Wednesday, 22 May 2013

It's Not An Accident Or An Emergency.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending A&E for a couple of hours, (Long story, I'm fine-ish) 

While I was there i managed to indulge in one of my favourite pleasures in life, people watching, or more accurately, idiot watching. (I live in East London, it is a hobby I can indulge in frequently, the idiot to norm ration is off the scale) What started off with just a passing interest in my fellow attendees of A&E soon turned into frustration beyond belief and a part understanding of why the NHS is in trouble.

People are idiots.

Firstly, may I remind you of what A&E stands for?


So if for example you have been to the doctor in the morning and the doctor thinks you have a grumbly appendix or an ovarian cyst, then yes, go on down.

If you have been juggling chainsaws and you lose concentration for a couple of seconds and one saws off a finger or two, I am sure that your local A&E will be more than welcoming.

If you have a sore throat however, I don't blame the receptionist for looking as if she would like to give you a real reason to be in A&E. After a couple of hours in the waiting rooms even a mild-mannered, calm person like myself (Oh ssssshhhhh, my blog, my rules) can be driven to handing out chainsaws and yelling, "Amuse me, Bitch"

I genuinely saw a man in his early twenties, bowl up to the receptionist and when he was asked what the problem was, said, IN A NORMAL voice, "I have a sore throat" I admire the receptionists restraint as I think if I was in her shoes twenty seconds later he would have had a genuine complaint of a sore throat where I would have strangled him. She calmly directed him to the walk-in centre to which his only reply was, "Nahhhh, I just thought I'd get seen quicker here"

Dude, it's A&E, not a fast pass at Disney!!!!

One thing I see every time I have to visit A&E is baby with a temperature, it happens, I have been there myself, we have all heard about febrile convulsions and when we can't get our baby's temperature down, it is scary. you want to get your baby cool and comfortable. So why the hell do you bring your fever-ridded offspring to the hospital wrapped in more blankets than an egyptian mummy while either squeezing it close to your chest, FULLY-CLOTHED may I add, or in a car seat, covered in sodding more blankets?

Again, receptionist, I applaud your restraint today when pointing out to the couple with the "hot baby" "Of course it is bloody hot, you have him fully clothed and wrapped in two blankets, I am hot just looking at him, strip him"

The other wonder of A&E that I noticed yesterday that a Dr has the magical powers to heal limps, Three people came in while I was there, all dragging a leg and wincing as if they were smuggling razorblades in one shoe, and yet ALL of them left after Triage, un-bandaged, and NOT LIMPING anymore. Screw Lourdes, we should send everyone to a Triage nurse. If all they wanted was a cuddle and reassurance it wasn't broken (Are cuddles available on the NHS?) couldn't they have got that elsewhere? and if they felt the need to exaggerate their injury in the first place, common sense tells me that it wasn't that bad to begin with.

Meanwhile I am behind these idiots in the queue and am seriously fighting the urge to give them something to queue up again with.

There were coughs, sneezes, a child zipping around the waiting area so fast and so loudly that I assumed his mother was the patient and had had no other option but to bring her child, but alas no, they called the boys name and the mother who had previously been ignoring her child's destructive and loud behaviour suddenly became No 1 contender for the Mother of The Year awards, (If she could have walked in breastfeeding him just to show how much she truly cared for him, I fear she would have) 

and I am behind these idiots.

Eventually I was seen, but the delay due to people just clogging up the A&E unnecessarily was obvious.

The only ray of light was when a nurse came out and called for "Gaynor, Gloria Gaynor?"

(At first I was afraid......)

But it drove me insane and I am sure it drives the receptionists, doctors and nurses insane on an hourly basis. I raise my glass to their restraint.

What do you think?

Are more and more people abusing the A&E?

Have you seen people going to A&E for something ridiculous, like a sore throat or worse?

What's the worst thing you have seen someone go to A&E for?

Or even, do you think that is what the A&E is there for and they should just get on with it?

Let me know.

Big Fashionista x x x



  1. When I worked in A&E a gentleman came in at 3am on a thursday because he was worried about a mole on his leg.
    Had this mole suddenly appeared? Changed? Bled? No. It had been there 7 years. 7. But this Thursday he had just had enough of it.
    I can give a thousand similar examples.

  2. One of the problems is that people are giving up trying to see their GP and going to A&E where they know they'll be seen. Far too many surgeries have the system that ours has - phone for an appointment when they open at 8am and the line is constantly engaged until 8.30 at which time they tell you all appointments for that day are gone and you will need to call again at 8am the next day. That can carry on for weeks, or until you die, whichever is sooner. So you try to book an advance appointment - no, nothing available for at least 6 weeks. Which is OK if you have the sort of schedule you can pencil illness into in advance. In areas where there are no walk in centres, the crazy appointment system means that people are using A&E as one because the alternative is simply no healthcare at all.

    1. so true, GPs appointment systems are often hopeless, i don't know anyone that would go to A&E by choice, the wait is usually over 4 hours.

      And as to 'do you need to go, are you really ill' - erm i don't know that's why i need a diagnosis, yes it might be a migraine, or a blood clot, indigestion, or a heart attack...etc etc

  3. Lmao at Gloria Gaynor!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. On the couple of occasions that I've had to use A&E I've always been so impressed with them (this was mainly at Canterbury hospital) - but some of the things people turn up for are absolutely insane.
    Unfortunately I fear that the difficulty that people have in getting an appointment with their GP (again, I'm happy with my doctor but I've heard horror stories) and the danger of using the Internet to self diagnose (and being told you have but seconds to live by are both contributing to people either seeing A&E as the easiest way to see a doctor or a source of reassurance that they do, indeed, have a common cold - regardless of what the computer says.

    I've always been impressed with NHS Direct which I've had to use a couple of times since having a baby and not knowing how the hell it works. This service is supposed to filter out some of the crap before it gets in the car and heads towards the hospital (as well as having other uses) and I hope that its starting to work.

  5. I'm the opposite. I waited 3 weeks to go to a&e because I thought my ankle was sprained, turns out it was broken!

  6. I think the "best" one I have come across was a couple of months back when my littlest has suspected appendicities. We were sitting in the Peds waiting area at around 9.30/ 10pm when a group of 6/7 teenagers walked in, the "patient" was complaining of a cough and pain in doing so. (Should also point out that the "patient" made it clear they had attended earlier in the day, was about 15 and there were NO parents present)
    The group sat down in the PEDS waiting area and proceeded to shout, swear and just generally behave like twerps, then when the "patient" hadn't been triaged within 3 minutes- they all trooped outside for a fag!! Cue Triage calling the "patients" name. I decided not to be horrible, I told Triage they were out having a fag, but also asked that they be removed from PEDS waiting due to behaviour. The last I saw, some relative in the adult waiting area was in the "patients" face telling them to STFU!
    My littlest was fine- severe tonsillitis causing inflamed lymph glands in the groin.

  7. Years ago, I worked as a doctor in an A&E unit. Never again. If anything can strip you of your caring for others, it is working in A&E (don't worry, I no longer work there). I would regularly get people coming in telling me that they had drank some vodka; had a few beers, ate a kabab, smoked some weed, dropped an E and now felt a bit funny. Well yeah! They used to look so shocked when I told them that's what drugs do, and that they were lucky to be alive. I also used to see a lot of people with hangovers. But a special award for idiocy has to go to the young man who attended A&E with vomiting after a rather serious weekend of drug and alcohol consumption. When he was being hooked up to a drip of anti sickness medication, he protested as he did not agree with western medicine and did not like to take drugs.

  8. In many peoples minds, A&e is now "anything and everything"....
    Although I am guilty of taking a perfectly healthy, but crying 5 week old. In my defence, she didn't come with a manual, I was sleep deprived and terrified of breaking her.... She also didn't come with a warranty!!!

  9. I agree that too many people use or abuse A&E, as an alternative to seeing their GP. One solution to this would be to place a GP in an area next to A&E. I don't know if some UK hospitals already do this. When I worked In Brisbane OZ, over 20 yrs ago , they had "Acute" and "Non Acute", and patients were triaged respectively. Non acute patients waited their turn in order of arrival ,some not too happy at being thwarted from the fast track. If non acute patients arrived through the night they were given the option of waiting for this area to open at 08.30 or leaving.

  10. I work in a hospital (on a ward not in A&E) but one thing that always baffles me is people who come into A&E with diarrhea and vomiting. I'm talking young, normally healthy people who probably just need a few days in bed, plenty of fluids plus a sick bowl and access to a nearby toilet.

    Coming into hospital and potentially passing on your germs to sick and genuinely poorly patients is dangerous and in my opinion selfish. Norovirus outbreaks are a big problem in UK hospitals but could so easily be avoided! A&E should be your last port of call (like you said it's for accidents and emergencies!) but some people need serious educating on this.

  11. I've just finished a placement in A&E and couldn't help but laugh/get frustrated at time wasters.
    If the patient sees their illness as an accident or emergency then we have to treat them :/

    I'll never forget the patient that came to us with an ingrown toenail...

  12. I have been to A&E on a number of occasions and because I was a 'genuine' case each time (bursting appendix, broken bones, acute infection...) I was treat with such care and empathy.

    I was usually in too much pain / distress to pay attention to what was going on, but a great number of infants in blankets, drunks with faces like minced beef etc.

    I do agree with the comments above, that it could be due to how hard it is to get seen out of hours by a doctor, or even with in working hours, now we have receptionists like guard dogs.


  13. We've been to A & E a couple of times, waited hours after being triaged for doctor to send us home without doing anything. Last was when my 4 yo had a serious bump and we couldn't stop his mouth bleeding. They kept him here 4 hours late into the night, about 3 hours beyond when it had speed bleeding.
    Triage should be better and that would hurry up the process, weed out the idiots too

  14. Haha, this is BRILLIANT! I once interviewed did a feature called 'Confessions from A&E'. What they have to put up with is ridic! x

  15. Dealing with the general public in my day job, and being on the receiving end of mega stupidity 40 hours a week, I can only imagine what A & E staff have to deal with.

    The least emergency which had me attend A & E was a huge allergic reaction to an insect bite on my ankle, which happened outside GP hours and swelled so bad it was cutting circulation off to my foot. There was no out of hours GP service at that time (I live in Ireland) though there is one now. Called the nurseline who told me to go to A & E, 4 hours waiting and a couple shots of antihistamine later and I was grand.

    Can't help but think if there were better out of hours services for GPs this wouldn't happen (as much).

  16. I'll never forget the time I got a phonecall from my husbands work saying they'd just put him on an ambulance suffering with severe chest pains. I rushed to A&E to find him hooked up to an ECG, wires everywhere, beyond myself with panic (early onset heart disease runs rampant through the men in his family and his father had passed away from heart failure a year earlier...thankfully for my hubby it was indeed a false alarm) to be sat next to a drunk t**t who started banging on about how he'd been here hours before my husband, why wasn't he being seen to, and crying about how much pain he was in (apparently he had wobbled into a sprained ankle). He eventually limped off for a fag...during which a very rushed off her feet nurse came looking for him to give him pain relief. God bless our NHS staff, because they truly are angels!

  17. I cant stand when people waste A&E nurses/doctors time. My mum occasionally works in A&E and says that all the staff get so frustrated due to this because its so constant. The NHS said this week that A&E is fit to burst and staff cant cope but I think if timewasters stopped clogging it up, it wouldnt be so stretched.
    I burnt myself last year very badly in the kitchen and had to wait an hour to see anyone, and there was a little girl waiting with the same sorts of burns as me but was waiting longer but I could hear other people going to reception with complaints like 'I was drinking the other night and punched a wall and my hands still a bit sore I think it needs an xray' You cant help getting really annoyed at these people! xox

  18. There should be a big burly bloke with a Taser at the entrance to every A&E in the land. He's have only two questions - 'Accident?' and 'Emergency?' and if it's neither, taze 'em in the genitals and fling them into the nearest lake.

    I've only ever rocked up to A&E when I've been in agony or at near death - with an ectopic pregnancy which was soon to rupture, with a fucking great big hole punched in my kneecap after falling onto a 6 inch bolt from above, or with a badly sprained ankle I can't walk on at all. I feel guilty even going in with the latter.

    The only downside with modern medicine is natural selection doesn't work any more. Some people are literally too stupid to coexist with the rest of us.

  19. I have allergies which cause my tongue to swell and throat to close up. One episode I walked through the door and I was on a drip and treated straight away. The second I went to a different hospital and was told I had to wait my turn, it was only when I was wheezing and struggling to breathe that it was deemed an emergency. Before that the same limps were going in before me! I felt I was tarred with the same brush as all the time wasters because it was late at night and at the time I was a student!

  20. I had to go to A&E a few years ago on a Friday night and it definitely opened my eyes to how people go for the slightest thing, not to mention the people who had a few too many. Hats off to the A&E staff - what an amazing job they do. I hope you're okay and on the mend!

  21. Unfortunately, it's not just A+E that is abused - lots of 999 calls are now a farce and even the new 101 service is being bogged down by idiots.

    What can we do? People panic, people go to hospital. For a scratch. Madness.

  22. I HAAAATTTEEE A&E. I avoid it at all costs, because it's just a horrible place. We have out-of-hours emergency doctors that work from 8pm-8am in a clinic in town and that's who I always ring if I'm worried about something. When my son had trouble with his breathing, all I had to do was call the office and they'd tell me to come in and arrange for us to use a nebuliser, give us emergency medication until the next day or whatever. I haven't been to A&E in years, the last time my husband had to go (door hit him in the eye & split his eyebrow open) - he sat waiting, bleeding for 5 hours. I couldn't do it, I'd murder all around me.

  23. I once saw a young man come in A&E. he was completely fine he just came in because someone punched him (he didnt have any bruises or marks or anything). He sat for ages with all the staff giving him dirty looks. It was so obvious he was just there so he could say "I had to go to A&E" when he reported it to the police. He was in like a minute when he got seen. Clearly "you don't have bruises. You don't have a head injury. Nothing is broken. Fuck off"


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