Asthma UK community forum

rant about boxing day/hospital

i'm really really tired of being told to come in early for my asthma and then being fobbed off like i'm being fraudulent, and recently its been really starting to *!$$ me off.

i say recently, i mean Christmas/boxing day.

i had been vomiting for a few days (including Christmas day) so meds havent being staying down (my asthma gets a bit temperamental without theophylline/pred), so about 4 am i rock up at A&E, getting my mum to drive me so i dont have to use an ambulance. and obviously as i have staggered into triage i must be fine... the nurse declares that i'm 'hyperventilating' ( i am slightly blue at this point), get taken round to majors despite my sheet of paper which says 'please direct me straight to resus' she tells me to take two puffs of blue of my inhaler and as i cant breathe it in properly apparently i'm 'not taking it properly, so of course you'll end up in A&E'. so majors, take a blood gas, and have a neb, promptly get moved to resus after seeing some familiar faces, ended up with some adrenaline, magnesium and more nebs, the first doctor ended up googling half my meds, itu get called, some one comes down to see me we both agree that i dont need itu, after asking if i have any problems at home or exams in january (i do but wasn't going to be saying so) as i find that they like to pins things on stress.

The ward isn't much better and i get discharged in a few hours with a course of pred which i apparently dont need but only because i asked for it (which i didnt)and a discharge letter saying 'probably mild asthma exacerbation ? ', and i still wasnt given my morning meds in hospital so had a hellish night.

i think the lesson i've taken away from this is, i cant go in unless i'm dead or dying... somehow i feel limited with my options.

is there anyone else whose been made to feel fraudulent etc when going in to hospital/A&E or Gp?

8 Replies

I've sort of experienced both extremes. I'm still fairly new to asthma, so my first visit to A&E was not the most encouraging.

They kept telling me rather dismissively that my oxygen levels were fine even though I was struggling to breathe. I have since learned that normal sats are quite common during a severe excacerbation, but that time they made me feel like I was just panicking. They kept asking about my stress levels whilst I was still too wheezy to even speak!

After several nebs, I overheard one of the A&E docs telling the nurses not to administer anymore nebs (even though I was still wheezy and x-rays had shown I had a chest infection as well). The words ""wasting money"" were thrown about and I'm sure he must have known I was within earshot. In the end I was sent home with antibiotics for the chest infection, but no pred. My GP had to prescribe that some days later when my breathing was no better. She was not at all happy that the hospital had sent me home at all, let alone without a course of prednisolone.

Fast forward 10 days later, when I was blue lighted to A&E again (this time to a different hospital). The way they treated me was completely different. I was taken seriously from the start and was moved straight into resus. Not much longer after that, they moved me onto the ward. Because of my previous experience, I still felt like a fraud for being there in the first place, and it did feel strange to have people fussing around me. When my breathing got worse on the ward, I don't remember much (was moved to itu after that) but the staff moved quickly and did not stand about asking after my stress levels. Total polar opposite experience, but I did not bounce back 10 days after discharge that time ;)

I reckon A&E departments should be renamed J&H for Jekyll and Hyde.

Anyway, I'm sorry they did not take you seriously this time. Unfortunately it happens, but usually once you see a familiar face, they tend to get things moving along.

Hope you're feeling better now, at any rate.


Totally different situation, but yes! My daughter is nearly 4 and query asthmatic. During flare ups, she's always much worse in the night (as is the norm), so we phone NHS24 for support/advise, they tell me to take her to the out of hours at the hospital, the doc there makes me feel like crap, that I'm wasting their time, they take her temp, listen to her chest then tell me she is not asthmatic and last week I got told ""take her home to bed"".

Why would anyone go to hospital or take their child to hospital when it's not necessary let alone at 3:30am on a freezing cold morning?!

IMO they have no right to make a person feel like crap for asking for medical help (unless of course the person is clearly faking)

Hope you are feeling better?


crazy cumbrian, i hope your stay in Itu wasnt too bad (what bothers me the most is there are no toilets...), and about the nebs, thing i had a similar experience where my stats werent coming up and i apparently didnt seem too uncomfortable so they kinda just 'gave up'. and i love your new name for A&E, though i think this should be expanded to many parts of the healthcare.

(sadly i've noticed that even if you've been mechanically ventilated... its still hard to be taken seriously sometimes)

FionaM, don't the out of hours doctors come to you? i think my mum could really relate to you (at least on the driving about at unsociable hours part)

for the most part i'm not sure whether to take the extra pred and i'm stuck on one floor because i cant do the stairs, i'm kinda just waiting for it to get the point when i'm sure its bad enough for hospital.

hope you have been well over Christmas


I don't have much useful to add but with much less severe experience of asthma I've also found that when you do what official guidelines suggest you can sometimes meet with a rather dismissive attitude. I've been told by OOH 'oh no you don't need to do anything' when I'm still SOB after lots of reliever, and on another occasion 'well you could come to me if you want, it's up to you' (halfway across town at 4am when I'm coughing like mad getting out of bed and can't lie down so it seems they don't tend to come to you, though I know I could have been worse) 'but don't take any more reliever, you've already had a lot' (wtf? umm yes, because it wasn't working and I couldn't sleep, hence me ringing OOH!)

Like FionaM, I'm annoyed about this - even if it does turn out to be ok, how are you supposed to know - obviously you should know eg not to call an ambulance for a paper cut, but if you have something like asthma or even a kid with a high temperature, how as a non-expert are you necessarily meant to know if you needed to get urgent care or not? Also had the ringing OOH for advice and being asked 'well what do you want to do?' Err, I don't know...if I did know then I'd be doing it not talking to you - I am not a doctor, I don't always know what to do but I also don't want to waste anyone's time, or turn up at A&E and be told I'm wasting their time (even if I'm not).

Hope your Christmas gets better Sarah93 as it sounds like a pretty pants one! And hope next time you're taken more seriously.


I just feel it makes me hold off calling next time, which could potentially put my daughter at risk. You prob feel the same!


I don't like hospitals.


hello evefyone!

sarah i do hope you improve. sending positive vibes and virtual hugs your way.

as others have said although of those i remember i have been intubated/ventilated 33 times with three cardiac arrests i still am not always taken seriously by all staff!

fiona the most important thing to keep in mind is that ots much easier to deal with a few snide remarks from staff than to risk not getting help and regretting it later. its the ultimate better safe than sorry...!

also have had some stupid remarks in the past: with paramedic on phone: ""do you want to come to hospital?"" ""well no actually i dont relish an extra trip to costa. but if im ringing you one can safely assume that i do need too...!

keep well everyone!



Hi sarah93

I know exactly what you are going through. Roll back 12 months ago, saw asthma nurse wanted to try new treatment it was not working week later had asthma attack into the bargin really bad, hubby took me to A & E only to be told look your sats are really good which they were but i could bearly stand upright and wheezing for a gold medal which i don't normally wheeze, oh and my pf is 300 on ventolin and is usually 450-500 so that should give them a clue!! Miss Marple!! Chest clear but you really need to get your heart rate down - surprise, surprise lol it was over 150 bpm. Oh by the way you are panicking now!! Well that is not suprising as i cannot breathe. Saw OOH doctor that evening you can go home don't want to admit you. I did speak to Asthma UK about this and he was totally wrong by not admitting me to hospital.

Come monday made an emergency appt with asthma nurse the same one who tried this new treatment for me. You don't need steroids as i told her about the attack carry on with the new medication a gave you. Roll forward 2 weeks she was not availble when i went back to see her so i saw another GP who rapidly told me i have got uncontrollable asthma, put me on steroids, ventolin nebulisers straight away, which from that attack managed to come off my meds completely about 3 months ago.

I am one of these people who have high sat levels during a bad attack which fools them to thinking i am ok, i keep telling them this but they don't listen to me. On that note is there any way i can drum this home to those doctors that don't listen as i am like you sick to death of them telling me you are fine when you are blatently not.


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