"Visit to A&E following Relative's Paracetamol Overdose"

About: Victoria Infirmary / Accident & Emergency

(as a relative),

I accompanied my relative to A&E after a suicide attempt of paracetamol overdose. When they were admitted at night time I spoke very briefly to the doctor treating them and they assured me they would update me as soon as possible.

Four hours later I finally got fed up with the brush offs provided by reception and walked straight through to where my relative was being treated in A&E. I was met by a different doctor who told me that they were not told by the previous doctor that I was in the waiting area.

My relative was laying on a bed, unattended and being sick. They kept trying to semi-consciously roll on to their back. When I expressed concern, I was told that I was over anxious and that they were being monitored. Monitored by whom, I asked - only to be walked away from.

After an IV course of medication, the doctor I had previously spoken to left a pile of medication sitting within 10 feet of my relative. When I asked them why they would place medication next to an overdose patient, they said "Oh are they tablets your relative normally takes? " I answered that they put them there when they were last in to change the IV. They were then collected and removed without another word.

Enraged, I confronted the doctor and asked when they would be moved to a ward and why these things had already occurred. I was given a shrug of apology for the waiting time, which was explained as a miscommunication. On the subject of the pile of medication I feel I was utterly brushed off.

A truly appalling level of care to my mind.

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Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear darkblue,

I would like to thank you for taking the time to get in contact with us to share your experience of Accident and Emergency at the Victoria Infirmary. I would also like to pass on my best wishes to your relative with the hope that they are recovering well.

You have highlighted a number of issues which do not reflect the practice we would expect in our services, particularly around communication with relatives of our patients. I will pass this on to the relevant managers within this service, but it would help me if you also could contact me directly on lorna.gray@ggc.scot.nhs.uk so that I can get some more details from you in order to look into this particular incident.

Best Wishes,


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Response from Lorna Gray, Patient Experience, Public Involvement Project Manager, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Dear darkblue,

I wanted to thank you for getting in touch with me directly - I realise that this is has been a particularly difficult time for you and your family so I appreciate you taking the time to contact me.

This helped me to take forward your comments and, as discussed, take them through our official complaints procedure. I understand that colleagues from the complaints team have been in touch with you. I hope this process provides some answers for you and I will keep in contact with the team on how this progresses.

I had also sent you some information about the Patient Advice and Support Service which is an independent service that provides advice and support for patients and their families using NHS services - I have added the link to their website below for anyone else who may be reading this and may benefit from their support.


With best wishes,


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