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To complain about A&E not changing my dressing?

(271 Posts)
HarderToKidnap Sun 21-Apr-13 15:15:42

I have an open wound on my abdomen that has a small pack in it. Last Friday my consultant told me I would need to see someone on the Saturday to have the pack removed and changed. I was due to drive 2 hours to stay with my MIL for the weekend, to catch up with the all the inlaws and attend several family events.

On Friday morning after seeing my consultant I called my MILs GP to try and arrange to have the pack changed the following day. GP flatly refused to help or see me the next day but did tell me I could go to a walk-in at the local hospital.

Friday pm I drive 2 hours to MILs. Sat am I get up and head to local hospital. I find the Walk In boarded up and looking deserted. There is no other option to see anyone other than A&E. Receptionist/Triage nurse said they couldn't take the pack out. Just that. They couldn't, and wouldn't do it. It wasn't their dressing to change. Oh, and the walk in had been closed for 3 years!

There followed quite a long Mexican stand off during which she repeatedly told me they wouldn't change the dressing, and where I asked for reassurance that I would not get an infection or the pack would not adhere to the inside of the wound if I didn't get it changed until the Monday. She told me she couldn't assure me of that but that they couldn't do it. She phoned an OOH who wouldn't do it either. In the end I told her I would go to the toilet, remove pack myself and if I experienced a lot of pain/bleeding I would come back and be seen as an Emergency. She then said they would do it "just this once" and let me go through to a deserted waiting room, I was called 2 minutes later and dressing changed by a lovely nurse, back in car 10 minutes later.

Now, I'm a frontline HCP and bolshy with it, so I got seen - but what if you were a vulnerable person who had the temerity to be far from home when you need your dressing changed? Who thought if the receptionist was telling you they wouldn't do it, that you would wait however many days until you were back home, potentially causing problems? There was no "we can't do it, but if you go here/do this they will see you" just a very very flat "no". I'd like to complain to PALS, not about my treatment but about the lack of healthcare options there and the fact I had to throw a hissy fit to get medical treatment I needed. Other people wouldn't have thrown the hissy fit and wouldn't have got seen. WIBU to do so?

HumphreyCobbler Sun 21-Apr-13 15:32:30

I don't think you are particularly unreasonable actually. Through no fault of your own you were left in this situation (if a doctor told me there was a walk in facility where I was going then I would believe them, wouldn't everyone?).

The fact is, you WERE in that situation. And A&E was your only help available.

SlimFitWellies Sun 21-Apr-13 15:33:27

I do not think you WBU. As others said upthread... you tried all the options, were given incorrect information, and needed it to be changed. I would complain.

thistlelicker Sun 21-Apr-13 15:33:57

Great .... A poster who doesn't see they are unreasonable and doesn't see they are in wrong

HarderToKidnap Sun 21-Apr-13 15:34:20

This wound has been open six months and counting Euphemia! If I wait til it's better before going anywhere I shall be dead I expect...

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 21-Apr-13 15:34:35

And that point is extremely important. you phoned the GP in that area who said no they wouldn't do it but told you there was a walk in centre!

So you go down, believing that to be the case. It's not your fault that it's been closed for years. The GP who is in that area should have known that.

What should you have done when you found yourself down there, having established (or so you thought!) where you could get the dressing changed only to find that you can't? Driven the 200 miles back?

Madamecastafiore Sun 21-Apr-13 15:34:59

FFS if you are a HCP you should know to plan travel around your healthcare needs not expect A&E to sort you out.

Your selfishness astounds me.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 21-Apr-13 15:35:10

thistlelicker, the OP is not alone in thinking that she was not unreasonable

HarderToKidnap Sun 21-Apr-13 15:35:29

It's dificult thistlelicker because I agree it's not in A&E's remit - but on the day, in my shoes, what would you have done really? Surely there should be some option to see someone about things like this?

HumphreyCobbler Sun 21-Apr-13 15:35:58

she did plan! She asked a doctor and he told her there would be an appropriate service. FFS

HarderToKidnap Sun 21-Apr-13 15:36:43

I expected the walk-in centre to sort me out, Madame. As advised by the local GP.

greenfolder Sun 21-Apr-13 15:36:55

tbf, i would hope that elderly and or vulnerable people would not choose to travel several hours away from home when in such a state. you say you are a front line hcp so i assume you know what you are doing etc but 99% of the rest of us would not hop in a car with such a wound to drive that far and leave ourselves at the mercy of whatever healthcare there was at the other end.

thistlelicker Sun 21-Apr-13 15:37:18

Simple I would have travelled!!!!! Knowing I had a pack in! I would have let my own gp/ooh/ walk in who is local and not 200 miles away

thistlelicker Sun 21-Apr-13 15:38:36

Wouldn't have travelled! Bloody iPad

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 21-Apr-13 15:38:39

Nope. I don't think she was unreasonable. I think she was let down.

She called her mother in law's gp whose practice is in the area she was visiting. They told her they wouldn't do it but she could use the walk in centre.

So she goes down there. Believing the GP. It's not her GP who told her. It's the GP in the area she's visiting! Was she really unreasonable to trust the GP?

So she's down there. 200 miles away from home. Goes to find this walk in centre and it's closed down.

I don't think it's her fault.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 21-Apr-13 15:38:51

If the op has to have this changed daily for six months I don't think it unreasonable to travel AFTER CHECKING WITH HER GP THERE WOULD BE AN APPROPRIATE SERVICE WHEN SHE GOT THERE.

FryOneFatManic Sun 21-Apr-13 15:39:07

I think YWBU to make the visit in the first place. You knew that the dressing needed changing so why didn't you postpone the visit? The catch up with your MIL and family events are not so earth shatteringly important that you couldn't miss them, at least for a while.

Both my MIL and DM have recently had medical issues which meant they had to remain near home in order to have regular stuff done (on the lines of a planned dressing change, daily injections etc). They both postponed trips a long way away which they had hoped to go on, because the medical issue was more important.

You knew your dressing would need changing on the Saturday so you chose to visit your MIL a long way away and waste the time in A&E for something that was neither an accident nor an emergency.

HumphreyCobbler Sun 21-Apr-13 15:39:21

gosh, I did shouting

I have pregnancy rage hormones.

HarderToKidnap Sun 21-Apr-13 15:39:47

I've had this wound six months. Most people who live with regular dressing changes have long term open wounds/sores etc and have to get on with life, which may include leaving your home town once in a while.

crashdoll Sun 21-Apr-13 15:40:13

In that situation, I agree there wasn't much to do but you would be VERY unreasonable to complain about A&E. They did you a favour when it was neither an accident nor an emergency.

HarderToKidnap Sun 21-Apr-13 15:41:32

I repeat I would not have gone if I'd have thought A&E would be the only option. I was told, by a local doctor, that there was a walk-in which would happily do it.

bruxeur Sun 21-Apr-13 15:41:43

If you're a frontline HCP with a chronic wound needing regular changes of dressing, why haven't you been doing it yourself?

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 21-Apr-13 15:41:51


You chose to travel on a none emergency basis in the full knowledge that you required a standard medical appointment.

You are also a HCP so know that a & e is for accidents that are also emergencies.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

DolomitesDonkey Sun 21-Apr-13 15:41:54

Yab all sorts of rude and unreasonable.

I'm astounded you were up to a 200 mile journey and an argument to get a packed dressing changed. Having had a couple in my time I've only been able to sleep for a week after.

crashdoll Sun 21-Apr-13 15:41:56

I just saw that you 'threw a hissy fit' so complaining will make you look like a total arsehole. Next time you travel, ensure there is an up and running OOH.

Madamecastafiore Sun 21-Apr-13 15:42:57

Did your GP look it up on computer whilst you were there or were you trying on his immense knowledge of the doctor to advise you of what services were available around the country?

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