Four hour hospital wait for heart problem patient

A WOMAN is demanding an apology from Hinchingbrooke Hospital after her 74-year-old husband, who has history of heart problems, was left unattended on a trolley in a corridor for four hours. Kathleen Robertson says she is disgusted at the treatment of her

A WOMAN is demanding an apology from Hinchingbrooke Hospital after her 74-year-old husband, who has history of heart problems, was left unattended on a trolley in a corridor for four hours.

Kathleen Robertson says she is disgusted at the treatment of her husband Eric when he was taken to A&E in Huntingdon last week after collapsing.

Mrs Robertson, 69, said it took more than four hours for a doctor to see her husband, who had been left unattended.

"It is absolutely outrageous," Mrs Robertson said. "It seems that elderly people are a dispensable commodity to hospitals these days but Eric is not dispensable. He is my husband."

It took so long for a doctor to see Mr Robertson that his daughter Helen was able to return to Huntingdon from a holiday in Yorkshire by the time he was checked.

Mr Robertson said he was eventually so disgusted by the lack of action that he left without treatment to seek advice from his GP.

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Mr Robertson, a retired carpenter, collapsed unconscious during a weekly exercise session at St Neots Leisure just after 3pm on Thursday afternoon.

He has attended the cardiac rehabilitation sessions since 1999 when he suffered three heart attacks which left him fighting for his life in intensive care.

Mrs Robertson said: "I took a phone call from the course instructors saying that Eric had collapsed. I rushed to the centre and found the paramedics attending to him.

"They performed an electrocardiogram test which showed a blip in his heart beat and the ambulance took him to Hinchingbrooke."

Mrs Robertson said she did not travel with her husband in the ambulance as she had no way of getting home and was told to ring A&E to check his status.

"I waited two hours and rang up but they told me he was on a trolley and had not been seen by anyone. I rang back in an hour and was again told he was on the trolley and again an hour later," Mrs Robertson, a retired legal secretary said.

When the doctor finally saw her husband, he was told he would have to be kept in overnight because he had been waiting more than four hours, Mrs Robertson said.

Disgusted, Mr Robertson discharged himself from hospital and was driven home for the evening by his daughter.

By contrast, Mr Robertson was seen by a doctor within 45 minutes of phoning Eaton Socon Health Centre on Friday morning and was diagnosed with low blood pressure.

Mrs Robertson added: "My husband could have died on that trolley. If someone had come and said something to him it wouldn't have been so bad but the only contact he had with anyone was someone who asked 'are you still here?' He didn't even get a drink of water.

"If it can happen to my husband it can happen to somebody else who might not be so fortunate."

Mr and Mrs Robertson were both born in Great Barford and have lived together in St Neots for more than 40 years.

A spokesman for Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust said: "The target within Hinchingbrooke's A&E department is to see, assess and plan a patient's treatment within four hours of arrival at the department, but this is dependent on the needs of other patients being seen at the department at the same time.

"We do not comment on individual cases, all complaints received will be investigated thoroughly through our standard complaints procedure.

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