Family gave up on A&E after seven-hour wait in vain to see doctor

By Michael Upton | 07/04/2017

Family gave up on A&E after seven-hour wait in vain to see doctor

A HOSPITAL has apologised after a sick five-year-old girl and her family endured a seven-hour wait at A&E in the middle of the night before giving up and going to see their GP instead.

Olivia Matthias was taken to hospital by ambulance with her mum Kerry (38) and siblings Chelsea (10) and Charlie (11) after struggling to breathe and coughing up blood.

But single mum Kerry said that after being formally admitted and briefly checked on at 12.45am on Tuesday, they were left all night in the waiting room at Rotherham Hospital without a doctor or nurse coming to see them and treat Olivia.

She eventually left in a taxi at 8am and took her daughter to see her GP, who prescribed an inhaler and painkillers.

Kerry said: “I feel really let down. I wouldn’t have treated a dog that badly.

“The paramedics said we needed to get Olivia to hospital straight away and I didn’t have anyone to look after my other children so we all went together.

“Poor Olivia spent all night there in her pyjamas, I feel terrible about it.”

Kerry, of Leigh Croft, Maltby, said she had spoken to staff at the admissions desk during the night to ask when it would be Olivia’s turn to be seen but added: “They kept saying they would get around to us.

“I know you sometimes have to wait in A&E and would have been happy to wait a while, but seven hours is a long time to wait to not even see a doctor.”

Kerry said she had taken Olivia to the GP with breathing difficulties last week, when she was given antibiotics, but the worried mum had called the NHS helpline at 11pm on Monday when she began having trouble breathing and coughing up mucus and blood.

“They said she needed to be seen by paramedics and they arrived at 12.30am,” said Kerry.

“They said she was short of breath and her heart rate was too fast and she needed to go to A&E.

“We were admitted at 12.45am and then waited to see a doctor, who they said they would get out to see us as soon as possible.

“There was no offer of Calpol or anything, we were just left to wait. The place was packed.

“We were still there waiting at gone 7am. The ambulance man came through at one point and said he couldn’t believe we were still there.

“I asked at 7.30am how far along we were and they said there were still three people ahead of us.

“My daughter was there all night in her pyjamas. I felt terrible.

“Not one person came to see us.”

Kerry said that after a sleepless night, she had given up waiting and left in a taxi at 8am.

Her family GP had said Olivia had a viral problem and gave her medication.

She said she had filled in a comment form at the hospital and now planned to make an official complaint.

A spokesman for The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust apologised for “any anxiety and distress” caused to Kerry and her family and said staff would be happy to discuss the mum’s concerns with her.

She added: “We have to prioritise patients who have urgent, life threatening or life limiting conditions. However, we do work hard to ensure waiting times are kept to a minimum wherever possible.”

The spokeswoman called for the public to help keep waiting times down by treating colds and flu at home, consulting a pharmacy, GP or NHS 111 or going to the Rotherham walk-in centre.

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