"Failure to treat a serious trauma injury expeditiously"

About: East Surrey Hospital / Accident and emergency East Surrey Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a relative),

One Saturday in September, my son was admitted to A&E after suffering a serious wrist injury sustained by falling off his bicycle. He was treated at A&E and X-rays revealed he has a serious multiple fracture of his left wrist which required corrective surgery. The wrist was manipulated to put the bones into position at A&E and the wrist put into a plaster cast. He was told that he would have to make an appointment for day surgery on the wrist.

An appointment at the day surgery dept was made for the next Tues at 7. 30 am. When we arrived at main reception there was no staff to direct us but eventually we found the appropriate department in good time. After waiting for about 2 hours we were informed that due to prior more urgent cases we would be in for a long wait. We waited for several more hours and around lunchtime were informed that they would not be able to perform the operation that day. All this time my son had fasted for the surgery and was in continuous pain and distress due to the nature of his injuries. Eventually a further appointment was made to see a consultant on Friday, but this appointment was not for corrective surgery simply for the consultant to see the patient with a view to surgery taking place at a later date. At this point we decided to seek independent medical advice as my son was continuing to suffer pain and acute discomfort and his fingers were looking a bit gray in colour.

We went to a private consultant specialising in wrist injuries, who informed us that the corrective surgery should be carried out as quickly as reasonably possible. Further X-rays were taken and the surgery was carried out that evening. It transpired that the fractures required a plate and ten pins to secure and the operation went well. My complaint is, that your hospital treated my son in a casual and unprofessional manner. The appointment for surgery was not kept and the timescale for surgery extended by an indeterminate period causing unnecessary anxiety, pain and suffering and risking complications to the injury through the delay.

The private surgery cost me over £4,400 with the prospect of additional costs, all incurred because of the delays from East Surrey Hospital at Redhill. Luckily I could afford to pay for private treatment but if I could not my son would have faced the prospect of having to live with the pain, uncertainty and danger of urgently needed medical treatment for a serious trauma injury for over a week, maybe much longer.

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Response from Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Marcs Father

I was so sorry to hear of the distress caused to you and your son over the delay to his treatment. Clearly any delay is unacceptable if it isn't warranted. Our Chief of Surgery and myself would very much like to meet you to discuss your son's care and I was wondering if you could contact me on bernie.edwards@sash.nhs.uk or 01737 768511 ext 1701.

Kind regards

Bernie Bluhm (nee Edwards)

Chief Operating Officer

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