"not listening to persons acting on best interest..."

About: Royal Berkshire Hospital

Anything else?

I recently had an unfortunate trip to A&E with a friend as during a night out she went from dancing beside us, to being found in the toilet completely unconscious within minutes. My friend was clearly spiked, we rang an ambulance as she was unresponsive. One of us traveled with her to A&E. When they arrived at A&E our friend was sent to the waiting room while staff attended to our friend. Two of her friends now turned up, the three of us sat in the waiting area together where no information was given to us of her current state, leaving us concerned and worried, lack of communication. When one of us was then allowed into see her she had IV fluid running with a tourniquet still tied around her arm our friend then remove it even tho staff had attached the fluids. She had also at this stage vomited some frothy blood. We then spoke with the staff members explaining our concerns that even tho she was drinking this behavior was completely out of character, that the bar staff were talking with her 30 minutes before she was unconscious, The staff then proceeded to say that she would be ok once she sobered up. We replied that this was not drink induced, thus not understanding her individual needs we then asked the staff when she had her bloods done was the a toxicity screen done the response was no as this was not protocol that she would have had to end up in the resus room before this blood test was done. At this stage we pleaded with staff that this was not in her character that we as members of staff from the hospital where acting as an advocate for our vulnerable friend at which they shrugged and stated again this was not protocol showing lack of care compassion. I feel that because we had had a drink the staff would not listen to us but we know our friend. When our friend eventually came around she was answering questions and stated to staff that she worked there at which staff from a&e knew one of her colleagues and used this opportunity to ask for gossip from the ward, even if this was just alcohol my friend was in a vulnerable position and the staff tried to exploit this. The whole experience has embarrassed my friend so much that she felt she could not return the following day to request this blood test. which means that the person who put my friend in this position could again do this to another girl who could end up much less fortunate than her. We understand that A&E see drunk people on daily basis but when family or friends are concerned and the patient is unable to speak for themselves then they need to be listened to.

Story from NHS Choices

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell your story & make a difference ››


Response from Royal Berkshire Hospital

We are very sorry that you and your friend had a poor experience when attending the Emergency Department. We take all concerns very seriously and share them with the staff in order to learn from them in the future. As your friend was unconscious on arrival the clinical priority was to make a full assessment of her condition which is why you were asked to wait in the waiting room, although we are sorry that you were not kept informed of her condition during your wait. We are also sorry that the tourniquet was still attached to your friend's arm - this is not normal practice. Toxicity screens in the Emergency Department are only carried out for clinical need. If a toxicity test was required for legal reasons this would be carried out at the request of the Thames Valley Police surgeon rather than the Emergency Department and would be a urine test not a blood test. I am sorry if this was not explained to you at the time. You have not mentioned whether you reported this incident to Thames Valley Police but if you suspect that your friend's drink was spiked, we recommend that she reports this to the police. We are sorry that you felt that the staff lacked compassion and understanding and that some of the staff appeared to use your friend's attendance as an opportunity to gossip about another ward. The Trust certainly does not tolerate this kind of unprofessional behaviour and the matron for the area will discuss this with her team.

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Updates, changes and questions related to this story