"Great treatment for possible broken wrist at Balfour A&E"

About: Balfour Hospital / Accident & Emergency

(as the patient),

I slipped over a couple of weeks before going on holiday to Orkney and hurt my wrist. I thought it might just be a sprain, although I'm prone to breaking bones. Unfortunately it got worse rather than better and by half-way through the holiday I was pretty sure I had broken my scaphoid.

We were staying in one of the small Orkney islands, but passed through Kirkwall on route to the second week of our holiday. While my friends went bird watching, I popped in to Kirkwall's hospital A&E to see if I could get an x-ray. My main concern was whether there was anything nasty going on as sometimes these fractures can disrupt the blood supply to the bone.

I was in luck - the radiographer happened to be in the building and the nurses were kind, efficient - just perfect really. As is often the way, the fracture wasn't visible on the x-rays - by the time I got home 6 days later it was barn-door obvious, but that's scaphoids for you!

Once the x-rays were back, the nurse and I discussed how best to manage it. She offered a splint or bandage but also rightly pointed out that thumb immobilisation has harms in its own right - pragmatically she didn't want to take that path unnecessarily. Even though my wrist did turn out to be broken, I feel this was the right decision.

8-12 weeks in cast, or perhaps a small screw to fix it, now follow, but mainly I'm just very grateful for the help I got in A&E, they really were incredibly kind, not just to me but to the other patients in the waiting room. We achieved the main thing - we ruled out any bone necrosis or other nastiness that couldn't wait a week until I got home. The nurse safety-netted me to get it re-x-rayed as soon as I got home if it was still getting worse, which was really important as I often feel awkward about 'making a fuss' and I might have hung on longer without that instruction.

Thank you for a great service - as someone with multiple serious health problems it made me feel more confident about having holidays in Orkney in future, knowing that the back-up is there and given cheerfully when needed.

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Response from Julie Tait, Patient Experience Officer, NHS Orkney

Dear Stray

I am so pleased to hear that you had such a good experience of our hospital A&E services whilst here in Orkney on holiday. We are very grateful that you have taken the time to write to Patient Opinion and provide us with this lovely feedback. I will make sure the Senior Charge Nurse in A&E is given a copy of your story and that she shares it with the staff. They will be sorry to hear that you have indeed broken your wrist and I am sure, as I do, hope that you make a speedy recovery. However, they will also be very pleased that they could make your trip to hospital as comfortable as possible for you.

Again, I hope you are now on the road to recovery and thank you very much for getting in touch.

Kind regards

Julie Tait

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