My Dad was seriously ill a while back. He’s 86 years old and getting increasingly fragile.
My sister called me up. He had a urinary infection. When I saw him he was stuck in bed, shivering, unable to move. He was unsteady on his feet and needed help to walk
We called the doctor, who took one look and said he should be in hospital.
What followed was really disturbing.
The doctor rang the hospital. Obviously I was only privy to one half of the conversation, but I could guess the other half by what I heard the doctor saying.
The conversation lasted for some time – maybe half an hour or more – during which time the doctor’s voice became increasingly agitated.
It was obvious that the hospital were refusing to take my Dad. They seemed to be finding every excuse not to send an ambulance.
I think they must have asked the doctor why he didn’t treat my Dad at home.
“Because he’s very fragile, and I’m worried that he might fall over.”
A couple of days before Dad had tripped over in the hall when coming home. He’d fallen on his face and had some bruising around the eye and his forehead was badly grazed.
This was a completely separate issue from the urinary infection, but having been told about it, the hospital now decided to take this as their primary concern.
They said he would have to go to A&E for tests.
It was about 11pm by now, and we were told that it might take up to 4 hours for the ambulance to arrive.
It was at this point that we decided that going to hospital was probably a bad idea: as if waiting half the night for an ambulance, and then being taken to A&E in Canterbury to spend more time on a trolley before being seen, would help his urinary infection.
Luckily I wasn’t working so I opted to stay with him instead
What was really worrying though was to hear the obvious reluctance of a hospital to take in a sick person.
I would guess this was for financial reasons. Such is the state of the NHS today, more concerned with money than with health.
CJ Stone is an author, columnist and feature writer. He has written seven books