"Sent home from A&E too soon."

About: Princess Alexandra Hospital (Harlow)

My partner was admitted to A&E last night with a cut on his head after falling down stairs. He was treated promptly and compassionately at first, but then told to wait for a scan which at first we were told would be soon. During the wait he was not allowed water in case he needed an operation. The wait dragged on and on, during which he continued to bleed and become more and more dehydrated and kept begging for water. Every hour I asked if he could have any, and the person promised to come back with an answer but did not. After four hours the policy was changed and he was allowed water, just before the scan was done. The nurse who came to test his blood pressure repeated the measurement over and over, hoping to get a reading in the normal range, presumably so they would not have to bother a doctor. As the night wore on after the scan he became more and more ill and weak, but despite being unable to sit up unaided, and twice passing out when the nurses got him into a sitting position, he was told he had to go home. They got him into a wheelchair, and the taxi driver managed to lift him into the taxi. However when we got home and the taxi driver tried to lift him out, he immediately fell onto his face on the road and hit his head again, the taxi driver called 999, and an ambulance came to take him back. Policemen also came. His bandage came off during the second fall, so presumably the treatment had to be started from scratch. I admit he was drunk, but for the sake of saving NHS resources surely it would have made more sense to keep him in hospital until he was able to stand unaided.

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Response from Princess Alexandra Hospital

Dear Anonymous, I am sorry this has happened. If someone does have to come back into A&E something has not worked. There is clearly a need for the team to look at the details of what happened in your case and ensure there is no repeat of these circumstances. I would urge you to get in touch with our Patient Experience team who will be able to work with you to ensure we understand what happened and what factors led to this outcome. The team here will be able to involve the right members of the clinical team, identify any errors or omissions and put in place an action plan to prevent a recurrence. The Patient Experience Team are on 01279 827084 and will be able to work with you to resolve this in partnership with the clinical team.

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