A father-of-two could have died after he collapsed with chest pains just yards from the hospital where medical staff had earlier refused to treat him.
Jordan Douglas dialled 999 as he lay in the street outside the Western General Hospital with a heart rate of 104 and was rushed by ambulance to the Royal Infirmary – six miles away.
He says the paramedics who treated him were “shocked” hospital staff had turned him away.
The 34-year-old from Mayfield, Midlothian, who suffers from Crohn’s disease was given a chest X-ray and blood tests that came back clear and was put in a cubicle.
Staff eventually told him they had ordered a taxi to take him back to the Western General for further tests as he’d “wait ages for an ambulance” and he arrived back at the hospital he first reported to – over nine hours later.
Jordan, a finance administrator, was operated on the next day with the surgeon discovering a huge abscess called a fistula in his backside that had to be cut open and sepsis which is potentially fatal.
He said the consultant who operated told him he was “lucky” as the fistula had burst and was seeping.
Jordan, who is married to Jenny and has two boys, Harrsion, aged three, and eight-month-old James, was initially told by a receptionist and nurse at the Western General they could only see him after he received a referral from his GP.
He said: “I’m really angry and feel bitter towards the staff.
“I’ve had that nurse before and she’s been really nice, so for them to turn me away was wrong. They could have at least checked my heart rate – if somebody is having chest pains you don’t want to say ‘sorry we can’t see you’.
I felt totally helpless – if I tried to get an appointment with my GP I could have waited weeks and it turned out I needed an emergency operation.
“I know they’re just following the process but they’ve got a duty of care as well. What would have happened if I’d left it longer and the sepsis had spread? It could have been fatal.
“It’s an absolute disaster – I thought I can’t have this.”
Jordan has had numerous operations at the Western General for Crohn’s disease which he was diagnosed with four years ago and recently returned to work after being signed off since August.
He has been treated for depression linked to the stress he’s been under and has to carry a doughnut-style cushion to help him cope with the pain of sitting down. He is also in the process of applying for Universal Credit as he’s been on statutory sick pay which has piled on the pressure.
Jim Crombie, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Officer for Acute Services, NHS Lothian, said: “This is a very serious report which suggests Mr Douglas did not get the appropriate care he had a right to expect. I consider this very concerning and am keen to investigate further.
“I would ask that Mr Douglas contacts our Patient Experience team to allow us to discuss this with him and to review our actions in this case.”