Hospital staff apologise after patient left on trolley for 16 hours because they were so busy

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A 91-year-old heart patient who is fighting for her life was left for 16 hours on a trolley in the city’s overcrowded A&E.

Frail great grandmother Louisa Sabey was rushed in by ambulance on Monday afternoon and kept until Tuesday morning in what she described as a “rabbit hutch” cubicle.

“A&E was in absolute pandemonium and packed to capacity with more than 60 people waiting to be seen,” said her granddaughter Karen Jones.

But she described doctors and nurses as “fantastic” and said they apologised repeatedly for not being able to make Louisa more comfortable.

“We’d read about the Citizen campaign to improve the hospital and A&E but this was the first time we’d seen the need for ourselves.

“It’s hard to believe that in this day and age a hospital is so full that a patient who is so old and so seriously ill is left in those undignified conditions.”

Louisa, who already has critical heart problems, was diagnosed with severe pneumonia within four hours of arrival in A&E.

“The consultant who diagnosed her was lovely – but there were simply no beds available on wards for my grandmother to get the treatment and comfort she deserved,” said Karen.

This week Louisa, who lives on Downs Barn,is now getting “excellent treatment” in Ward 3, but sadly has been given a 50-50 chance of survival.

“They cannot operate on her heart because she is too frail. Her organs are shutting down and her body is giving up,” said Karen.

“The doctors and nurses are making her as comfortable as they can, but you can see how stressed they are trying to cope in a hospital that is simply too small to serve its population.

“The government needs to step in and help. It may be too late for my grandmother but we do not want anybody else to suffer in the same way.”

A hospital spokesman said: “We are very sorry Mrs Sabey had to wait in A&E. Monday was a particularly busy day with more than 260 people attending the department, and at times it was clear that the department was too small for the number of people coming in.

“We also have significant pressure on our acute beds due to the numbers of patients unable to be discharged into other care settings.

“We are starting work very shortly on increasing the clinical space in our A&E department this spring, so it better meets the needs of our growing community.”