Electric shock victim ‘still struggling for care’

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A 23-year-old Holbeach man who suffered an electric shock in an accident at work says he is still struggling to get the care he needs 14 months later.

Michael Young says he was almost paralysed with pain before he was given an MRI scan on his second visit to Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.

Only then was he found to have a broken collar bone and other symptoms linked to having an electric shock.

Mr Young (23), of Fleet Road, has told his story in response to the national Dignity in Care day.

The day is supported in hospitals across the county to highlight the importance of dignity in care.

The accident happened in November 2011 when Mr Young was asked to fix overhead bulbs in the fairy lights aisle of the store where he worked.

He said: “Someone had twisted the bulbs off and I was turning them back when an excruciating pain shot up my arm.

“The electric shock left me hunched up and an ambulance was called. The First Response paramedics were brilliant, but from then on I felt no-one listened or cared that I was in agony.

“I can remember clinging on to the bed in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and the person with me playing on his phone.

“At the hospital I was left on a trolley in pain for hours with my eyes stinging and watering because of the lights. I was eventually discharged with a sling and pain killers.

“My mother had been notified by work colleagues that I had been taken away in an ambulance and went to the hospital not knowing if I was alive or dead. She was left sobbing for fours hours before she could find anything out.”

At home his condition worsened and he said when he was paralysed with pain his mother called an ambulance.

Mr Young said: “The same doctor saw me and I felt it was a case of ‘oh, you again’. But I was given a MRI scan, only to be left on the trolley afterwards and not helped off in spite of my request.”

Since then, Mr Young has asked for his treatment to be transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn and he is awaiting an operation. He said he has been told he has chronic musculoskeletal condition, curvature of the spine and also suffered damage to the nerves in his eyes consistent to having an electric shock.

He said: “I haven’t been able to work and I hate it. I love being busy and used to work 70 hours a week because there was always plenty of overtime.

“Now I struggle to get out of bed because of my spinal condition and have been told I can’t work until I have had an operation.

“I’m on 13 tablets a day, plus extra medication if I need it, which I hate because I’m only 23.

“I can’t work or socialise and I’ve only been able to talk about this now after trauma therapy for flashbacks and nightmares about the accident.

“Was I treated with dignity? Yes by the paramedics, but not by the ambulance crew or staff at the hospital.

“I realise that a lot of patients who go there have a lot more visible serious injuries that I had, but everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.”

Communications manager Clare White said United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) is extremely disappointed it was unable to respond to the incident before the Spalding Guardian newspaper went to press.

She said: “ULHT takes Dignity in Care extremely seriously and expects every patient to be treated with dignity and respect.

“The Trust launched a set of Dignity Pledges two years ago which every member of staff is expected to uphold. These pledges are widely publicised on every ward and department and any patient, visitor or carer is encouraged to challenge where they see the Dignity Pledges failing to be upheld.

“We recommend that the patient contacts the Trust directly to enable us to investigate his concerns.”

Dignity Action Day activities were also planned for Holbeach Hospital and Johnson Community Hospital in Spalding.

The day aims to ensure people who use care services are treated as individuals and are given choice, control and a sense of purpose in their daily lives.

Louise Johnson, matron for urgent care at the Johnson Community Hospital, said: “Ensuring our patients and visitors are treated with dignity and respect is very important to us. We will use the feedback to make changes and improvements where needed.”

Trust-wide Senior Chaplain at ULHT, Tim Couchman, said: “National Dignity Action Day is intended to set aside one special day to focus and celebrate all the excellent work that our teams undertake in relation to dignity in care throughout the rest of the year.”

For stories and pictures of Dignity in Care day in Spalding, Holbeach and Boston, see this week’s Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian.