Diabetic Woman’s Distressing Experience at A&E: Waiting for Hours without Food or Insulin

Diabetic Woman’s Distressing Experience at A&E: Waiting for Hours without Food or Insulin

Bethany Frost, a 26-year-old woman diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last November, recently recounted a harrowing experience when she suffered a hyperglycaemic episode and fell down the stairs, dislocating her elbow.

In her account, she revealed that despite seeking medical attention at Accident and Emergency (A&E), she was left waiting for an astonishing nine hours without access to food or insulin, essential for managing her condition.

The Incident and the Waiting Period

The incident occurred earlier this month when Bethany experienced hyperglycaemia and promptly headed to the A&E, arriving around 11:30 pm.

While she received an X-ray for her dislocated elbow, she wasn’t seen by a doctor until 8:30 am the following morning, a delay that heightened her distress.

Bethany expressed feeling extremely unwell during her time at the A&E, with stomach and head aches, shivering, and an urgent need for insulin to regulate her high blood sugar levels.

Lack of Medical Resources and Support

Bethany’s distress was exacerbated by the lack of proper care and resources at the A&E department.

She reported not receiving any food during her wait and was surprised to discover that the department had no access to insulin.

Even though she requested insulin after four hours of waiting, she was informed that the hospital pharmacy was closed, leaving her without a crucial element of her diabetes management.

A Troubling Night at A&E

The night Bethany visited the A&E was unusually busy, even though it wasn’t a weekend.

She observed other patients enduring prolonged waits and apparent distress.

She recounted the case of a family of three who had been at the A&E since 6 am and left only at 7 am the next day.

Another elderly woman remained in pain for an extended period, highlighting the challenges faced by multiple patients seeking urgent medical attention.

Seeking Resolution

After her troubling experience, Bethany reached out to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) for assistance.

However, she expressed frustration at not being able to connect with anyone from the service.

She also planned to get in touch with her consultant to address the issues she faced during her time at the A&E.

Hospital’s Response

The Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust responded to Bethany’s account, stating that no official complaint had been received from her.

Despite this, the Trust expressed willingness to discuss her experience with her.

The Trust emphasized its commitment to prioritizing patients’ immediate medical needs in the Emergency Department.

It acknowledged the ongoing efforts to improve performance against the four-hour standard for care, while also acknowledging that surges in demand for emergency care could pose challenges.

The Trust clarified that patients using the walk-in emergency care area are reminded through the public announcement system to alert staff if they require food or drink for medical reasons.

For patients arriving via emergency ambulance, pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes, are incorporated into initial assessments to ensure appropriate and timely care.

The Trust also operates an out-of-hours emergency advice and supply service to provide access to medications beyond regular working hours.

While Bethany’s experience underscores significant issues in her access to timely care and essential resources at the A&E, the hospital’s response acknowledges the challenges they face in delivering emergency care amidst varying demands.

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