Since the end of October, we have experienced a continuing roll of medical issues.
We’ve just returned from a horrible journey to visit one sick relative, who was a dire emergency. Once, stabilised, an ambulance transfer 120 miles south was necessary because of existing complications for which there was no provision at the county hospital. Visiting the patient was restricted by virtue of the medical problem and the distance.
The tyranny of distance increased when the patient was moved a further 100 miles on to a hospital that had assessment equipment that our REGIONAL hospital does not have. The assessment procedure, when started, could not be completed because of unforeseen medical difficulties.
The journey to hospital number two is awful and takes as long to negotiate as one of the other cities even further afield. It required overnight accommodation, the hospital was too far in mileage and time to be able to cover everything in a day. Travel to one of the other major hospitals in Scotland would have been rather easier, even if more distant from us. There would be fewer farm tractors competing for the use of the main road.
Our relative’s choices were limited we heard; waiting at home for the grim reaper to arrive, fairly soon, or to undergo a different medical process, which would, if it succeeds, provide a better quality of life. The patient was to think about it, though in fact, the decision was firmly made as soon as the facts were stated.
Overnight, another close relative was admitted as an emergency to the county hospital. There was talk this morning of arranging out-patients’ appointments for tests, but that plan soon changed when the patient was seen to be quite distressed and simple medication could not be successfully given orally. When we visited mid afternoon, the patient was looking decidely unwell, and there was a canular in place for a variety of intravenous substances to be introduced to best effect.
As we left the hospital, we saw the wife of a friend and she was waiting for him to be transferred by helicopter, as a priority, to a hospital further afield, as soon as a bed became available in one of three centres. She cut short her emergency call to NHS 24, telling them, there was no time for all their “nonsense” (menu-driven repeat questioning) and she called 999.