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To pass an earache off as an emergency?

(26 Posts)
poorlyear Tue 18-Mar-14 09:36:36

I have had a mild earache for the past week or so, I didn't book to see the doctor as it hasnt been very painful and I didn't want to waste the Dr's time. Instead I brought some paracetamol and drops from boots and hoped it would go away.

Yesterday afternoon my ear suddenly got very painful, to the extent that I couldn't sleep even after taking painkillers. The pain has now spread to my jaw and I can barely hear. I've never had a problem getting an appointment with my Dr, always the same day or the next, but when I called the surgery they said they could only do Monday next week! The receptionist didnt consider it to be an emergency so I cant get an appointment this week.

WIBU to call the surgery back to request an emergency appointment and refuse to disclose the details? I really don't want to feel this shitty for nearly a week

LaurieFairyCake Tue 18-Mar-14 09:37:57

It's now an emergency - you might have lock jaw or something serious.

Tell them you need an emergency appointment.

Dawndonnaagain Tue 18-Mar-14 09:38:18

Not up to the receptionist. An earache and considerable pain warrant an emergency appointment.

londonchick Tue 18-Mar-14 09:38:49

Look up your local walk in centre and go there instead

Sirzy Tue 18-Mar-14 09:40:31

It is an emergency now. The receptionist can't make that decision

Armadale Tue 18-Mar-14 09:41:30

My view on this is that until a receptionist has done 5 years at medical school they don't get to decide whether I need to see the doctor as an emergency or not.

In the past I have been known to state this when they asked what I had that was so urgent.

ilovesooty Tue 18-Mar-14 09:43:07

It's now an emergency. Presumably you have some kind of turn up, sit and wait to be seen service?

GiveMeStrength2day Tue 18-Mar-14 09:43:09

Yes, definitely see the doctor today. It sounds to me (not that I'm an expert!) your eardrum could be getting ready to perforate. The lead up to that is seriously painful. Once it's "burst" the pain will subside although your hearing will still be impaired (until it has healed) but the discomfort is tolerable.. However this does then leave the eardrum open and your doctor may well prescribe some antibiotics to prevent further infection.
[Disclaimer: don't take this as gospel!]

spikeymikie Tue 18-Mar-14 09:45:36

When my ds has earache to the extent that that normal pain relief doesn't work I always ask for a same day appointment. I always class same day as urgent appointments. If it was an emergency I would be going to A+E.

poorlyear Tue 18-Mar-14 09:48:08

Thanks for your replies everyone, now I can't get hold of them. If I cant get through I'll find the walk in centre. I need to be less paranoid about wasting the Dr's time, I didnt realise an earache could be so serious

ChoudeBruxelles Tue 18-Mar-14 09:51:08

Phone back and say you need to see a dr. It's not up to the receptionist. They're not medically qualified.

Birdsgottafly Tue 18-Mar-14 09:52:07

" Look up your local walk in centre and go there instead"

This comes under the remit of needing an emergancy GP appointment.

If you do end up attending a Walk in center, make sure a Nurse Prescriber is in, so you can be given Anti-Biotics, otherwise you will be told to go to your GP, on an emergency appointment.

It sounds as though you have been fighting off an ear infection, but it has taken hold. It will only get worse.

I would agree - it IS an emergency now. If you have an ear infection that has become acute, you don't want your eardrum to perforate. Phone back for an emergency appointment.

lougle Tue 18-Mar-14 10:09:23

What you need to do is phone the surgery and say:

"Good morning, I need to book an emergency appointment, please." (ie. no request, just a statement of your intention).

When they say 'What for' you say:

"I have an acute medical complaint and need to see a doctor today."

When they say 'is it an emergency?' you say:

"Absolutely. I need to see someone today."

WaitMonkey Tue 18-Mar-14 10:27:52

Hope you have an appointment.

poorlyear Tue 18-Mar-14 11:05:13

Yes! Finally got through, I have an appointment this afternoon! The second lady I spoke to was lovely, must have just got the moody one this morning. Thanks for all your help

Armadale Tue 18-Mar-14 11:06:09

Great, I hope they can sort the pain out for you.

hunreeeal Tue 18-Mar-14 11:07:24

Hope you're better soon.

SummerRain Tue 18-Mar-14 11:10:25

I hope you're ok op, hopefully the abs work before the eardrum bursts. Dds burst in December and she still has hearing issues and occasional pain now, it's really no joke.

ReallyTired Tue 18-Mar-14 11:13:45

I think you do have an emergency. It sounds like possibly you have mastioditis

I hope you feel better soon. I had mastoiditis and the pain was worse than childbirth.

TillyTellTale Tue 18-Mar-14 11:44:57

Glad you called back. When you are in that much pain, it's an emergency. I had something like that recently, and when I described my symptoms to NHS direct on the phone, I was given an OOH appointment, and told I had to go there within two hours.

It took a while for me to believe it all, because I kept thinking, "but it's only an ear". I only actually called up NHS direct in the first place because people made me!

quietbatperson Tue 18-Mar-14 12:35:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 18-Mar-14 12:42:18

I had the opposite problem- I phoned up once to ask for an appointment that afternoon or the next day when I wasn't at work, told them it was for earache, and they said I needed to be seen that morning as it was an emergency!

In contrast, at my new GP surgery they never ask what the appointment is for. They do ask if it can be dealt with over the phone, but not what the problem is. Which is as it should be really.

NUFC69 Tue 18-Mar-14 13:12:03

I have always treated earaches as an emergency since a neighbour of my DSis ignored one for days and then ended up in hospital - by the time the ambulance came he was actually talking drivel (not sure what the problem was, but the net result was that the "gunge" in his ear was actually eating away at his brain, or at least that's what I was told).

PuppyMonkey Tue 18-Mar-14 13:15:23

An earache that suddenly becomes much worse is the very example used on the notice at my doc's surgery: "what constitutes an emergency?" Silly receptionist.

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