"Pain relief and nursing care"

About: Antrim Area Hospital

(as the patient),

I was admitted to a ward in Antrim Area Hospital at 1a.m., via the A&E. The doctor in the A&E and the night nurse in the ward were attentive and caring. I was very ill and in a great deal of pain (I had just been discharged from hospital that morning following a serious operation and it was suspected that I had an infection).

On the next day I was not offered any food or drink (even though I had been vomitting and was not being given fluids intravenously). I was given pain relief intermittently and then at a reduced dose from that prescribed following my operation. I often had to request pain relief and once had to wait longer than half an hour in extreme pain before being given a half dose. I was told by the second member of staff that I asked after waiting 15 minutes that the nurse was busy. It was only the visit, by the pharmacist who informed the staff that dose I was being given was insufficient for my condition that brought about any change (although medication was still given erratically in relation to time).

Observations were taken inconsistently and on one occassion the assistant taking my temperature remarked that the thermometer was broken but entered a temerature anyway.

I did feel that I was a burden and in fact the consultant told me I should have gone to the hospital were my operation was carried out (I had been so ill on the night of admission I sought the nearest A&E. This attitude of being a nuisance continued mainly because of the poor response to my requests for pain relief or information. I cannot believe that I was an unnecessary burden because other than having inconsistent observations carried out, blood taken twice during my staff, antibiotics given intravenously and erratic pain relief being given I was given no other direct care. (The direct care component of averaging approximately 15 minutes per day).

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