are adequate arrangements to care for her. And we still have no idea when my daughter in law will have the op and come home.

They said they had to keep her in, and treat her as an emergency, because the knife was dirty (with starch from the potatoes she had been peeling). But she is taking up a bed, fretting about her daughter, not being fed, and generally very upset and anxious. Surely there has to be a better way of organising scarce NHS resources? And why is no-one concerned about her child?

The nursing staff have been very sympathetic, but say they are powerless as it all rests with theatre and the lists drawn up by the surgeons. They have been kind, but seem quite detached, and unwilling or unable to do anything about it. Shouldn't they have some power and responsibility? And shouldn't they be able to call on a social worker to discuss how best to care for the 7 year old?

We have no idea how the list for surgery works, and it seems that several emergencies have come in, displacing her on the list. We appreciate that medical emergencies have to take priority, but then surely she could have been sent home, and rung to be told when to come in?

It all feels very mysterious to us, and for a 7 year old it is very frightening, as she has no idea when she will go home, when her mum will have her op, and how her mum will be afterwards.

If it was safe to leave her all this time using up a bed, why couldn't she have an appointment for surgery?

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