Doctor in the House? You’ll be lucky!

Doctor in the House

Recently, Mrs Aaaaargh was taken ill, very ill in fact. It started suddenly about 3pm on Tuesday and she was violently sick with diarrhoea. Like most of us she took herself off to bed but finally contacted me at work about 6.30.

When I got in I called the doctors surgery to get an out of hours doctor to see her…. but no, it’s not like that now. I got put through to someone who was obviously asking questions, entering the answers and following screen prompts. The outcome was that we didn’t need a doctor but to get some Dioralyte from the 24 hour Tesco and sip on that and ice lollies to replace the lost fluids.

I explained she couldn’t keep these down but was told if it continued for 5 days (yes, 5 days) she should contact her GP. I’m no medical expert but that sounded a long while but you have to assume these people know what they are talking about.

The next day, after not being able to take on any fluids we contacted the GP surgery. I went down and picked up a prescription for a tablet to stop the sickness, trouble was this wouldn’t stay in her system. That night (over 24 hours now) she called for an ambulance. They wouldn’t send one out but got a nurse to call us back and she did eventually agree to send one out. The paramedics checked her blood pressure and temperature, said A & E wasn’t what she needed and called the local Emergency Health Centre. They wouldn’t send a doctor out so an appointment was made for 4.45am (half an hour’s time) and I had to take Mrs Aaaaargh in the cold and rain.

She was eventually seen just after 5am having waited 20 minutes, feeling like crap and soaking wet. The doctor injected her to stop the sickness and told us to contact the GP next day if she wasn’t any better.

She wasn’t so I went to the surgery in the morning (couldn’t get through on the phone) but again the doctor wouldn’t come out so an appointment was made for 10.20am. We got there on time but didn’t get to see the doctor until 10.45 when he referred her to hospital.

I had to drive her there of course and she was immediately put on a drip due to the massive loss of fluid.

If a doctor had come out when we first called, not only would Mrs Aaaaargh have been treated quicker (it eventually took more than 48 hours) and suffered less but the NHS would have saved the cost of an additional doctors appointment, a paramedic team visit, the Emergency Health Centre time and probably some hospital time as they would have caught the problem earlier.

I also need to add that at all stages we mentioned that our grandson had been diagnosed with Campylobacter virus a week or so earlier (we were told at the time that it was not catching) and that we had been looking after him over the weekend. When Mrs Aaaaargh was in hospital, as soon as the tests showed she had caught it, she was isolated – so much for it not being infectious.

We don’t have any comaplaints about the hospital, it would just have made more sense to have been there earlier.

But there’s progress for you. You had more chance of getting a doctor to visit in the old days on his horse and cart than you do now.


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