"Concerns about patient care at Arrowe Park Hospital"

About: Arrowe Park Hospital

(as the patient),

After falling and banging my head hard on the pavement, while out in Birkenhead, in February, I was taken, by ambulance to Arrowe Park Emergency Department. I was left in the waiting room, for what felt like hours between seeing a triage nurse and getting seen by a doctor.

Because I was nauseas, and because I live alone, I was admitted to the Observation Ward overnight to be monitored as my head injury was deemed too severe for me to be sent home unaccompanied. The doctor who had seen me in A&E was called to an emergency, and no pain medication was administered or written up prior to my being moved to the Observation Ward.

Once settled in the ward a nurse came over and asked if I was willing to give a nasal and a genital swab so that they could text for MRSA. I immediately explained to the nurse that I was willing to give the nasal swab, but that because I had recently been sexually assaulted and raped, that I would be unable to (I just couldn't handle it) consent to the genital swab. The nurse gave me a look of part disbelief and part exasperation. She stormed off, after roughly taking the nasal swab, and returned to the nurses station where I heard her loudly telling a colleague that "the lady in bed six is refusing the swab, she says she's been sexually assaulted or some such crap!". I was fuming, as her tone of disbelief was hurtful, and the volume at which she had made her comments were open for the whole ward to hear. I felt mortified.

When she returned, I asked about pain relief (as I normally take pain medication for a knee condition, as well as the fact I had suffered a head injury, which hurt like hell) and whether I would be given my anti-depressants, as I am unable to sleep without them. She said that no medication had been written up, and that I would, therefore, not be allowed to have any. I complained and asked for a doctor to be called, and unwillingly she did so.

A number of hours later, and well into the night, a doctor finally came to see me. After speaking to the nurse, he refused to give me my normal pain or anti-depressant medication as he did not believe me when I said that it was what I normally took (despite being able to tell him the generic make, branding, and colour and shape of each tablet; and having my nighttime doses with me - since this incident, I always carry my repeat prescription sheets in my diary, to prove the medication I am taking). Because of this he offered paracetamol for pain, and said he couldn't prescribe the anti-depressant.

So, there I was left, in pain and unable to sleep, for the remainder of the night.

I had been told in the evening that I would be sent for a scan and/or x-ray, but neither happened.

Luckily, I was discharged after the doctors rounds in the morning. And once given my medication from the locked cupboard by my bed - believe me, I tried to get into it the night before, so I could take my anti-depressant and pain medication - I took some straight away before even leaving the hospital ward.

Two days later, I returned to my own GP complaining of pain and problems with my right eye. My GP was excellent and I later found out, that I had a fracture just above my right eye and the pain and discomfort around my eye was due to swelling in that area.

The treatment I received from the nursing staff in the Observation Ward that night, was, in my opinion, shocking. No patient should be left without normal prescribed medications, and patients private and CONFIDENTIAL personal details should not be shouted around the nurses station for all to hear, whether believed or not.

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Response from Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

I would like to thank Lisa H for posting the concerns about her care when she attended the Accident & Emergency Department of Arrowe Park Hospital some months ago.

We endeavour to ensure that all of our patients receive the highest possible standards of care and would ask Lisa H to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service on 0800 432 0251 to discuss her concerns further.