"The worst 24 hours of my life"

About: Western General Hospital (Edinburgh)

(as the patient),

I was sent up to the ARU on Monday afternoon by my GP after a weekend of oral antibiotics had not resolved an infected swollen wound on my elbow. I was running a high temperature (38+) and was feeling extremely unwell. On reporting at the ARU I was directed to the waiting room where I sat on a hard chair for nearly four hours before I was seen, and only after I approached the staff and complained of feeling cold. The doctor examined me in one of the bays and I waited a further two hours on a trolley before I was offered any pain relief. I spent the night on the trolley, even though it was too small for me to lie out straight on. The lights remained on until well into the night making sleep impossible. During the night my IV antibiotic drip was removed for a blood pressure test and was not replaced. Some time later I awoke and asked a passing nurse if I was supposed to be connected. She told me that I was connected to a drip but when I showed her that I was in fact not she expressed surprise. I don't know how long I would have remained in that condition had I not called out as the machine's beeps were ignored.

I asked for a pillow but was told I could not have one as people were not meant to be kept overnight on the trolleys. In the morning I asked for a shower but again was told this was not possible because I was not supposed to have been there overnight.

On the morning rounds the doctor told me I would be discharged at midday, even though I told her I felt worse. My temperature was now spiking at 39. 1 and the infection on my arm had spread beyond the marker line. I was fed a small bowl of porridge and a slice of white bread. There was no window in the bay. I believe it would be illegal and inhumane to keep a prisoner in such conditions nevermind a sick person.

About 4pm I was eventually transferred to a bed in the Ward. I was beginning to respond to treatment and although I still felt quite ill and my temperature was up I was more than happy to be discharged. I left the hospital about 6pm. I can honestly say it was the worst 24 hours of my life. I had little sense that anyone was genuinely interested in my welfare or comfort. The overriding concern was that my trolley/bed should be vacated.

If I ever find myself in that position again I will avoid the WGH like the plague and go straight to the Royal.

Very disappointed.

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Response from Customer Relations and Feedback Team, NHS Lothian

Dear richt26

I am extremely sorry to read this and about your poor experience of care from NHS Lothian. That is certainly not how we set about looking after patients and their needs.

It is important that we learn from feedback and I will certainly pass your comments on to the relevant department.

I do hope you are now making a good recovery.

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