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Being busy is never an excuse for rudeness

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I was admitted to hospital recently with a severe asthma attack. I saw a doctor quite quickly, which was good. However, that is where the positive experience ended. I had no contact with anyone for four hours until I asked a sister what was happening and was told they were waiting for a bed.

Three hours later, I’d had no further contact with nursing staff. I was extremely tired and becoming agitated because my breathing hadn’t improved and my inhalers weren’t helping.

When I asked the charge nurse on the evening shift if he knew what was going on, his response was: ‘I’ve been busy since I came on shift. I’ve got somebody next door who’s really poorly and you seem well enough to be able to walk to the toilet.’

He was very dismissive and made me feel that I was being a nuisance and had no right to be there. The patient next to me also said he was rude.

I hadn’t even asked for a glass of water because I didn’t want to make a fuss.

When my mum phoned the ward, the charge nurse told her I was going to ward 25. I had only asked for information. I could see they were busy but someone could have told me this.

My experience on ward 25 was much better, certainly medically speaking, though there were worrying issues of cleanliness. The sink by my bed was backflowing with dirty water during my entire stay. My chair had a big stain on it which, judging by the colour and smell, was urine or worse. The cleaner said it was too late to clean it, and brought something like a big nappy for me to sit on.

The toilet floors were splashed with urine. I avoided one of them because my slippers were sticking to the floor.

On a positive note, most of the nurses were kind and caring.

Alex Harper, Hampshire

This is an edited version of a story on patientopinion.org.uk

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