The executive medical director of Royal Blackburn Hospital has apologised to a cancer patient after he and his six-year-old daughter were left waiting more than 14 hours in A&E for blood test results.
His daughter was so dehydrated as a result of the 14 hour wait that she vomited in the hospital toilets and was placed on a trolley and left in the corridor.
Craig Lewis was due to pick up some tablets from Royal Blackburn Hospital (RBH) on Monday (August 15) so he could start chemotherapy for rectal cancer, for which he had just had surgery.
The father-of-one, from Bacup, arrived at the chemo unit at RBH at around 1.30pm, with his six-year-old daughter and wife, expecting to be in and out within the hour so he could return home and start his treatment.
However, on arrival, his surgery wounds were assessed, and Mr Lewis was told to go to A&E because the nurse suspected an infection.
He said: “I checked in to A&E just after 1.30pm as the nurse had told me to go there for a blood test. She thought my surgery wound was infected and said it needed to be checked before they would give me my chemo tablets.”
Mr Lewis said he was called to have his bloods done at 5pm and that results would be around 20 minutes.
By 10pm he had still not been given the results, and two hours later was told to relocate from A&E and wait in ambulatory care.
He said: “I had not brought any money with me, or my bank cards, just £7 in change to pay for the car park as I thought we would be in and out within an hour. We were only going to pick my tablets up.
“But because we were left waiting for so long, I had to use that money for food from the vending machine and that only paid for two packets of crisps and a chocolate bar to eat between three of us. We were hungry and tired, and my daughter was getting upset.”
Mr Lewis and his family were then left, waiting in the corridor on a trolley, until finally told they could leave with antibiotics at 4am the following day – 14 and a half hours after they first arrived at the hospital.
He continued: “At around midnight my daughter wanted to go to the toilet as she felt sick. She vomited twice.
“I spoke to the nurse and demanded that I was seen to, but she replied, ‘if you don’t like it, I will give you a consent form and you can go home but it may be a while before you get another appointment’.
“I told her about my daughter, but she said kids weren’t allowed in the waiting room.
“I have no idea why we were moved to ambulatory care, but we were told that only the patient can sit in the waiting room, so we waited in the corridor.
“One of the porters said my daughter looked like she needed to lie down, and he came back with a trolley which we both lay on.
“While we were both asleep, we were woken to be told ‘you can’t sleep here’.
“The doctor then saw me around 4am and gave me some antibiotics.
“I am a very patient man and do not argue but I have come to realise that 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 eventually arrived home, he managed to sleep for a couple of hours but collapsed around noon.
He added: “My wife wanted to phone for an ambulance, but I said I never want to go back to A&E at Blackburn, as last year I went there and they sent me home with a cannular attached to my arm.
“I went to Irwell medical centre 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 the hospital with him as he believed they would only be there an hour. His wife does not drive and has limited English, which is why they remained in the hospital with Mr Lewis.
Executive medical director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Dr Jawad Husain, said: “We are extremely sorry to hear of Mr Lewis’s recent experience at 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 unwell patients in the department.
“Despite our teams working incredibly hard to ensure all our patients are treated and return home as quickly as possible, some people have had longer waits than we would like.
“We would encourage Mr Lewis to contact our Patient Experience Team so we can investigate and provide answers for him about his experience and to address his concerns personally.
“I wish him all the best with his recovery from surgery and with his treatment moving forward.”