Disabled man left worried about future treatment at Northampton General Hospital after 28-hour stay

Stephen discharged himself because he did not want to take up a bed for someone more sick than him

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 5:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 5:28 pm

A disabled man has been left worried about the next time he needs to treatment at Northampton General Hospital (NGH) after a frustrating experience.

Stephen Rodgers waited on a trolley in a side room for 17 hours before being given a bed following a fall in the shower on Monday morning (February 3).

After around 28 hours in the hospital, the 63-year-old discharged himself as he felt others needed the bed more than him.

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Stephen Rodgers

Stephen might need to have his leg amputated from the knee down because of gangrene in his toe but is concerned about any potential operation at NGH.

"If I have to have my right leg off, it's making me very wary about going into hospital. I'm very worried about it," he said.

Stephen has orthostatic hypotension, meaning he suffers from a drop in blood pressure when standing, causing him to collapse sometimes but he can usually get himself back up.

But the incident on Monday was too severe so an ambulance was called to his home in Blackthorn.

Paramedics treated him before he was taken to the hospital on blue lights at around 8.30am.

According to Stephen, he was given a trolley in A&E to wait on and had a CT scan at around midday but could not leave afterwards because of his condition.

At around 8pm, after little interaction with nurses, he was asked to leave the room and go into the hallway, which he refused.

Stephen was eventually moved to a bed with privacy screens in a ward at around 1am in the morning.

He had had enough of waiting by noon on Tuesday when he discharged himself

"I was in that bed but they could have put a person who was iller than I was in there because as far as I was concerned, I wasn't ill," he said.

Stephen does not blame the doctors and nurses at the hospital for his ordeal, saying they treated him brilliantly.

Instead, he criticised the huge demands on an under-staffed NHS with a lack of beds and inadequate after-hospital care so patients can go home.

"I'm not complaining about the staff at all because they can only deal with the cards they're dealt with and I like my slogan, 'profit before patients,' and that's how I feel," he said.

A Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust spokesman said it experiencing high levels of demand at the moment with 447 patients attending the emergency department on Monday.

"At times, to ensure patients are kept safe and to enable our team to treat our most unwell patients, we do have to use other areas of the department," she said.

"We understand that being asked to move around the department and having to wait for a transfer to a ward can be frustrating and distressing.

"And we are very appreciative of the support we get from our patients when they are asked to move to help us maintain patient safety."

The NGH spokesman added it was sorry Stephen felt the standard of care he received was not what he would have expected or what it aims to provide but could not comment further.

“While Mr Rodgers’ hospital attendance and admission were unavoidable, there are times when members of the public can help prevent a visit to the hospital by making sure they seek help from their local pharmacist, GP or NHS 111 as soon as they begin to feel unwell," she said.

"We know a great many people are doing all they can to help, and we are grateful for their support."