"Don't want to bother them" - a polit... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

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"Don't want to bother them" - a polite reminder.

Thatwasunexpected profile image
47 Replies

Just a quick reminder.

We're all well aware of how much strain the NHS, emergency services, and GPs are under and none of us like to "make a fuss".


When it comes to heart conditions they WANT to hear from us BEFORE we become a blue light case.

Look at it from their point of view as human beings. Would you rather:

* Spend an hour of your workday checking someone over, reassuring their fears, and sending them home on a false alarm, or

* Spend an hour of your workday fighting to save someone's life, failing, and having to carry that failure knowing "if only we'd seen them sooner"?

If you're the sort of person who pulls back from asking for help because you "don't want to waste time" then you're EXACTLY the sort of person who"s most likely to genuinely need help when you're worried enough to think about calling.

So call - you could be saving someone a really sh*tty work day!

47 Replies
RufusScamp profile image

I ended up being blue-lighted and stuffed full of tubes because I ignored quite bad symptoms, having long suffered from terminal hypochondria.

I second your message.

Bl@#*y hell, that is a brilliant way of looking at it 👏👏👏👏

jeanjeannie50 profile image

Well said, Thatwasunexpected. I agree totally with your wise words.

Blue1958 profile image

++++++++++++++ from me, it is so important that we worry about ourselves first.

We are just one part of the NHS puzzle and personally I think we are the most important part.

Save yourself so you can save others

LowerField profile image
LowerField in reply to Blue1958

Whilst I agree many heart patients are very near the top of the list in terms of important 'customers', the people at the very top are those waiting for cancer treatment, since for them delays brought about by pressure within the NHS may well truly be a stark life or death situation if they don't get treatment in a timely manner

Thatwasunexpected profile image
Thatwasunexpected in reply to LowerField

In terms of planned / urgent care, undoubtedly. In terms of emergency / A&E access, not so much.

A (potentially treatable) heart attack can kill you in seconds, a (potentially treatable) cancer will take longer.

Seeing as A&E is (at least in theory) primarily concerned with immediate life-saving, no heart patient should hesitate seeking their help based on "someone else needs..."

LowerField profile image
LowerField in reply to Thatwasunexpected

I don't disagree with any of that, especially regarding the need to ensure you do turn to A&E if you believe your heart condition requires it in an emergency. However many heart patients are long term and once they have perhaps trudged through A&E and/or angiography/stents and perhaps bypasses and maybe a fitted pacemaker the chances of morbidity are reduced, and I imagine if you are on a list for major treatment your chances of survival are reasonably good, even though you might have to wait longer than ideal. But for someone diagnosed with cancer, especially if it is aggressive and worse no longer contained, the outcome for any delay in treatment can be life threatening. And as far as I can see all determined by pressure on the overall system.

Thatwasunexpected profile image
Thatwasunexpected in reply to LowerField

Not necessarily with the heart patient.

We had an example here very recently - treated for a heart attack, doing well, back to work and starting running again.

Then had some unusual / unexplained symptoms and (thankfully) called for help, only to have a cardiac arrest in A&E. Again, thankfully, with trained and experienced staff right on hand.

Had they "not pressured the system" because they were "already being treated" that night....

LowerField profile image
LowerField in reply to Thatwasunexpected

I do not deny that there are exceptions to every heart vs. cancer person debate, and it is good to know that your heart patient example was treated successfully under the circumstances. But it seems to me that outside of A&E which deals with immediate health issues, the majority of heart patients can, in general, absorb delays in their treatment brought about by pressure on NHS services, without a serious threat to their chances of survival. although undoubtedly some will sadly succumb. Whereas someone requiring treatment for cancer is seriously affected if their treatment is delayed and for some that may mean they pass the point of no return.

Valentina98 profile image
Valentina98 in reply to LowerField


I'm the said person who was in A&E last week when I had a Cardic Arrest. If I hadn't of contacted 111 I would have been home alone when that happened and I don't even want to think about what could have happened to me.

I didn't want to speak to 111 as I didn't want to bother them as I was feeling better, from my previous HA, I didn't think I was ill and I thought I'd be taking the place of someone who needed help. Turns out I needed help.

V x

Digger0 profile image
Digger0 in reply to Thatwasunexpected

Very true. !!

Blue1958 profile image
Blue1958 in reply to LowerField

Don't worry I have both and my treatments { at the moment } seems to be the same as it ever was for both,

Mundane when everything is just ticking alone and frantic / urgent when something is wrong.

But that is only my case.

Bustermydog profile image
Bustermydog in reply to Thatwasunexpected

sadly I have to agree with you as that is my sentiment. I have cancer for seven years now, have prepared myself because of prognosis given was max two to two and a half years. 5 years later it was discovered I have hypo obtrusive cardiomyopathy. The joke in the family after surviving years beyond the cancer prognosis “you will outlive us all or have a heart attack.” The heart controls, I live with a double whammy but if I have any doubt there is something wrong with my heart I seek help. With my cancer it is progressive and I know the outcome. My heart could strike at anytime. So do be unafraid and get help even if it is a false alarm.

Thatwasunexpected profile image
Thatwasunexpected in reply to Bustermydog

Thanks for that, Buster.

I was trying yesterday to work out how to put the relative "inevitability" of cancer without potentially upsetting people but couldn't find a way.

Having it acknowledged so openly and honestly by someone affected by both helps enormously.

Here's to you proving your family right (not about the heart attack...) 🍺

Bustermydog profile image
Bustermydog in reply to Thatwasunexpected

thank you,

it’s sometimes difficult to get people to understand. My oncologist thinks I’m amazing as I refused treatment ( second diagnosis of cancer) I am optimistic about all aspects of life. I don’t consider myself ill just have a decease and a dodgy heart . I might seem a bit gung-ho to some but cared for my husband for15 years, through heart decease, heart transplant and then years later death. Really put a prospective on how to deal with illness and bravery.

Digger0 profile image
Digger0 in reply to LowerField

Most heart patients do not get seen by the cancer teams, so the heart attacks being seen by paramedics and A&E staff are not taking away from the cancer patients. My cancer in 2008 and my Atrial Septal hole were seen in totally different hospitals.

Hello :-)

Very true indeed and well said :-)

Before my Bypasses I had 3 heart attacks in between I had a few false alarms

Every time I had a false alarm I could not say sorry enough to them in the Hospital

Their reply was always the same

We would rather you come in and nothing be wrong than stay at home and something happen there is no need to say sorry at all and if you have any more symptoms you are not sure about you must come back

Hope you are having a lovely day :-) x

uzininemm profile image
uzininemm in reply to

Well said Bekind 28 and a reminder to people like me who whilst I don't comment when people say they go to A & E multiple times do think negatively towards them.

(I hope this is seen as me slapping my own wrist)😒

It also just shows how special our medical professionals are.

Thatwasunexpected profile image
Thatwasunexpected in reply to uzininemm

Don't slap too hard, it's easy to find yourself feeling that way - you only need to watch a few episodes of any A&E program to start wondering what planet some people are on.

But, as a rule, "serial attendees" are mostly a symptom of the increasingly inadequate support in other areas - whether that's social, mental health, GP services or whatever.

Even fragmented families and the resulting loss of inherited knowledge probably plays a part.

As a kid, I once dropped a chisel and it landed, stuck upright, in my (bare) foot.

No A&E, no stitches, just a really good cleaning (with Dettol - I still wince at the memory!) and a field dressing that would've made my Sgt Major proud a few years later!

Because my parents knew what to do, as they'd learnt from their parents, and so on.

Blue1958 profile image
Blue1958 in reply to Thatwasunexpected

Still love the smell of Dettol and the memories it can conjure up.

Mum dripping that amber liquid into water turning it white ! years before bloody Harry Potter and his potions !

Thatwasunexpected profile image
Thatwasunexpected in reply to Blue1958

Yes, and the sting was probably better than the iodine they used in school!

in reply to uzininemm

Hello :-)

No don't be slapping your wrist :-)

Hope you are having a lovely weekend :-) x

MummaSoap profile image

You make a very valid point!

On numerous occasions I’ve spent hours, days and occasionally weeks debating with myself over whether to contact a medical professional and each time I’ve spent all my time in front of said professional apologising for being in front of them and they always say the same thing.

Even when it’s turned out to be something minor or unexplained but without serious consequences.

A very good reminder 🙂

Blue1958 profile image

MummaSoap, know you are special , we do

MummaSoap profile image
MummaSoap in reply to Blue1958

Thank you 🙂 although I’ve been told in the past for other reasons (not on here I hasten to add) 😂🙊

Rosie1066 profile image

I was told by my cardiologist that if my AF lasted longer than 30 mins go directly to A&E. The last time I was at A&E back in February the doctor there told me, that if I’m lightheaded or dizzy with the AF not to leave it that long but to go to A&E after just 10 mins. I will certainly heed their advice.

Valentina98 profile image

I completely agree Thatwasunexpected

If I hadn't had contacted 111 last week who knows what could have happened to me.

I wasn't didn't call them for that reason "I didn't want to bother" but thankfully I got a call back from a nurse fairly quickly. I'll definitely call if I felt something wasn't right again.

V x

Yumz199725 profile image

Great post by the way.

I always feel like I'm wasting someones time when I go to A&E cause last time I went for chest pain and palpitations I had chest Xray and bloods done and they said everything was fine and they sent me home bout 4 hours later. I never know if any pain I have is significant all I know is if I have palpitations that last 3 days or more I'm to go to A&E that's what my consultant and the registrar said. Let's just say I will go no matter what thanks for your post thatwasunexpected!

Thatwasunexpected profile image
Thatwasunexpected in reply to Yumz199725

My pleasure.

And remember, the ONLY people you'll ever upset by going are the ones who have to wait a bit longer to get their home-treatable sprain / graze / sore toenail looked at because your history & symptoms rightly make you a priority 😉

Yumz199725 profile image
Yumz199725 in reply to Thatwasunexpected

Well said 😁 and so true

uzininemm profile image
uzininemm in reply to Thatwasunexpected

How true, when I was in the ambulance being taken to hospital I was told there was 150 waiting in A and E and apologised to the ambulance crew for adding to the problem. The crew told me to not apologise as I was one of the 50% who should be there!

As they say the rest is history😀

Heather1957 profile image

I am a little on the fence on this one.

People on here are generally here because they have a heart condition so any thing that raises concern should be checked out.

The other side of things is that I know too many hypochondriacs who go to A & E with heart pains about once a month , They have had most tests and it shows everything is fine (I know a couple of people like this) One of these people has either heart issues (so they say) or they are having a stroke (has been told it could be a migraine)

So good advice for us members of this forum but some people should be charged for the drain they put on the NHS especially as one of them calls an ambulance when they think it's time to visit the hospital!

Thatwasunexpected profile image
Thatwasunexpected in reply to Heather1957

To be honest, the serial attendees like that aren't a huge problem because they're such a tiny minority.

The problem is caused mostly by the loss of basic first aid sense when it comes to everyday cuts, scrapes and owies.

Had an example on Thursday funnily enough, playing basketball & my little finger got bent backwards by a misjudged interception. Hugely painful but could still bend it, by that evening it was about 50% bigger than my other one, solid, red and feeling hot.

So I iced it, took some ibuprofen, wrapped it overnight so I wouldn't snag it in my sleep, and waited to see. It's still sore but the swelling's down & pretty sure I'll survive.

Yet, you see "injuries" like that turn up on just about every episode of your favourite A&E program. And that's what causes the problems!

Bondstreet1 profile image

what a fantastic post Joe! You’re so right. Thank you.

Captain_Birdseye profile image

Wise words!

Ravaging profile image

Took my friend to A and E last week he broke his arm playing rugby.It was packed.While waiting for four and a half hours I asked the gentleman opposite what was wrong with him because he seemed fit and well and very chatty.His answer was I've got a very heavy cold and I want them to sort it.I wanted to throw him through the window.

RufusScamp profile image
RufusScamp in reply to Ravaging

I'll take the other arm.

Cruiser25 profile image
Cruiser25 in reply to Ravaging

I was going to offer to open the window, but on second thoughts.....

Andytheextransporter profile image
Andytheextransporter in reply to Ravaging


Heather1957 profile image
Heather1957 in reply to Ravaging

It is so frustrating to hear these stories A & E stand for ACCIDENT AND EMERGENCY I wonder how many people know what these words mean.

Andytheextransporter profile image
Andytheextransporter in reply to Heather1957

Not many judging by the the amount of people in A&E waiting rooms that are laughing and joking, I know not all medical emergencies are visible but.......

Lollybygolly profile image

it’s true. I always feel there must be people in more pain/feeling worse than I do and spiritually I’m totally fine with death and dying but I’d like to live long enough to see my grandson go to university.. that’s about 16 more years.. frankly unlikely but you have to act when the hand goes on your shoulder.

Prestwick profile image

Well said👍

Anon2023 profile image

My daughter works in A&E and said that it’s full of people who need to be seen by a gp but simply cannot get appointments. In a lot of cases the gp surgery sends them there because they can’t offer them anything. We simply do not have enough doctors. I will go to A&E if I need to (usually my family give me no choice anyway!) but the waiting rooms are a health hazard in their own right and the waiting times are enough to put me off.

Lezzers profile image
Lezzers in reply to Anon2023

You're quite right that's exactly what GP's tell patients to do if a patient is adamant that they need to be seen ASAP but there's no GP appts available. What I don't understand is why those patients are not told to attend the local walk in hospital (used to be called cottage hospitals) as they're able to do x-rays, scans, bandage limbs, sew up cuts, prescribe antibiotics etc & that stops A&E from being clogged up.

Anon2023 profile image
Anon2023 in reply to Lezzers

the walk in centres in our area are jam packed too and are unable to do blood tests etc so a lot of people are sent to a&e anyway. The same day emergency care unit (the step down from A&E) where I live was moved into A&E and shares the same waiting room and triage so you end up in the same queue initially. It’s crazy really but it’s all to do with lack of staff.

Kwakkers profile image

Frank here, hallo. Didn`t feel right after swimming. Jumped on a bus to my doctor. Went to the desk feeling like shit. She looked at me and said "God you look awful". The doctor was walking along the corridor. "My room...NOW". Five minutes later the ambulance arrived. My aorta was about to blow.....luverly! He called me just before they operated. Helluva GP.

My daughter`s a GP and she`s kinda weary of people who come in to moan about PRICES!

AS she says "What can I do about that???"

Give the medics a treat and ask them to help you with a medical/surgical issue. They Lurve it.


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