Hospital staff refuse to help schoolgirl whose mum had collapsed outside
HOSPITAL staff refused to help a schoolgirl whose mother had collapsed on the pavement directly outside.
Amie Gilbertson ran into the Midlothian Community Hospital in Bonnyrigg in tears after mum Jenna passed out but the receptionists told her they could do nothing.
The girl was forced to ring an ambulance to help her mum, with the paramedics who attended blasting the “shocking” inaction of health staff.
Today, health chiefs apologised to the family and pledged a full investigation.
The drama began when Amie, a 13-year-old pupil at Dalkeith High School, went to the hospital with her mother, who was getting an X-ray on her injured wrist. Jenna felt faint as she left the hospital and collapsed to the ground outside.
Amie said: “I was so scared, I just kept screaming “mum, mum please wake up”! But she wouldn’t wake up and nobody would help me. I’m angry and sad that the hospital acted like that, I’m just glad my mum is OK now.”
After running back out of the hospital, Amie managed to help her mum onto a bench and then phoned her dad William who was unable to pick them up as his work’s van had broken down. By this time Jenna had made it to the hospital car park but became unconscious again as she sat in her car - putting young Amie into a state of complete panic.
The teenager phoned her dad again then called an ambulance before going back into the hospital only to be met with the same frosty response from the staff who still refused to help. Paramedics arrived at the scene and treated Jenna before giving her the all clear after it appeared her blood pressure had dropped due to flu like symptoms.
Jenna, 38, a learning assistant from Dalkeith, said she was still “shocked” by the treatment her and Amie received from the hospital staff.
She said: “I think it’s absolutely disgraceful. I can’t believe they would treat someone like that.
“I know that it’s not an A&E department or anything like that but to not give a child assistance when somebody is lying unconscious is unfathomable.
“Who would do something like that? If you fainted at a supermarket car park the staff would come out to help right away.
“You would assume that hospital staff who are trained would come to the aid of a child. Amie is fine now but she can’t believe it and gets upset talking about it.”
She added: “I had been to see my GP and she gave me a referral for an X-ray on my wrist. I had been under the weather with the cold and I had been feeling quite hot but I felt fine to go to the hospital.
“I got the X-ray done and I was coming out the hospital I just felt a bit faint, sick and dizzy. I thought I’d try and walk it off, so I walked a few steps then fainted and fell to the ground.
“I was lying on the pavement in the pouring rain. Amie had gone back into the hospital to get help and the reception staff told her that she’d need to go back outside as there was no-one who could help.
“She was distressed, really distressed, she was crying she was upset - in a state of panic.
“Amie came back out and said ‘they won’t help me - what will I do?’ I was sitting up by this point and she helped me make it to a bench and I sat there for a bit.
“I walked a few yards over to my car in the hospital car park and then I felt terrible.
“I just got sitting in my car then I passed out - apparently Amie was screaming at me to wake up, she was totally distraught.
“As she was on the phone to the ambulance, she was asking the receptionists what the hospital name is and what town it is in? - whether she should say Dalkeith or Bonnyrigg.
“So they knew she was on the phone to the ambulance service and they still did nothing to help her.”
To make matters worse Amie was not allowed to sit with her mum when they arrived at the hospital.
Jenna said: “I had gone up to the main reception as I went into the hospital, handed over my GP referral form for the X-ray and the receptionist told me that Amie would have to sit in the main waiting room on her own while I sat in the X-ray waiting room as there wasn’t enough chairs in the X-ray waiting area. I told them this was my daughter but they still said she’d have to wait on her own. I’ve sent a couple of emails to NHS Lothian and followed their complaints procedure- I’ve not got any faith in their service now.”
The paramedics told Jenna they thought the way the hospital staff had behaved was “shocking” and noted in their report that “her daughter who immediately asked staff for help however was told no help available!!”. The paramedics asked her if she wanted to go to hospital for a further check up but Jenna said no as she felt fine.
They put her fainting down to dizziness and cold/flu symptoms.
Allister Short, Joint Director for Midlothian Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “I would like to offer a sincere apology to Jenna Gilbertson, her daughter and her family. We place a high value on patient care and we will be looking into this matter fully to find out what happened and what we can do to ensure something like this does not happen again.”