"Incomplete diagnosis at St Helier A+E"

About: St Helier Hospital / Accident and emergency St Helier Hospital / General medicine Sutton and Merton PCT

(as the patient),

I attended A+E at on might at the beginning of February 2010 with a calf muscle tear which happened while playing tennis. (I took off to run and felt the muscle in my calf snap) The pain was excruciating and I was unable to walk. I got ice on the injury almost immediately, After a 2 hour wait I was told that it was a strain and that no treatment was needed, other than ice and rest.

The next day, my leg was hot and swollen, so I tried to get an appointment with my GP - none was available. A highly recommended practitioner at Back on Track was able to see me on the Friday morning and he was concerned that there was indeed a tear and that I was showing symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis. He advised me to pressure my GP for an appointment and a referral for an ultra sound scan. Reluctantly, my GP referred me for a scan which I had that afternoon and it confirmed that there was a tear in the calf muscle. (Incidentally I also had to go back to A+E for crutches as I was struggling to get around)

The stenographer indicated that I should have been seen by orthopedics and should have been referred for physio. The doctor at A+E made a wrong diagnosis and seemed unaware of how serious deep vein thrombosis can be. In addition I think they should be aware that this type of injury needs physio in order for the patient to regain full muscle strength and make a full recovery.

I returned to A+E at 12:15pm with a GP's letter for orthopedics only to be told that any referrals should be made by the doctor who first diagnosed me. I was told to go back to my GP but at this point I pointed out that I was being sent around in circles and said that it seemed I would have to pay for the necessary treatment. With very poor grace, the nurse practitioner who was on duty filled out a form for the physio clinic.

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