"Patient care"

About: Tomaree Community Hospital / Accident & emergency

(as the patient),

I was taken to Tomaree Community Hospital (TCH) by ambulance recently in the evening, after slipping on the bathroom floor while cleaning the shower screen. When I arrived, I was sitting on the stretcher in ED next to another patient who had been brought in by ambulance.

I was not spoken to by hospital staff at all - actually, the nurse in ED said out loud, it really hurts when you roll your ankle. I was in agony, I was then transferred from the stretcher to a bed in ED by the ambulance staff as I had a cannula in due to needing 10mg of morphine, the other patient in the stretcher next to me was put into a wheelchair and taken into the waiting room. 

I lay on that bed in ED for around 2.5 hours with not one staff member/nurse/doctor or cleaner who said hello, let alone do a set of OBs, take down the ice pack dressing that the ambulance put on or give me pain relief.

When it got to 2.5 hours of waiting and the pain was becoming unbearable again, my friend had to find a nurse so I could get some pain relief. When I asked if I was going to get an X-ray there that night, as it was getting so late and I was waiting so long, I was told no, that’s not available tonight. I asked would I be better off going to a different hospital and the nurse turned around and said if it was me, I would.

So, I asked for my pain relief and was given 5mg Endone and 2 paracetamol. Got into a wheelchair and my friend drove the hour it took us to get to another hospital in Newcastle. Literally, on arrival, the triage nurse took the bandage that the ambulance had put on earlier that afternoon, looked at my swollen ankle and sent me straight to X-ray.

After the X-ray, it was not a very long wait until they put me on a stretcher and a Dr had me sucking on the green whistle as they attempted to manipulate my, broken on 3 sides and misaligned, ankle. 

I was then told I would have to present myself to the ED at another hospital the next morning for orthopaedic surgical review. I could either stay in the hospital I was in (but I would still have to find my own way there) or go from home. I chose to go home (1hr 10mins) and present myself to the hospital early in the morning the following day. So, we got home around mid-morning and had to wake two hours later to get to the hospital by the requested time. 

We waited in fast track at the hospital for about 1.5 hours, I was admitted up to the ward after seeing an orthopaedic register and I was in surgery that afternoon, having an ORIF. 

I was discharged from this hospital the day after surgery, after being reviewed by Physio, Ortho and Drs. 

So, as a Registered Nurse who now works in the community and has worked in all the public and private hospitals in Newcastle, I knew before I even hit the bathroom floor I had done some damage but for it to be dismissed as a rolled ankle without anyone casting a look in my direction. I now understand when my elderly clients say please don’t send me to Tomaree Hospital, why they don’t want to go. 

I am in my 40's and to be in agony for 2.5 hours and be ignored, made me feel scared and alone. I can only imagine what our elders would think. I also wonder what happened to the poor patient who came in with the other ambulance who got put in a wheelchair and sent to the waiting room, as they too possibly should have had an X-ray. 

I cannot fault the Nurses at the two other hospitals. Everyone made me feel like I actually mattered. The Tomarree Community Hospital, whatever people want to call it, may have had a facelift/upgrade but in my opinion, there’s still a lot to learn. 

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