‘I’d rather die than go back to SWAH A&E’

A WOMAN in her late 70’s has been left badly shaken after a trip to A&E at the South West Area Hospital left her ‘emotionally and physically traumatised’.

Following a harrowing isolated 12-hour wait, the patient, who went into the emergency department after becoming very short of breath said: “If I ever get sick again I will die at home rather than go back to SWAH A&E.”

After developing a chest infection ten days prior and taking antibiotics, she felt very short of breath and when her breathing became seriously congested she rang 999.


The ambulance came promptly and she was brought to A&E by two ‘excellent and competent’ paramedics.

Once she arrived to SWAH ED, she was seen within ten minutes and a nurse took her blood pressure and assessed her.

“I then sat there on the chair for about an hour. Then another young lady appeared and took me into another room. She took my bloods and was also excellent and very kind,” she said.

“I was in a wheelchair, so she wheeled me back to the waiting room of the A&E department, and that was at approximately 11.30 at night on Saturday.”

It was after this that the patient’s A&E experience started to go rapidly downhill.

“I sat there, and sat there, and sat there,” she explained. “Nobody came near me until 7 o’clock the next morning, and that was without any sleep.

“I felt it was a cruel way to treat a 78-year-old lady. To leave me in a chair all night – nobody ever checked to see if I was alive or dead.”


By 8am the patient was getting more exhausted and felt like she was going to collapse.

“I was hungry and feeling terrible. I went up to the reception and a nice kind lady at the desk told me that I was fourth in line to see the doctor but the doctor doesn’t start until 9 o’clock,” she said.

“So I asked if I could get a cup of tea and some toast to keep me going and she said: ‘Oh yes, you are here so long you qualify for a cup of tea.’”

At 9.15am the patient was seen by a doctor who took an X-ray of her chest. The X-rays showed she had fluid in her lungs, which caused her wheezing. She was given an inhaler and will now have a repeat X-ray in one month.

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