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Swine Flu - total nightmare getting medical treatment

(89 Posts)
mumindisguise Tue 14-Jul-09 18:30:25

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rainbowface Thu 16-Jul-09 20:07:49

Moosemama glad he is feeling better, as a mum of 3 myself just wondering did you give the Tamiflu in the end or did he get by with Calpol? Just wondering what I'd do in that situation as we have a confirmed case at my kids school today and I have heard bad things about Tamiflu itself ie vomiting.

stramash Thu 16-Jul-09 21:21:22

TBH I think you're more at risk of an illness being labelled " swine flu" and turning out to be something else ( like croup/meningitis/ear infection for example)than getting the ( rarer) complications of swine flu.

I even heard of one child being triaged as " swine flu" over the phone when he was actually about to go into a diabetic coma ( first presentation, neither the parents nor the GPs fault - he fitted the criteria for tamiflu and the parents were so worried they didn't mention the other symptoms - thirst etc which should have rung alarm bells).
GPs are seriously worried at the moment at being asked to triage febrile illnesses over the phone - worried that they are doling out tamiflu unnecessarily and/or are going to miss a serious life- threatening illness. On top of all their other work. They are close to being overwhelmed from what I can gather.
NHS Direct is F* all use

My dd got tamiflu at the weekend ( from the on call GP ) but only managed a few doses because of the side effects ( fairly spectacular vomiting). In retrospect, she probably didn't have swine flu as she got better within 72 hours. Who knows? The problem is that now she has the " swine flu" label, she can't go back to school or into hospital if she needs to.

Don't know what the answer is. But if 30% of a population of 60 M are going to be infected, GPs ain't gonna be the answer.

moosemama Thu 16-Jul-09 21:22:39

Hi rainbowface,

We did give the Tamiflu as he was really quite poorly when they gave it to us (temp just under 40, shaking and quite delirious). He has had 3 doses now and no side effects.

His temp went up significantly again late afternoon/early evening but was brought back under control by calpol this time. The headache, sore throat and cough have also resurfaced again.

Ds2 was very tired and tearful at bedtime, really hoping he's not coming down with it as he's high risk due to his relatively recent lung problems resulting from seasonal flu and then pneumonia. sad

Sibella1 Thu 16-Jul-09 21:56:43

My DH has been ill from Monday, phoned the GP obviously no Tamiflu as he has pre excisting conditions. He fainted on Tuesday, and now still has a blinding headache, is extremely tired, an extremely high temperature and green phlegm.

I feel like my hands are tied as I can't take him to the GP and they are just not listening or caring. What if he has pneumonia or something - how would we know and how can we get treatment?

We received much better care in South Africa (a supposedly third world country). I tried taking DH to a private doctor on day 2 but the doctor said only the NHS are allowed to prescribe Tamiflu! So even if you're willing to pay for it you can't get it.
I took my 2 girls to the A&E with croup last winter and the doctor said yes its croup - phone 999 if they can't breathe!! Why do I have to wait until it might be too late?

moosemama Thu 16-Jul-09 22:05:59

Sibella, if you think your dh possibly has something as serious as pneumonia - take him to a&e.

I know you said they were hopeless when you took your dds but that doesn't mean they are always like that, it can very much depend on when you go, how long the staff have been on shift and which doctor you get.

Since my ds2 (then aged 4) was sent home by both gps and out of hours docs three times in one week and then nearly died of pneumonia last December, I would always follow my instincts. Better to get him checked out and find out its nothing serious than to regret not making them do something for him.

Don't be palmed off, you/he have a right to treatment. If he has a temperature that is not being brought under control by paracetamol you need to get him seen by someone.

Could you perhaps try calling your gp out of hours service in the first instance and maybe tell them that if they refuse to see him you are taking him straight to a&e?

laumiere Thu 16-Jul-09 22:42:11

Our DS (3) has cerebral palsy and we've always been told to take him to A and E for any sign of breathing trouble. He started showing cold symptoms on Fri, by 12 noon Sat he was having breathing problems.

Our hospital made us wait in Child A and E for TWO HOURS before seeing a doc with all the other kids before deciding it wasn't SF, by which point poor DS was having a total meltdown and coughing enough to make himself sick. We were sent home with antibiotics in the end, but got knows what it would have been like if he had contracted SF.

rainbowface Fri 17-Jul-09 09:40:14

Moosemama hope your ds2 is ok. Sorry to go on about this but do you have to take the whole pack of Tamiflu or just til you think they are feeling better? Just panicing now - shouldnt look at Daily Mail and scare myself!

Sunshinemummy Fri 17-Jul-09 11:18:51

This thread has been quite enlightening, especially mumindisguise's story.

No SF as yet in our house but boss's husband has just been diagnosed (over the phone) and given Tamiflu.

Not worried about me, DP or DS (3 and shockingly healthy) but DD (10m) has had persistent viral infections over the last 6 weeks (and a case of otitis media) leading to three bad attacks of croup - two severe enough to send her to hospital.

Have already spoken to GP about the croup and they have advised that she is young to be having so many attacks and, next time one happens, we should take her straight to A&E and ask for referral to respiratory consultant.

Really hope she doesn't get SF.

smallwhitecat Fri 17-Jul-09 13:56:13

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poface Fri 17-Jul-09 13:59:35

There are many, many fantastic nurses and doctors in the NHS. There are some awful ones. But I do think a lot of them get patient fatigue and get deadened to compassion, just through sheer work load. sad

smallwhitecat Fri 17-Jul-09 14:12:10

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poface Fri 17-Jul-09 14:58:01

Agree swc. But compassion fatigue doubtless does happen a lot.

globaljen Fri 31-Jul-09 14:11:03

I will never use NHS Direct after two appalling incidents. The first time, my son was 8 weeks old and had a cold and croup-like symptoms. By the time they called us back we'd already had to call an ambulance as he had stopped breathing. Our VOLUNTEER First Responders were there in 4 minutes, the ambulance in 8 minutes (bear in mind we live 30 minutes 'normal' drive from the nearest ambulance station). The second time I called them, I had been discharged from A&E following a GP sending me to A&E in the back of a rig with blue lights, diagnosing pleurisy complicated by asthma. The A&E department sent me back home at 11.30pm in a taxi I had to call and pay for myself - my husband called NHS direct the next morning as my breathing worsened; by the time they called back I was already in an ambulance with full morphine drip back en route to A&E. The ambulance driver was the same as before, and FURIOUS I had even been discharged or that NHS Direct hadn't even bothered to call back despite the fact I couldn't breathe well enough to speak to them and in excrutiating pain. The A&E department discharged me AGAIN and I developed secondary pneumonia, falling unconscious in sole charge of two children under 3 because I was so ill, but could not get a GP to make a house call until the NEXT day. NOT good enough.

I have had excellent service from our Out of Hours unit, it is a 30 minute drive but in some ways far better than our local GP (5min away). I had called my GP at 5pm as my son's heart was racing and he had chest pain. The local GP eventually rang back at 7.30pm, and was given short shrift. In the meantime I had failed to contact them a second time, so called Out of Hours. They prescribed Tamiflu for my son and had a prescription filled for him for pick-up in under 1 hour. He was very ill for 36 hours but picked up fast after the Tamiflu. I would not in a million years call NHS Direct ever again, and in some ways am quite pleased my kids get sick out of standard GP hours, as I have found their service far more efficient and sensible - at least the staff who answer the phone for OoH are somewhat trained, unlike the draconian, nosy and rude ignorant secretaries who answer the phone at the local surgery, who only pass on messages when it suits them (if at all).

globaljen Fri 31-Jul-09 14:21:27

To add to previous message: I would strongly recommend that if you do suspect Swine Flu, that it would be wise calling Out of Hours rather than going to A&E unless utterly necessary (leg hanging off, stopped breathing etc). My daughter had 3 serious head injuries at the weekend, and started staggering around and banging her head on things (hence 3 injuries). She had an egg the size of a golf ball on the side of her head and was screaming. I took her straight to A&E who did not see her for THREE HOURS, and would not give her Calpol or let her drink. She is 25 months old!! In the end I took her home as she had not been sick and they would not scan her or admit her for observation - they expected me to keep her awake in the main reception despite it being past midnight. She is fine, but had bad concussion (I took her to the GP the next day).

Meanwhile, a fit looking 20 year old man walked in whinging of Swine Flu symptoms and was seen and admitted within 20 minutes because it was 'protocol'. WTF?!!!

How do I know? Well the receptionist left their notes in full view of the window when I walked up to ask how long the wait would be for my daughter, and to tell them for the second time in 2 hours that there were faeces spread all over the disabled toilet (the only one I could access with my daughter's pushchair). I was given a dirty look, told the cleaner was on a break (for 2 hours?!) and told not to read patient notes!! It was at that point I went home...

NHS - please admit you are overwhelmed, get some professional staff and start behaving sensibly.

*Rant over*

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