"A & E amazing ! Maxilla Facial Out Patients..."

About: Barnet General Hospital

My son had the most painful dental problem - a " dry socket" ( which due to MFO not carrying on the good care of the A & E, did not identify, hence he was in extreme 10/10 pain for 9 days) , no amount of pain relief would ease the pain. He was admitted to Barnet A & E , who were wonderful, beyond belief - they looked after him, gave him the necessary pain relief for seven hours + a drip. A & E emphasised that we should ask for pain relief immediately on arrival to MFO. He was wheeled round on a trolley ( we had both been awake all evening ). I told the receptionist how we had been told to ask for pain relief-they said "I can't help you with that ! " and looked back down to their work. I always choose to be polite and calm - With a smile I said "I know that you cannot, as you are the receptionist-could I please see a nurse." Apparently this was regarded as abusive. It is a long story, however, the rudeness escalated by a wide range of members of staff. I appreciate that they are perhaps a little overworked and appeared constantly on edge-perhaps due to stress, however, my sons pain was invisible to them - no empathy whatsoever. My questioning was seen as an irritation - my son was sitting quietly all this time trying to manage his pain in public - it was most undignified and humiliating for him on top of what he described at 10/10 pain. It got worse - he was treated for an infection in A & E - which had not been established by an examination, as the dentist refused to give pain relief so that my son may have a successful examination. The positive was that he was given pain relief to take home, which the A & E had found worked for him. A few days later he was back - as the "dry socket" remained - his face was visibly swollen. Imagine, this was day 9- he was worn down by the constant pain, in addition to an immune system which was at breaking point.. He was again looked after well by A & E - the same situation arose when we got to Maxilla Facial-they refused pain relief.

My son was able to open his mouth only a couple of centimetres - the dentist , shoved their mirror in the dry socket - my son at this time in 10/10 pain and very tired, had a reflex reaction - used his hand to knock the mirror away accompanied by a swear word. I am an academic, so I have since examined research on the use of expletives when experiencing extreme pain- it can be a natural reaction for some people and has been found ( by research studies) to give temporary relief to pain. The reaction of the dentist and nurse was extreme- they behaved in away to add to his humiliation. He was then treated in A & E by somebody who worked on the MF ward , gave him pain relief , examined him, diagnosed the “dry socket” and treated it, gave him pain relief and now it is healed. My son showed tremendous gratitude. We witnessed patients being talked to in an off hand way which was seen as huge contrast between how they conversed with each other. In addition I received a slanderous letter.

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Response from Barnet General Hospital

Thank you for your review, we're really sorry to hear you and your son were unhappy with your experience and will pass all of your comments on to the departments. We take all complaints seriously and would like to look in to this, we'd be grateful if you could contact our PALS team with further details on 020 8216 4924 or bcfpals@nhs.net

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