"Ambulance discrimination against students."

About: Royal Lancaster Infirmary

I just wanted to write a thank you to the Doctor in A&E who took my flatmate seriously and treated him like anyone else would have been treated. An ambulance was rang to our house at about midday on a Monday morning for my flatmate who could not look at the light, could not keep anything down, was crying because of the pressure in his head and couldn't move his legs. The paramedics asked him whether he had been drinking at the weekend and because he said yes they immediately assumed that he was "dehydrated and probably picked up a stomach bug from being run down". I pointed out that he couldn't look at a light (knowing this was a meningitis symptom) without being sick and was told that this was a sign of dehydration. If my flatmate had been my 50 year old mother would he have been treated with suspected meningitis and rushed to hospital or is it protocol to not rush someone in with 4 symptoms of meningitis just because they don't have a temperature or a rash? After being made to walk to the ambulance whilst crying, made to walk out of the ambulance to a chair whilst at A&E and being written as minor and waiting in a corridor for an hour and a half I am so thankful that we were fortunate to be seen by a doctor who didn't automatically assume that just because we were students his illness was alcohol related. My flatmate fought for his life for 4 days sedated in intensive care and thankfully he has walked away from this with only mild side effects. What i want to make aware to whoever is concerned is that I witnessed the whole thing: I understand I am not the patient making the complaint but I was the one who was conscious throughout the whole ordeal and I am the one who is most appalled that such discrimination happens to students. We are told meningitis is an illness that is about time. Why was my flatmate not treated as an emergency? Either discrimination against students needs to be tackled, or paramedics need educating on meningitis procedure and symptoms.

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Response from Royal Lancaster Infirmary

Many thanks for your comment which we will ensure is passed onto the doctor and to the staff within the Accident and Emergency department at Royal Lancaster Infirmary. If you wish to raise concerns regarding the paramedics who attended please contact the North West Ambulance Service. With best wishes to your flatmate for their ongoing recovery.

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