Patient with infection and 'heavy bleeding' left sitting too long in chair of A&E corridor

The health board has been told to improve the experience of patients who require privacy.
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A patient with ‘heavy vaginal bleeding’ following surgery was left sitting too long in a chair in an accident and emergency corridor.

Following a complaint an NHS Lothian A&E unit has been ordered to assess an unacceptable delay in assessing the patient, referred to as C.

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A watchdog ruled that the unit didn’t assess C “sufficiently quickly” and the way they were asked to wait was not appropriate given their condition.

Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty ImagesPhoto: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images
Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

The health board was also told to consider what it can do to improve the experience of patients who need privacy when awaiting medical assessment.

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) upheld a complaint from C about their care and treatment following a hysterectomy. The patient said they had not been given adequate pain relief after surgery.

After being discharged, C was later readmitted suffering from a blood clot and an infection but was sent home again with oral antibiotics. C argued that they were not fit to be discharged on both occasions but this was not upheld by the SPSO.

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The watchdog heard that patient C started bleeding heavily after being discharged but when an ambulance was called the patient was they could face a long wait. Their partner took them to hospital.

But the patient was then forced to sit on a chair in a corridor, despite suffering from ‘obvious’ heavy vaginal bleeding. Later, a consultant checked the patient and sent them up to the gynaecology ward where they were then taken for emergency surgery.

NHS Lothian accepted there were failings in C’s care, but SPSO concluded they had not set out clearly how they planned to address these issues and upheld this part of C’s complaint. Health board chiefs apologised to the patient.

Dr Tracey Gillies, Medical Director, NHS Lothian, said: “We apologise for any distress caused to the patient while they waited for their assessment in A&E and are implementing the findings of the report, including an assessment of the delay in triage, and considering what can be done to improve the experience of patients who require privacy while waiting to be assessed.”