"Poor treatment of non-visible problems, rude staff,"

About: East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust Royal Derby Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as the patient),

I've been in Derby for the last three years, approaching a fourth. In that time I have had to visit Derby Royal a handful of times for various complications.

I suffer from severe depression, including self harm, and at high points of stress and illness I have a small number of times, ended up in A&E due to the complications of suicide attempts.

Along with this, I have also suffered four stress injuries - tearing of ligaments, falls, etc. These have been more recent issues.

It is with some disappointment that I feel I have to state how abysmal the patient-to-doctor interaction within the hospital is when your issues are not imminently visible. This is not to say all my visits have been marred, but out of my multiple visits in a three year period, only quarter -at best- have brought me any help.

Of these, one was a visible injury (and ambulance) taken to A&E, after falling and twisting my leg to a 90 degree angle. I tore multiple ligaments in my knee and required crutches for six weeks. I never got any follow ups offered, despite the severity of my injury, and still have problems with my knee.

Nonetheless, the treatment on that occasion was good. Similarly, on a more recent trip after badly hurting my wrist, I was seen within 10 minutes of arriving and offered a splint after it was evaluated there was no fracture (due to a lack of seriously apparent bruising/excess swelling/relevant pain) and was more likely ligament based.

However every single time I was admitted to A&E for mental health complications, I felt I was looked at by staff as a nuisance. On the worst visit - after an intentional overdose I was kept in a bed overnight and I was offered no help when requesting to contact someone to be with me in the hospital.

In my opinion I was ignored while lying on a gurney in the minor incidents department for two hours, requesting food or drink (I was not allowed to get up alone); and I was kicked out at 6am after a night of ill treatment.

On the times I have been there with visible self-harm injuries, I have been made to sit and wait for help for multiple hours every time. The wounds are dressed, and then I had to sit in minor incidents (again) waiting for someone to tell me what I already knew ('You suffer from depression? oh, okay. Can you fill this questionnaire for me? '). On only one visit out of four (again, over three years), was I offered a visit from a crisis team. They offered me no follow up.

However, my worst visit was my most recent, I fell and injured my shoulder at midnight. I suffer from fibromyalgia and therefore have already apparent back pain and muscular pain. But the agony in my shoulder and spine was far worse on trying to get back up, and I was floored. I managed to move back onto my settee, in a static position, and asked my boyfriend to call 999.

The ambulance did not arrive for half an hour. When it did, the lone paramedic requested additional aid from another ambulance - another 10 minutes - as he felt he should brace me to keep me flat. However, the second and third paramedics made light of my fall, with one not helping me at all and frequently telling me 'I reckon they'll just give you painkillers and send you home'. Not really what you want to hear when in serious pain.

In my view the following took place, when we arrived in A&E it was about 1am. We were seen (partner and I), at 1: 15am by a nurse. I had been put in a wheelchair by the paramedics as they noted bruising on my shoulder blade and swelling, and difficulty in my moving around. The chair was clunky and took a bit of effort to get to the nurse. I offered a smile in apology and got a response of why didn't you just walk over? why are you in a chair? "

I mention the pain in my shoulder and got the respose oh, and what were you going to be doing with your shoulder exactly.

I fall silent because I am frankly stunned by the rudeness of the nurse. I understood how late it was, but was appalled and agonised. She doesn't offer me anything in the office, but instead takes hold of my arm and twists it roughly in the socket to see how much maneuverability I had.

I had been keeping a quiet face as to the full extent of my pain until then. After the nurse tugs me around, she tells me to leave, go home, take painkillers, no sling, no support, just go home.

Outside, I start to cry, a lot, both thanks to pain, and thanks to distress. My boyfriend is infuriated and takes me back inside. We manage to persuade the receptionist to at least let me have a sling. The nurse that appears - not the same nurse, mind - is disinterested, but at least puts me in a sling.

We walk home. A 30 minute walk - and on arriving, I call NHS Direct. The nurse that I speak to on the phone is completely unimpressed that no proper physical examination was undertaken, and recommends I return to A&E in the event of a dislocation or minor fracture.

When I am back at A&E, it is 4am. We are both extremely tired. I am seen in major injuries but largely disregarded. I am seen by a junior doctor, who pokes my back a few times, sees how far I can extend my arms, and then gives me codine and tells me to go home.

I finally go to bed at 6am.

Today, I am still in massive amounts of pain, despite painkillers. However, my full distress is emotional, at my handling by the hospital staff. The paramedics were great, but in the bowels of the actual place I felt unhelped and uncared for.

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