"Emergency visit to A&E Department"

About: Royal United Hospital

I would like to comment on my experience of a weekend emergency visit to the A & E Department at the Royal United Hospital.

On falling and breaking my ankle mid-afternoon on Sunday 3rd January, I was taken to Frome Hospital Minor Injuries Unit where a temporary plaster support was put onto my ankle to stabilize the bones during the journey to Bath RUH.

On arrival I was seen quickly, the ankle x-rayed, the bones re-set twice with two more x-rays and a new plaster support fitted.

My terror of gas-and-air was met with sympathetic understanding, both the doctor and anaesthetist dredging their memory for poems to recite to distract me from the pain and before long I was wheeled to a calm, quiet, softly lit ward to spend the night.

At around 8am the following morning, the orthopaedic surgeon arrived accompanied by his anaesthetist and explained that they would be able, as hoped on the previous evening, to operate that morning.

Within 24 hours of arrival, the operation was completed, the plate and screws attached to my bone and I was in recovery.

Both Frome MIU and Bath A&E were full to overflowing and the staff under considerable pressure by the sheer weight of number of patients waiting for attention.

Late evening, post-op, six beds including mine, were moved (by the nurses) from the ward where we were recovering into the Day Surgery Recovery Unit where we stayed until discharged the following afternoon as there were simply not enough beds for the number of patients still arriving. This ward was not equipped for overnight patients but the nursing staff managed to source sufficient furniture to make us comfortable.

The arrival the following morning of a bevy of electric blue garbed theatre staff who fanned out around the room and with great cheerfulness attended to our needs, again with exemplary care, was a welcome sight.

They were followed swiftly by the physiotherapist who discussed safety and trained me in using both a frame and a crutch on the stairs and an occupational therapist who assessed my needs, provided and arranged for further home aids.

I was then able to leave the ward to allow a deep clean of the area to be carried out so that it could resume its function as a recovery unit whilst I waited elsewhere for my drugs and ambulance car to take me home.

Despite arriving late on a Sunday afternoon with treatment going on until well into late evening, I was seen and treated by four junior doctors (including the anaesthetist) every part of my care ran smoothly with the minimum of delay and the maximum of professionalism.

Although working under immense pressure, they (both doctors and support staff) remained positive, cheerful, calm and caring and a credit to their profession.

My family would like to join me in thanking them all for their exemplary treatment and care in such difficult circumstances

“The mark of a civilized society is one that carries and looks after its weakest members". Mahatma Ghandi.

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Response from Royal United Hospital

We thank you for your comments about your recent care and treatment at the RUH and will forward these on to the staff in A&E and Orthopaedics who, we are sure, will be very grateful for your kind words.

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