"Accident & Emergency - not impressed"

About: South Tyneside District Hospital

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I was recently brought to the A&E department of this hospital by ambulance in agonising ankle pain where i could not walk, i was left in pain to wait 30 mins for a doctor who thought it was sciatica so gave a painkilling injection. second doctor came 15 mins later and diagnosed a tendon problem in my ankle and discharged me with 2 types of medication. Considering i could hardly walk i wasnt even out of the room before a nurse came in and cleared the bed and sent me to a waiting area. I received an hour of their time.

That night at home I was still in pain and my leg started to go numb, the following morning my groin was also numb. I called my doctors and a nurse advised me to go back to A&E straightaway. I arrived at around 10.30am and waited over an hour to be seen (there were 3 people there). I was shown to a room with a chair and a bin and 2 large blood spots on the floor. I refused to go in and the doctor refused to have it cleaned up so my boyfriend used wet tissue to remove it. I sat on the chair and the doctor put a dish with medical equipment on top of the bin while they took blood - very unhygeinic. I was then told there were no rooms with beds to examine my leg in so id just have to go back and wait until there were. another approx 90 mins later i finally got seen, this was around 1pm. I was then left in this room till I had an MRI scan at 4pm and then finally a different doctor came and told me what was wrong - I had abroken vertebrae and prolapsed disc that was crushing my nerves - hence the numbness. He immediately began proceeding to send me by ambulance to the RVI. I didnt get to the RVI till around 11.30pm. And because South tyneside had kept me on nil by mouth all day I was to weak to have the emergency op there and then so had to be on a fluid drip all night to rehydrate me for my op the next morning.

So thanks to south tyneside misdiagnosing me twice the first day i was taken in and taking so long in casualty the second day (12 hours) I have now been left with some nerve damage in my foot and numbness in parts of my saddle and groin. Thankfully the staff at the RVI newcastle were fantastic and the surgeons amazing, everything was handled very quickly and smoothly.

I dont think i would ever go back to South tyneside again, the hygeine levels appalled me and considering how quiet the department was that day, I think how I was dealt with was a disgrace. This is a real shame as my daughter was born prem at this hospital and the maternity and scbu unit were fantastic. A pity this department has completely let them down.

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Response from South Tyneside District Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to post your comments on the NHS Choices website. I am truly sorry to learn that your experience of our service in the A&E Department was not of the high standard we usually deliver. Should you wish this matter investigated formally, please either write to me at South Tyneside District Hospital, Harton Lane, South Shields NE34 0PL, or email me at lorraine.lambert@stft.nhs.uk and your concerns will be fully investigated. In the interim period, I will share your comments with the Divisional Director for the A&E service in order that appropriate lessons can be learned from your experience.

Kind Regards

Lorraine B Lambert

Chief Executive

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