"Incomprehensible, inconsistent treatment."

About: St John's Hospital / General Medicine

(as the patient),

I had the missfortune of being referred to St. John's Hospital for treatment of a kidney infection. I had been battling this for 14 days, without adequate response from oral antibiotic therapy. There had been inconsistencies in my attention and treatment to that point.

At the Primary Assessment area, I was examined, had bloods taken and after some discussion at Junior Dr. level, informed that I would be admitted to have intravenous antibiotic treatment. Having been admitted to a ward, my husband then took his leave and drove back to Leith.

15 mins after he left, one of the consultants approached my bed (asked me my name because they didn't know who I was) and launched into a tirade of reasons for which they considered that I should not have been admitted to the ward, and said I was being sent home. The consultant stated that I was in 'the wrong place' and that what I needed was Renal or perhaps Gynaecological assessment, and that they would instruct my GP to refer me for these as an outpatient.

I was feeling extremely unwell, and to my detriment, did not fight my own corner. All I was able to do, was highlight the inconsistencies in my treatment to date, and point out that there was still strong evidence of urinary/kidney infection present. The doctor agreed a compromise, and stated that I would be prescribed a one dose of intravenous Gentamicin, and send me home with oral antibiotics. Had anyone been listening, one of the reasons my GP sent me in to hospital in the first place was because I was vomiting the oral antibiotics that I had been taking.

So, 4 hours after being admitted to the ward, I was given an infusion of Gentamicin, and an hour and a half after that, at 22. 30 hrs at night, I was given some oral medication and told to go home.

This morning I went back to see my GP to explain what I considered to be a total shambolic experience. My urine which was testing strongly positive to blood yesterday, had less blood in it today. A marker of the fact that one dose of the correct intravenous therapy made a difference. It also made a difference to how I feel and I am intensely angry at the fact that I may well have in the doctors opinion, been 'in the wrong place', however, I did not choose to take myself off and drive 19 miles to St. John's, passing two Edinburgh hospitals on the way; that was the decision made by the bed bureau.

I am angry because, I am feeling marginally better, and feel that had I been given a complete course of intravenous treatment, I would be A) not writing this, B) getting back to work in an area of the Lothian Health Service where I have been employed as a specialist nurse for 32 years, a lot sooner than in fact it's going to be.

Sending me home having done half the job, is going to cost the Health Service in relation to my absence and sick pay, more than if they had kept me in and treated me effectively.

Isn't that what anyone anywhere, no matter what they do, deserves?

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Response from Melanie Johnson, Executive Nurse Director, NHS Lothian


Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I am sorry it was not as you or I would have wished. Please accept my apologies. I will share your comments with the staff concerned.

If you would like me to review this in more detail and give you a more comprehensive response please email me at melanie.johnson@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

Yours sincerely

Melanie Johnson

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