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BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 04 May 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1165
  1. Mary Price

    In December 1994 Mary Price was taken to the local accident and emergency department after a fall and an initial diagnosis of fractured femur. She had to wait over 40 hours before being operated on. Disturbed at the poor standard of care that she received she wrote an account of the events and sent a copy to the hospital's chief executive. Mrs Price's account of her treatment is followed by the chief executive's comments.

    Tuesday 20 December 1994

    5 00 pm: Arrived in casualty. Seen by nurse and houseman, taken to x ray. Pushed into freezing cold passage and left alone. Doctor appeared and I returned to stretcher room. I gave the name of my orthopaedic consultant and asked if I could be transferred to the local independent hospital. My consultant could not be contacted and I later discovered that he was away.

    I was very sorry to hear that the corridor was cold. I have contacted the works department, at this time of year it does not appear to be a problem.

    The accident and emergency department is a very busy department and patients are individually assessed and if it is not considered that they need a nurse escort they will be left alone while waiting for tests. Staff are always on hand to help. I know when you are in pain it can seem like an endless wait when you are alone.

    Mr A was the designated orthopaedic consultant of the day. He was actually on leave and one of his colleagues was covering for him.

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