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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?

sneezecakesmum Tue 23-Apr-13 16:59:30

No idea why so many problems with wanting a gp service away from home. Local GPs are supposed to accept patients as temporary residents. No idea why people are being refused this service. This includes out of hours. Complain if this doesn't happen. I've never had a problem with doing this.

megandraper Tue 23-Apr-13 14:42:18

YANBU OP and I'm amazed everyone thinks you are. Of course you should be able to travel around the country. Just because you need a dressing changed shouldn't mean that you are chained to your house/local area. The NHS is a national organisation and should be able to cope with this.

I had a problem with antibiotics for one of my children - he was on a 10 day course and we spilled some of the bottle so that he was 2 days short, while staying with ILs in a different town. The local pharmacy would only dispense with a prescription. My doctor would not fax the prescription. The local doctor would not give us an appointment to get a prescription without us registering as patients, and even then we'd have to wait a week. In the end, i managed to get the pharmacy to sell us 2 days worth privately. It was quite stressful, because no-one would help solve the problem (apart from the lovely pharmacist, who even apologised for the high price of the ABs.) It's just silly that processes should be so convoluted.

olgaga Tue 23-Apr-13 13:16:07

Its ridiculous that this should cause so many problems.

I agree. They really aren't geared up for it at all and in OP's case it was complicated by the fact that it was a weekend.

LessMissAbs Tue 23-Apr-13 12:42:22

OP, it'd be easier going on holiday abroad and being seen by a local doctor privately than this carry on. There seems to be a gap in NHS provision when you travel more than 10 miles from the place of your birth. Sometimes people have to travel. We have a National Health Service, not a local one. Its ridiculous that this should cause so many problems. For example, I used to work as a locum and had to work away from home for weeks on end. Seeing a GP was ridiculously difficult, the best suggestion anyone could come up with was that I registered as a new patient each and every time I worked away from home for a few weeks, then de-registered and re-registered back home when I returned! Farcical.

I think it turned into an emergency.

AmberLeaf Tue 23-Apr-13 11:20:09

I refer back to casseroles excellent post.

olgaga Tue 23-Apr-13 11:18:32

No, I carried on disagreeing with people who disagreed with me.

It's called discussion.

AmberLeaf Tue 23-Apr-13 10:39:18

But the OP conceded she would be unreasonable to complain about A&E pages back olgaga, but you carried on attacking every other aspect of this situation regardless.

olgaga Tue 23-Apr-13 10:23:59

The GP gave her some out of date information, that was unfortunate, and I think she is entitled to complain about that - as I have already said.

The question was AIBU To complain about A&E not changing my dressing?

But they did change the dressing, even though that was something they wouldn't normally do. I hardly think the triage nurse (who also tried to make other arrangements for the OP) was wrong to point that out.

We are allowed to have opinions, and express them, as to whether we think OP's preparation for her journey, and her expectations of A&E, were reasonable or not - and form our opinions based on our own experience.

That's the point of this topic, and that's what I have done.

Sirzy Mon 22-Apr-13 23:18:52

Your complaint should be with the poor care (or no care!) given by the GP and the false information given out.

I would also be pissed off that the NHS websites aren't up to date. Whenever I travel with asthmatic DS I find the details of the local hopsital and walk in centres online before going and have assumed them to be accurate.

I don't think given the circumstances you were wrong to ask a and e to help.

effedorf Mon 22-Apr-13 22:59:50

Couldn't have put it better myself Casserole.

bassetfeet Mon 22-Apr-13 22:54:35

The nurse overseeing your discharge should have arranged a district nurse to visit you and change your dressing on the Saturday.
They will have been given details of your surgery and wound care protocol

Casserole Mon 22-Apr-13 22:32:49

Olgaga your responses are so breathtakingly rude that I can only assume you have decided to dig your heels in and wilfully ignore everything the OP posts that refutes your very eloquent but entirely unfounded posts.

The OP has had this wound for six months. She has not required daily dressings up until this point. When she was told she would need to arrange a dressing with 24 hours notice, bearing in mind that AT THIS POINT the journey was now non-negotiable as her son had already gone up there and would need to be brought home, she immediately took responsibility and contacted the GP.

He gave her information which she then again took responsibility for, by Googling it to check. At one point in this thread you stated that would be good enough for you. When it was pointed out that the OP had in fact done this you upped the ante. Now, according to you, she should have contacted the GP, Googled AND RUNG the clinic.

Your comments:

"The truth is it's not always possible to have medical treatment that fits in around your social life." and "I would have rung the walk-in centre and made arrangements beforehand to make sure it was ok. Before allowing my BF DS to go on ahead with my MS suffering MIL"

are nasty, unnecessary and display either a profound lack of reading comprehension or an ugly tendency to want to point-score at the expense of someone who has tried to salvage a bad situation. Given your written eloquence I suspect the latter.

This thread is pointing out several new people I intend to avoid like the plague on here. OP, you are not one of them.

wongadotmom Mon 22-Apr-13 20:20:39

You had your dressing changed at A&E. YABU to complain about it!

olgaga Mon 22-Apr-13 19:46:35

I would never, ever believe someone who told me something like that without checking it for myself.

Quite - I agree. I have also had experience of this kind of fobbing off, which is why I said upthread that I would have called to make sure I had been given the correct information. Especially as it was a weekend.

However, it was too late by then anyway as the OP's son had already headed off to the MIL's - 2 hours away.

The truth is it's not always possible to have medical treatment that fits in around your social life.

Hatescolds Mon 22-Apr-13 19:45:52

Actually RubyGates the ones being most unreasonable in your scenario was your dentist who refused to see you.-- officially Gp's and other doctors can be disciplined for treating a dental problem!! In real life vast majority do due to scenario described by you but I suggest you complain strongly to the dentist.

RubyGates Mon 22-Apr-13 19:37:41

I don't think the OP was being particularly unreasonable. I had a similar stupid "not emergency" that ended up being treated at A&E as a point of last resort.

My GP was struck off, the remaining GPs/practices in the building were supposed to absorb his patients, but when i had a very badly swollen abcess that my dentist couldn't give an emergency appointment for (it being half term) he sent me to "my doctor". I went to the surgery to be told that they would not see me nor would any of the GPs register me unless I returned at a particular time to register (even though they had an agreement to do so, and despite the fact I had all the necessary paperwork with me). The receptionist then told me that it would all be all right because I could easily go to the walk-in centre that was less than a mile away!

How wonderful, what a useful resource! But she must have known , as I did that the walk-in centre had been closed on weekdays since the new-year. She was just trying to get rid of me, and less well informed person would have accepted her advice.

I ended up in A&E for some antibiotics and strong pain killers and was seen by the triage nurse practitioner within ten minutes. If they had refused to help me as well, I dread to think what would have happened.
I think sometimes overworked HCPs just give an answer that lets them off the hook, and passes the buck without fully thinking of the consquences. I would never, ever believe someone who told me something like that without checking it for myself.

saintmerryweather Mon 22-Apr-13 19:17:07

She hasnt bloody drip fed, her MIL had her son as she was due to go there this weekend so she would have had to go get him at least, she may as well habe stayed there since she checked with a local gp and was told she could have her dressing changed. Which bit of this story is difficult to understand?!

AmberLeaf Mon 22-Apr-13 18:54:25

I can't see a drip feed?

Im jealous of all these people with helpful consultants and accomodating district nurses though!

I was told that district nurses would only come out to people who were housebound.

Must be an area thing.

thistlelicker Mon 22-Apr-13 18:34:05

Perhaps op should have been a bit more flexible with her arrangements! I did originally think op was bu but she has since added firer info... Bit of a drip feed really! Still think district nurse should have been arranged by consultant

AmberLeaf Mon 22-Apr-13 18:27:37

I know it's not as simple as elastoplast, I had an open wound that needed extended daily dressing myself, so have had experience of various types of packing dressing etc.

From what the OP has said, it was a case of the wound was packed and dressed at the hospital on friday and needed repacking the following day.

It wasn't infected because she mentioned the chance of it becoming infected if not dealt with on the saturday.

thistlelicker Mon 22-Apr-13 18:15:31

Dressings are complex dependant on the wound! It's not as simple as Elastoplast!!! Perhaps wound needing cleaning or its now infected hence its went from infrequent changes to daily!

AmberLeaf Mon 22-Apr-13 17:58:48

I imagine the OP would have had a supply of the packing dressing. I always did.

Sorry, but it is really not that difficult to do and I'm amazed that a trained nurse would struggle with it, it was done by the A&E nurse in the end so she obviously managed it.

thistle, maybe the consultant thought she'd have no problem accessing a walk in centre?

thistlelicker Mon 22-Apr-13 17:54:45

A wound of this sort,..... Is it not possibly down o tissue viability long term as op has suggested seeing wound is 6 months old.. Or am I getting mixed up ?

featherbag Mon 22-Apr-13 17:48:32

Basic nurse training covers basic dressings and basic dressing techniques. A packed wound requires a specialist dressing, which requires the person changing it to have had specialist training.

thistlelicker Mon 22-Apr-13 17:48:30

My point is.... If the op knew she was going away and the consultant told her she needed it dressing. Why didnt consultant arrange for a gp? Or a nurse to sort the dressings? Was the consultant aware op plans were in place? Care plan would have been accommodated accordingly

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