A pensioner who was suffering a haemorrhage so severe that blood started coming from her eye was left waiting eight hours in an A&E reception for a bed.
Joyce Green had to build a makeshift bed out of three chairs and use a Tesco carrier bag as a pillow as she struggled to rest while waiting to be treated for her horrendous nose bleed.
She waited from 8pm to 4am to be admitted onto a ward after having an epistaxis – an acute haemorrhage – caused by very high blood pressure.
The 72-year-old claims a nurse ignored her pleas for help and she says her horrendous experience left her feeling as though she was treated in an “inhuman way”.
Medics first tried to patch up the grandmother-of-three at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, but the bleeding could not be stopped so she had to be sent to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford where she had to spend the night on three chairs.
Once she finally got on the ward, it transpired there were actually three beds available from 7pm – while Mrs Green spent the night sleeping in reception.
Mrs Green from Cliftonville, Kent, said: “I consider myself a healthy and fit person at my age, but even I found it hard to cope with how I was treated.
“I spent eight hours in the William Harvey’s A&E, sitting upright in a chair, cold, anxious, with my nose plugged, looking quite a sight.
“When I tried to ask a nurse for help, it was a choice of discharge yourself or sit down and wait. I didn’t want to be discharged, I wanted help.”
Mrs Green’s ordeal started when she was taken to the QEQM hospital by ambulance at midday on November 18 after paramedics were unable to stem the bleeding from her nose, which had also started coming from her left eye.
“The doctor there packed my nose and l was given medication to reduce my blood pressure,” she said.
“l was then told l would be transferred to Ashford, which has an ear, nose and throat department, where I could have it cauterised.
“Before being given the medication, I felt I was going to faint and the lovely nurses put me on a bed, put me in a hospital gown, took bloods, and other observations.”
But Mrs Green says as soon as she was transferred to the William Harvey, arriving about 8pm, her “horrific” ordeal began.
“After waiting and being seen by a triage nurse, I was finally seen by a lovely doctor two hours later, who told me I needed to be admitted and they were trying to find me a bed,” she said.
“I was told to sit back down in the waiting area, which is very difficult as I recently damaged my coccyx in a fall and sitting for long periods is very painful.
“I was cold and anxious and wishing I could just be at home, but I needed to be treated.”
She claims at midnight, she asked a nurse what was happening but was told to either discharge herself or go back and wait.
Mrs Green added: “She seemed angry and said finding me a bed was not her job and that I could discharge myself and she would prepare me a form.
“I was horrified at this and went quietly back to my seat.
“About 2am l asked the security guard if I could lie down on a bed in a room which was clearly not being used, but he said no.
“So instead I put three chairs together to make a bed and used my carrier bag as a pillow.
“I may have fallen asleep for a minute or two but at 3am l had a pounding headache, possibly from dehydration.”
Mrs Green said she eventually spoke to a “kind” nurse who chased up the bed and at 4.10am – more than eight hours after arriving at Ashford – was admitted to the ward, where she says her care was exceptional.
She added: “When I was there I was told the three vacant beds had been available since 7pm. I was left waiting for almost nine hours, when there were actually beds there. There was a serious problem with the bed-management.”
Mrs Green says she hopes by sharing her experience, it may stop a similar experience happening to others.
A spokesman for East Kent Hospitals said: “We are very sorry Mrs Green waited longer than we would like for a bed.”