"Terrible ordeal - absolutely terrifying experience"

About: North Tyneside General Hospital

On Bank Holiday Monday 25 August 2014 my partner was feeling very unwell with pains in his chest & arms & throat closing. As he lives very near to Rake Lane he chose to walk as thought quicker than waiting for an ambulance. By the time we reached the hospital he could barely stand as so such terrible pain. At which point he was screaming in agony. The Receptionist totally ignored us so I had to bang on the window to get her attention. She said to go round the corner to Major, even though he struggled to move. We managed to get round the corner to closed doors so I rushed in & shouted for help. There were around 6 or so staff milling around and every one of them blanked me. I had to beg & beg for someone to help my partner who was clearly having a heart attack. The triage nurse refused to see him as said there was no bay available. I managed to get a wheelchair for him & he was left in the corridor, still screaming in agony, to be ignored. IHe asked for a drink of water as his throat closing & they refused so I had to find the water machine myself. I asked if I could ring an ambulance to get him to a hospital where they wold help as I couldn't let them leave him to die. But they said I couldn't do that. I went back to Reception as she hadn't asked for his name or any details. Again I was ignored whilst she worked on the computer. Eventually she took details & said she'd try to get the triage nurse to see him. Whilst I was at Reception they allowed someone with a limp in ahead of my partner. When the triage nurse did see him after a long wait she categorically insisted it was not a heart attack despite the obvious symptoms. The doctor eventually saw him & asked him to describe the pain. He said 'like he had been stabbed in the heart by a javlin. His response was 'what's a javlin?'. He asked the triage nurse to put in a line ready for morphine & she did this very roughly & in fact missed the vein so it was of no use as when the medication was pumped in it did not get into his system. Once they confirmed it was a heart attack we were transferred in an ambulance, full speed, with sirens going to The Freeman Hospital where Rake Lane said they'd be ready & waiting to rush him in for an emergency operation. However, when we arrived The Freeman had been told nothing about his arrival, so further delays whilst they took his details. The Freeman had to immediately put in a line i his other arm. Thankfully, The Freeman Hospital were fantastic & within 1.5 hours my partner had a stent in & his agony & terrible ordeal were over. Never again will we go to Rake Lane Hospital. I would rather pay for a taxi to Newcastle than risk going back there.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from North Tyneside General Hospital

Dear Lesley, Firstly, can I say how deeply sorry that I am that both you and your partner have had this poor experience of care in A&E at North Tyneside Hospital. If I'm honest I will admit to being totally shocked by your story. It is never acceptable for any patient to be left experiencing distressing levels of pain and to feel totally ignored and disregarded by staff. The gaps in both care and compassion are significant so you will understand why I want to investigate this immediately to understand more and to act to avoid this happening again. I would therefore be very grateful if you could contact me at Annie.laverty@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk This will allow me to share the full details of your experience with our A&E management team. Best Wishes Annie

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