"It is just not good enough"

About: Derriford Hospital / Accident and emergency South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust / Emergency ambulance

(as a parent/guardian),

My son had a 50mile-an-hour motorbike accident, he had his clothes cut off at the scene, was head and body braced and transported to Derriford hospital.

My daughter rushed to A&E as myself and his dad were on holiday abroad. When she arrived and saw him he was lying naked under a very small piece of blanket still in the braces waiting for results of scans/x-rays, my son was confused as he had been knocked unconscious and in a lot of pain, my daughter was very frightened and the nurse just kept saying he's ok, even though he was calling out in pain.

He kept asking for a tissue as his face was very swollen and his eye was watering, no one took any notice of him. My daughter asked the nurse and she just said there is one over there (the other side of the room). My daughter wiped his face, she then asked for a blanket as he was shivering with shock and cold, again she was told to get it herself. Eventually my daughter was angry about the nurses blaze comments that he was fine and told her that he evidently wasn't fine. The nurse then became a little more caring and made conversation.

During this time a doctor (female) came in and lifted my sons blanket to look at his lacerated groin, she did not speak to my son or spare his dignity in front of his sister. The nurse did say this is his sister and she didn't want to see him naked. The doctor still didn't say anything and just dropped the blanket down again. At no time did anyone offer to get him into a hospital gown, eventually his friend arrived and put socks on for him as he was freezing cold and dressed him in hospital clothing which he had to ask for.

Later my son asked for the toilet and was told to go himself, he staggered to the toilet (he had a severely swollen ankle and broken wrist as well as sutures and swelling in his groin and facial swelling and bruising all over his body) where he vomited and had to stagger back to his bed.

The next day he was told he could go, no one asked him if he was being picked up or if he had any money on him (his sister was picking him up but he didn't have his wallet with him). He then had to ask how to get out and proceeded to hop/hobble with a bag over his shoulder to the main entrance.

I cannot believe that both him and his sister/friends were treated with such a lack of care, kindness or empathy. I acknowledge that the staff in A&E see horrific injuries all the time but to patients and their families any injuries are traumatic! especially when you don't know the extent of the injuries at the time and are frightened and in pain. I am very sad and angry that my son, daughter and his friends had to experience this at a very traumatic time when they should have been treated with care and compassion.

I work for the NHS myself and repeatedly hear these kind of stories, it is just not good enough. Also my son was told at fracture clinic to leave his cast on for 4 weeks and then to cut it off himself with scissors, when he saw his GP she was horrified and said he must go back to the fracture clinic!

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Response from Laura Martin, Patient Engagement Administrator, Governance, South Western Ambulance Service

picture of Laura Martin

Dear Sillymadam

Thank you for taking the time to share your families experience. I sincerely hope that your son has a speedy recovery following his accident.

I am unable to comment on the care provided by the hospital. However, if you have any comments regarding the treatment provided by the ambulance staff who attended to your son at the scene of the accident, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01392 453831 or email laura.martin@swast.nhs.uk.

Thank you again for taking the time to provide feedback.

Kind regards


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