Mum With Pneumonia Treated In Hospital Storeroom Because Of Beds Shortage

14/08/2014 16:48 | Updated 22 May 2015
Mum with pneumonia treated in hospital storeroom because of beds shortage

A mother-of-four with suspected pneumonia was treated in a hospital store room before being sent home from an A&E department because there were no beds.

Bernadette Horton was rushed to Glan Clwyd Hospital in Rhyl, North Wales, after she began hallucinating, her temperature soared and she struggled to breathe.

Nurses decided she was too poorly to sit in the full waiting room and instead sent her to wait in a nearby staff meeting room.

When she was eventually assessed by a doctor, she was taken to a cold store room filled with boxes and a 'makeshift treatment bed', before being told she needed an X-ray but couldn't have one because the X-ray department wasn't running.

In her blog, called Mum v Austerity, the 46-year-old from Prestatyn details her traumatic ordeal at the hands of medics, who she said wanted to help but were under too much pressure.

"My husband found out that there were four doctors in the department, two nurses and one healthcare assistant. It was midweek and yet staff were overrun with sheer numbers of people to treat, there were simply not enough of them to cope," she said.

"The doctor gave us a frank appraisal of the current situation within the hospital and told us they were full, there were no beds available and he was worried I'd have to wait all night in a chair until the day staff came on shift. He said I'd be better off in my own bed than waiting in hospital. He prescribed antibiotics and told me to come back if my condition worsened."

Bernadette returned home and battled through the next few days before seeing her GP, who told her she should still be in hospital. She was told other people had been sent as far away as Shrewsbury because of the hospital being stretched to the limit.

She added: "I am now having further blood tests next week as I am still experiencing poor energy levels and feel very weak.

"It's frightening to think the staff really wanted to help but couldn't because they were too busy concentrating on managing people rather than caring for them."

A spokesman for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: "Although we cannot comment on individual cases we are very sorry that Mrs Horton feels let down by the care provided to her. This is not the type of care we want to provide for our patients at all.

"During the last few weeks we have faced significant pressures, along with the rest of Wales, due to a rise in the number of seriously ill patients being admitted to hospital.

"Our doctors and nurses are working extremely hard to cope with increased pressure on beds as patients need to stay longer in hospital to recover than normal. We are also working closely with the Welsh Ambulance Service and General Practitioners to reduce admissions and minimise delays at the A&E department wherever possible."


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