Covid patient waited 40 hours in Cardiff hospital A&E
A man who waited nearly 40 hours in A&E with Covid dubbed the situation “chaos”.
Ian Cottrell, 48, said he had to sit on the floor because of bed shortage and had little support from staff.
Cardiff and Vale health board said its emergency unit was under extreme pressure and would encourage anyone unhappy with its care to report it.
Mr Cottrell tested positive for Covid on 26 November and four days later was having difficulty breathing.
He was advised to go to the University Hospital of Wales, in Cardiff.
“I was very short of breath and I was getting a really bad headache across my forehead when I was trying to sleep,” he said.
“I got up and said to my husband: ‘I think this is serious’.
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“We are pleased to hear Mr Cottrell’s positive feedback about his care during the remainder of his stay which means a lot to staff, especially during this challenging period.”
“I phoned 111 as I was meant to do. That escalated to 999, who told me there were no ambulances.”
Mr Cottrell’s husband drove him to the hospital and they arrived at about 22.30.
“I was seen within about half an hour by a triage nurse, who took me into a little room and asked me a few questions to establish what was wrong with me.”
But it was not until 04:30 the next morning, Mr Cottrell said, that he was invited into the main reception.
“At that point I was given a seat,” Mr Cottrell said.
“I thought I would be getting a bed. The two most important things, if you’ve got Covid, are to try and rest and to try and sleep.
“I sat on that chair from 4.30am on Wednesday, December 1, until 2pm the following day. So from 10.30pm on the Tuesday night when I went in, until 2pm on the Thursday I spent 40 hours in A&E.”
He said he considered discharging himself.
“There were others that were shouting, lying on the floors because there were no beds,” he said.
“They were saying they were going to discharge themselves.
“It’s chaos in there. No one knows what’s going on. It seems like there’s no duty of care to anyone.”
Given oxygen, steroids and antibiotics on arrival, Mr Cottrell said he then received little to no support until the following day.
“I wasn’t seen by a doctor until 4pm that day, and then again at 6pm,” he said.
“I was told both times, you’re going to be in a bed tonight. The shift changed, the staff changed.
“I asked again if I was going in a bed and the staff would say things like: ‘The doctor shouldn’t have told you that, they don’t know what they’re talking about. They shouldn’t have promised you a bed’.
“The attitudes of the staff, I could not believe it.”
Mr Cottrell said he was delirious by the next morning, having not slept for four days.
He said he was finally taken to a ward by early afternoon.
“I was expecting to be seen very quickly, to be given a bed at least,” he said.
“You had to ask for everything. There didn’t seem to be a lot of genuine interest or care that was being readily given.
“I felt lied to by doctors. Telling me that I would have a bed is probably the worst thing.”
Mr Cottrell was discharged from hospital six days later.
He said his care on the Covid ward was exemplary, but believed his initial wait caused his condition to deteriorate.
“That 40 hours in A&E. I do not know how people have got the will to carry on,” he said.
Cardiff and Vale health board said its emergency unit was under “extreme pressure” and patients facing lengthy waits were supported by staff and British Red Cross colleagues.
The health board encouraged anyone unhappy with its care to get in touch.
“We are pleased to hear Mr Cottrell’s positive feedback about his care during the remainder of his stay which means a lot to staff, especially during this challenging period,” a spokesman said.