Far be it from me –

Insult to injury?

on August 5, 2017

The how and why is not yet apparent but at around 10 pm on Monday 31st July 2017  I was at home and received an electric shock to my hands and arms from a power socket,. Having phoned 111 and established that under NHS guidelines, electrical injuries must be looked at within 4 hours, I tried to follow the advice of the clinician from 111,  and breathe deeply to stay calm until help arrived.

At 11.40 pm I found myself in A&E department. I was transported there on a stretcher in an ambulance when ECGs carried out in my home, revealed an irregular heartbeat.  The paramedic  had also noted one of  the pupils in my eyes was bigger than the other.

Walking into the A&E department with two paramedics, and my husband we found ourselves at the back of a long queue.   Glancing ahead we saw patients on trolleys, a handcuff, blood streaked patient in a wheelchair, escorted by two policemen, and heard a patient calling out about someone who had been injured in a shotgun incident.    Probably 20 minutes later, my husband and I were led into a packed waiting room and reassured that another ECG had been pre booked.  Staff told us that the A&E department had been getting busier and busier but since the closure of the A&E 19 miles away, what we were experiencing was not unusual for a Monday night.

We found two chairs to sit on; one was a swivel type office chair so I perched on that, while my husband sat nearby.   And we waited.    By 1.45 a.m. I’d had another ECG which thankfully had returned to normal.   Two more checks on my eyes revealed there was nothing wrong.   Subsequently I’ve realised that because I’ve had double cataract surgery I no longer have binocular vision, so that probably accounted for the concerns shown by the lst paramedic.   This is something I will check out with my GP.

By 2 a.m. I was told my obs (Blood Pressure and pulse) were OK.   At this stage the triage nurse asked us if anyone had told us that there would be a long wait to see the hospital Doctor.  No we said.  Well it’s not really their place, came the reply.    The triage nurse indicated that we would be able to see the Doctor by the morning and said it was “my choice”

We waited and by 3 a.m. I still hadn’t been seen by the Doctor.   We’d been given a beaker of water earlier, after the last ECG and we went to get a drink from the vending machine and decided we’d hold on a little longer.    I went to reception desk at 3.30 a.m. and found out there were still 7 patients ahead of us in the system, and the patient in front of us had already been waiting for 6 hours.   Just before 4. a.m. I spotted an email address on a poster ekh-tr.patientexperienceteam@nhs.net and decided I would send in some feedback at a later stage.   I then texted a local taxi company, who sent a taxi to pick us up at 4.30 a.m and took us home, for much needed sleep.

 

Yes. I’m  counting my blessings; trying so hard not to remember the forced electrical convulsive therapy treatments I’d endured in 1994 and grateful now for paracetamol to ease the pain; thankful to dedicated NHS staff.    Recovering now from my ordeal, I’ve had to phone the duty doctor at my Doctor’s surgery because I had a nagging pain at the top of my rib cage and thanks to a conversation with him, I now understand that when someone has an electric shock and is thrown across the room, muscles contract so I now can identify my pain as muscular-skeletal and can take Paracetamol.  The duty doctor also explained that the lst paramedic had asked me to remove my two magnetic bracelets and my Ladycare magnet, to ensure an accurate reading from the ECG.  It is unfortunate that while being cared for by the NHS in A&E I have been re traumatised by the sights and sounds in the department, and by the memories of ECT that this electrical injury has triggered.   To reiterate, I am grateful to the kind and caring Paramedics, and to the caring Nursing staff on duty that night; they were clearly rushed off their feet and under enormous pressure; but I can’t help but agree with the parting words of the Duty Doctor ; that this government is destroying the NHS.

 

 

© Judith Haire 2017

 

 

J

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 responses to “Insult to injury?

  1. Your description is so vivid and I can just imagine the frustration mixed with gratitude. Here in the US, emergency room waits are similarly excessive and ridiculously understaffed. So glad to hear you are on the mend. I hope your whole home is looked over for electrical issues. PTSD is no joke. I admire your strength, patience and endurance !

    Like

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