Part 2 - What Would You Do If Another Patient Started Bleeding With No One Around?

I've never had to do this before, but the fact that I do is testament to the horror that was my experience of being in hospital last week. I warn you that this blog contains details that are not for younger readers or for the faint hearted. But it is what happened. In my previous blog I spoke about having to go into hospital after developing very high blood sugars and ketones within a short period of time. In some ways I felt scared- about whether and when my blood sugars would eventually come down, what would happen to me if they didn't. But the resounding feeling when you get to hospital is that 'it's out of my hands now', my care is my own at home. But my own knowledge on how to help is only so much and my care is in the hands of the professionals.

After A&E I was taken to the short stay ward of the hospital, a line was put into my arm for an IV and I was started on fluids in the hope that these would rehydrate me and bring my blood sugars back down. The ward was a small all female ward, with the men just across the building, but there were only 2 other women on the ward with me. Until we were joined by one more- a withdrawing drug addict under police custody. I was shocked at how young this poor girl was and couldn't help but wonder about the circumstances that had brought her into being in this situation. She was in hospital for a drugs over-dose, but the nurses couldn't really help her until she could remember what she had taken. Throughout the night police officers with tasers came and went changing shifts, whilst this girl shouted at the nurses. It was terrible to witness, but not the end of the heartache in the hospital.

After visiting time is over, it gets very quiet and lonely in hospital and if you can speak to other patients to help the time pass then why not. So I got speaking to a different patient opposite me, she didn't say initially why she'd come in, but she kept being sick every time she ate. But obviously it wasn't my business to ask what was wrong. After I had my drip removed (which didn't bring my blood sugars down, but they were in the high teens by which point opposed to the twenties), my arm started bleeding. Not mass amounts but enough to cover the gause plaster covering it, so I asked my ward neighbour if she thought I should have it changed. But as she was answering me her own cannula popped out and blood started trickling out. It wasn't much so I went and got her some tissues to press on and then went to get a nurse. There was no nurse in sight on our part of the ward, so I went to get help from the nurses station a few feet away. Explaining the situation I asked if the nurse could come and help us. She said no, because we weren't on her ward and she refused to help.

Following this I had no choice but to wander back to my ward to find some help, but by the time I got back the other patient's tube was gushing with blood. The towels I'd given her were soaked, and there was blood all over her, her bed and there was pints of it on the floor. Trying to give her more towels to stop the bleeding I went to find a nurse again, she was on the phone and told me to wait. I tried to insist but she put her hand up in a stop talking type gesture and carried on on the phone. By this time the girl who was bleeding profusely started shouting, so the nurse finished her call and followed me back onto the ward. She then ran past me as the girl collapsed, nearly hitting her head on a cupboard and I had to pull the emergency button. Finally then about ten doctors and nurses came running in to help. Some of which had been trying to avoid eye contact with me, whilst I was asking for help at the nurse's station.

To add insult to literal injury, a nurse then tried to pull my curtains around my bed so that I couldn't see what was going on. But just seconds ago I had been the only who knew or cared what was going on. The girl who had been bleeding had to be given oxygen and only came round about twenty minutes later. A nurse tested her blood sugars at which point and they read 4.3 mmol, I knew the woman didn't have diabetes. But because of all of the commotion I also now knew that she'd taken an overdose of Metformin tablets amongst other things, which are given to people (mostly Type 2) to treat diabetes with, because it increases the sensitivity of insulin. I know I'm no medical professional myself, but I'd have said that was near hypo given the circumstances and that she'd just collapsed too. But the nurses then debated whether the doctor that had just left, had said that the girl who'd collapsed should of had dextrose. He had said that because I'd heard him, but in all the commotion it had been forgotten, as had this poor woman and the fact that it was supposed to be them looking after us, not us looking after each other.


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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