LETTER: A matter of life and death

On June 27 I called 999. My husband had been in severe pain, unable to eat or drink, for four days. We had visited DGH’s A&E Department two days earlier where he was given an X-ray and ultra-sound scan. The doctor he saw said he should have a CT scan – but the scanner was not available at that time and he was sent home. The next day our very supportive GP agreed that if there was no improvement by the following morning it would be sensible to call 999. There wasn’t and so I did.

Before I had finished speaking to the operator a wonderful first responder was ringing the doorbell. He was quickly followed by a paramedic and, not long after that, an ambulance. My husband was taken by this superb team to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings (an awfully long journey, road works etc) where, later that day, he was given a CT scan which revealed the problem. The next day he was operated on and 10 days later he was allowed home where he is recovering. Whilst he was in hospital a letter arrived from Eastbourne DGH notifying him of an appointment with their CT scanner on July 13. His condition was serious and had been recognised as requiring that scan on June 25. He wouldn’t have survived until July 13.

All the NHS staff we met during this crisis were, without exception, helpful, kind and professional. They work very long shifts (weekends too, Mr Hunt!) and it is appalling that they are not supplied with the equipment necessary to do the job.

Sue Johnston

Wilbees Road, Arlington

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