Patient calls on management to act
Published: 9 Aug 2012 11:300 comments
Case Study 1
Father-of-five waits 36 hours for serious operation on appendix
A Tamlaght man who waited 36 hours at the South West Acute Hospital for an appendectomy has described the £276 million facility as a "ghost hospital" and called on the Western Health and Social Care Trust to act before "someone loses their life".
38-year-old James admitted himself to the Enniskillen hospital last Monday after experiencing crippling pains in his stomach but not only did he have to wait in agony to be operated on - he didn't see a doctor or a consultant for a further 24 hours after his serious operation.
Speaking out this week, the father-of-five told The Impartial Reporter that "Trust senior management have a lot to answer for".
"They are forcing their staff to work under extremely stressful and difficult conditions," he claimed.
James was admitted as an emergency and wasn't allowed to eat or drink as he was to be operated on the following day but a number of critical emergencies arose the next day and these patients were, naturally enough, given precedence.
"I fasted all day Tuesday until around midnight when I was told that I would not be going to theatre on that day either and should eat something and begin fasting again on 4am on Wednesday morning. To say I was frustrated is an understatement. I was extremely worried that my condition would deteriorate rapidly and become more acute," he said.
The reason for the delay stunned James and his family - only one operating theatre was in use.
"My family was informed that there was only one emergency operating theatre taking emergencies, although there were other theatres lying idle - which could have easily been used if there were enough staff to man them. I have heard that it takes almost £2 million per month to rent the building itself yet there are not sufficient staff employed to operate on acutely ill patients," he said.
On Wednesday morning at 10am James had his operation - a day and a half after admission.
"How can an emergency be allowed to wait for this length? It's only a matter of time before a patient admitted in an emergency situation loses their life or ends up in intensive care due to the sole fact that they were left to wait too long for their emergency operation. And why? Because the Trust will not pay the salaries of staff who could manage the operating theatres more efficiently".
James has questioned how the hospital would cope during a serious emergency.
"What would happen if a major incident took place, such as a road traffic accident, and numerous patients arrived at the doors of the hospital needing care? How would they all survive if only one theatre was in operation? How would a judgement be made then as to who would be the most critical patient and deserving of an operation?" he asks.
James spent four nights in the hospital and met with a number of staff throughout the hospital who he says were "literally exhausted".
"They had worked long hours in wards that were severely under-staffed. There are insufficient staff-nurses, doctors, surgeons to deliver a proper and safe service. The staff do not appear to be supported by senior management. They are extremely over-stretched, over-worked. Patients lives and safety at risk due to the ill thought out decisions made by senior management".
When his operation was finally carried out, James says the surgeons did a fantastic job.
"They do not receive enough credit from the managers who have no concept of the reality facing their staff on a daily basis," he said.
But back on the ward after his operation he experienced pain over a 24 hour period and did not receive a visit from a doctor or a consultant during that time.
"Senior managers need to wake up to the reality the impact their budget cuts are having on a very dedicated and hard-working team of employees. They don't deserve to be treated in such a despicable manner. If the situation continues patients will inevitably lose their lives," he said.
His family claim nurses were "very unhappy" with one staff member even saying to them: "We're on our knees".
Case Study 2
Teenager waits five hours in A&E following car accident
A 17-year-old Ballinamallard girl who waited five hours in South West Acute Hospital's accident and emergency department following a car accident in Lisbellaw at the weekend was apparently advised "to go home" by a nurse.
Speaking to The Impartial Reporter, the teenager says she was left sitting in the waiting room with pains in her back and head until the early hours of Sunday morning.
"When I got there we asked if I could see someone but there was nobody about. There was only one doctor on a Saturday night. They said they were really busy, I told them I wasn't happy. My back was really sore and I was getting a sore head. I was really frustrated," she said.
Her father claims a nurse approached him and told them to leave.
"A nurse came over to me and advised me to go home because that's the way it was going - long delays. I was very annoyed, I was talking about bringing her to a different hospital.
"We were sitting there waiting and waiting. Staff are under pressure but if they aren't getting funding, what do they do? What's the point of funding a big hospital and not having enough staff. It's a joke. Instead of paying management high wages, pay for more workers," he said.
Case Study 3
Visually-impaired woman 'left on own' in reception
A visually-impaired woman waited for over half an hour in the reception area of the new hospital before she was taken to have a bowel operation.
The woman, who doesn't want to be identified, told her local MLA, Tom Elliott about the problem.
"She went to the reception and informed staff that she was visually-impaired. She couldn't read the signs easily or work the touch screen computers. She told them she couldn't use the screen but staff appeared to be very busy. She isn't blaming front-line staff, she just said they were under a lot of pressure. It took her over 30 minutes to get to her clinic," he said.
She described the operation as "extremely uncomfortable".
"She was told she was going to be first in the queue but when it came down to it she was seventh. Staff were accommodating as they could be but the procedure was extremely uncomfortable. She wasn't talked through anything, she wasn't given any guidance and didn't get any anaesthetic. She was in great discomfort and pain and nurses had to look after her if though they were under pressure to get the next patient in. She was brought back home in a taxi and was in a lot of pain".
The lady suffered a lot of discomfort for the next day. She phoned the out of hours clinic at the hospital and was told to return but she opted to go the Altnagelvin Area Hospital instead.
Case Study 4
Claim: No test results over the weekend
AN Enniskillen man who went to the South West Acute Hospital for tests last Friday was told there would be no results available until Monday.
"Is the hospital running a reduce service at the weekend? If you take ill on a Friday or over the weekend everything seems to stop. You have to question what services the new hospital has," he said.
The patient spent a number of days in the hospital and said he witnessed staff under "amazing pressure".
"Staff told me they are under pressure, there's no doubt about it. The Western Trust have even had to get volunteers in to help with the visiting experience and support staff," he said.
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Get more stories from our Roundup section
16 Apr 2014 22:30 • Editorial Department
How a woman has been convicted of sexually assaulting a man after touching him and trying to give him a love bite.
16 Apr 2014 19:30
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 33-year-old convicted shoplifter.
16 Apr 2014 17:00
The 32-year-old driver of a car from which there was a strong smell of cannabis has admitted unlawfully having the Class B drug.
16 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department
Our wee county of Fermanagh has a great deal going for it right now.
16 Apr 2014 12:20
A man was reportedly assaulted during a confrontation between a motorist and a group of cyclists on the Sligo Road in Enniskillen.
16 Apr 2014 09:00
Ulster Unionist Assembly member for Fermanagh & South Tyrone, Tom Elliott MLA, and local Councillors, Robert Mulligan and Neil Somerville have met with the management of Fivemiletown Creamery to highlight their concerns over the closure of the creamery.
15 Apr 2014 22:00
A 35-year-old man has been fined £425 and banned from driving for three months after he took his wife’s car without her permission.
15 Apr 2014 19:00
Police in Fermanagh and other parts of F District are asking everyone who uses the roads to promote safety messages through social media over the next three Bank Holiday Mondays.
15 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department
In Fermanagh I don’t think there is anything that causes so much anger and frustration than the weather; specifically the abundance of rain.
15 Apr 2014 13:00
A mentally ill man who bludgeoned his elderly uncle over the head with a hammer until he thought he was dead has been committed to hospital indefinitely.
15 Apr 2014 11:30
Enjoying your chocolate egg but don't know what to do with the packaging?
15 Apr 2014 09:00
POLICE are dealing with a security alert in Fintona, County Tyrone, after an incident in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday).
14 Apr 2014 22:00
A 44-year-old businessman has been fined £500 for failing to knock down a block of apartments that pose a danger to drivers.
14 Apr 2014 19:00
Fermanagh District Council is encouraging householders to have their heating appliances, which have been well used over the winter, serviced and chimneys cleaned to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.
14 Apr 2014 16:00
A 28-year-old man involved in a fight outside a pub claimed remarks had been made about his former partner.
14 Apr 2014 13:00 • Meadhbh Monahan
Fermanagh tourism providers have to “work harder” because the county is “not the first choice destination.”
14 Apr 2014 11:00 • Brian Donaldson
The mother of a soldier serving in the First World War, had to resort to writing for financial help after her son died as result of the appalling conditions right at the end of the War in November 1918.
14 Apr 2014 09:30 • Lily Dane
An inspirational young Fermanagh woman, Rachel Wilson (formerly Byers) was only married a matter of months when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
14 Apr 2014 08:21
A 28-year-old single mother who betrayed the trust of her employer of over 11 years by stealing from his shop has been given 200 hours of community service.