"Nightmare trip to Emergency Department"

About: Southampton General Hospital

I attended the Emergency department on Sunday evening while suffering severe pain from a tooth abscess. I was seeking pain relief so I could last the night when the dentist opened in the morning. After an hour I was seen by the triage nurse who refused to offer me anything other than paracetamol (why would I go to A&E without first trying paracetamol?). I was told I would need to wait 5 hours or more to be seen by a doctor. This, given I was in extreme pain, vomiting in the waiting area on the floor while nobody else waiting appeared to be in discomfort. I was forced to leave A&E - I could not sit there for 5 hours in that amount of pain. I was angry and disgusted by their treatment of me and the fact that a patient in severe pain is not prioritised - nor was any help offered to alleviate the pain! What is the point of triage if you just tap a few things into the computer and put me at the bottom of the list?

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Response from Southampton General Hospital

We were sorry to read about the severe pain and vomiting you were experiencing from your tooth abscess and that there was a significant wait to be seen in the Emergency Department. Along with the rest of the country our services have been under extreme pressure and this includes the Emergency Department. Patients are seen in order of clinical priority and need and although we do appreciate how painful a tooth abscess can be it is not life threatening. We acknowledge that patients are waiting longer than we would wish in what are challenging times and sincerely hope that your abscess has now resolved.

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