Royal Blackburn Hospital apologizes to cancer patient after 14 hour overnight wait at A&E

The executive medical director of the Royal Blackburn Hospital has apologized to a cancer patient after he and his six-year-old daughter waited over 14 hours in A&E for blood test results.

Her daughter was so dehydrated from the 2pm wait that she vomited in the hospital toilet and was put on a trolley and left in the hallway.

Craig Lewis was due to collect tablets from the Royal Blackburn Hospital (RBH) on Monday August 15 so that he could start chemotherapy for rectal cancer, for which he had just had surgery.

The father-of-one, from Bacup, arrived at the RBH chemo unit around 1:30 p.m., with his daughter and six-year-old wife, expecting to be in and out within the hour so he can go home and start treatment.

However, on arrival his surgical injuries were assessed and Mr Lewis was told to go to the emergency room as the nurse suspected an infection.

He said: ‘I checked into A&E just after 1.30pm as the nurse told me to go for a blood test. She thought my surgical wound was infected and said it needed to be checked before they gave me my chemo pills.

Mr Lewis said he was called in for his blood work at 5pm and the results would be around 20 minutes away.

By 10 p.m. he still had not received the results and two hours later he was told to move out of A&E and wait in outpatient care.

He said: ‘I hadn’t brought any cash with me, nor my bank cards, just £7 change to pay for parking as I thought we would be in and out in an hour. We were just going to get my tablets back.

“But because we waited so long I had to use that money to buy food from the vending machine and it only paid for two packets of crisps and a bar of chocolate to eat between the three of us. We were starving and tired, and my daughter was starting to get nervous.

Mr Lewis and his family were then left waiting in the hallway on a trolley, until they were finally told they could leave with antibiotics at 4am the next day – 14.5 hours later their arrival at the hospital.

He continued: “Around midnight, my daughter wanted to go to the bathroom because she was feeling sick. She vomited twice.

“I spoke to the nurse and asked to be seen, but she said, ‘If you don’t like it, I’ll give you a consent form and you can go home, but it may take some time to get another appointment.

Lancashire Telegraph:

“I told her about my daughter, but she said children weren’t allowed in the waiting room.

“I don’t know why we were moved to outpatient care, but we were told only the patient could sit in the waiting room, so we waited in the hallway.

“One of the porters said my daughter looked like she needed to lie down, and he came back with a cart that we both lay down on.

“While we were both asleep we were woken up to be told ‘you can’t sleep here’.

Lancashire Telegraph:

“The doctor then saw me around 4am and gave me antibiotics.

“I’m a very patient man and I don’t argue but I realized this hospital is in a shocking state.

“I don’t know who runs it, but there are areas that need urgent attention.”

Mr Lewis said when the family finally arrived home he managed to sleep for a few hours but collapsed around noon.

Lancashire Telegraph:

He added: ‘My wife wanted to phone for an ambulance but I said I never wanted to go back to A&E in Blackburn again because last year I went there and they sent me home with a cannula attached to my arm.

“I went to Irwell Medical Center in Bacup to see if they could remove it for me, which they did.

“My mental health is already suffering but even more so now after this ordeal.”

Mr Lewis said his wife and daughter went to hospital with him as he thought they would only be there for an hour. His wife does not drive and has limited English, which is why they stayed in hospital with Mr Lewis.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust Executive Medical Director Dr Jawad Husain said: ‘We are extremely sorry to learn of Mr Lewis’ recent experience at the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital and would like to take this opportunity to apologise. This is not the level of care or experience we want anyone to receive.

“Our emergency department has been extremely busy this week with a significant number of extremely sick patients in the department.

“Despite our teams working incredibly hard to ensure that all of our patients are treated and returned home as quickly as possible, some people have waited longer than we would like.

“We encourage Mr. Lewis to contact our patient experience team so that we can investigate and provide him with answers about his experience and personally address his concerns.

“I wish him every success in his recovery from surgery and in continuing his treatment.”

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