Toddler ‘left to sleep on hospital floor’

Isabella, right, and the other child asleep on the ward floor
Isabella, right, and the other child asleep on the ward floor
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A toddler slept on a cold hospital floor as she waited more than seven hours through the night for treatment, her mother says.

Jessica Dignall’s nightmare visit to Royal Preston Hospital began just before 11pm and ended at 7.30am the following morning when she says Isabella was finally seen by a doctor.

Jessica, 22, of Lichfield Road, Chorley, said Isabella had started with a raised temperature of around 39degrees a few days earlier.

Her temperature rose to 40.8 the following day and Isabella was taken to her doctor the following morning where she saw a nurse practitioner who diagnosed Isabella with tonsillitis and an ear infection – the child is currently awaiting a date for a tonsillectomy at Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Isabella was given antibiotics, but was “getting worse” despite medication to bring her temperature down.

Her mother said her temperature rocketed to 41.8 that night and she dialled 111. The nurse she spoke to got the doctor from the out-of-hours surgery in Euxton to call her back.

The mother and child went to the surgery to see the doctor and he referred Isabella to ward eight at Royal Preston Hospital. They arrived at 10.55pm.

Jessica recalled: “A nurse did Isabella’s observations and then asked us to wait in the waiting room.

“At around 2am, a doctor came into the waiting room and said that the other doctor had been stuck in A&E and they had no idea what time she would be back on the ward.

“It left only that one doctor to attend to the six patients in the waiting room and the rest of ward eight.”

Jessica said another parent and her daughter had been there since 8pm.

“There were other ladies with tiny babies that ended up waiting more than three hours for blood test results,” continued Jessica, who said she asked the nurses numerous times to give Isabella a bed, as she was really unwell and there were 12 empty beds within the two rooms either side of the waiting room.

She said at 5.15am both Isabella and the daughter of the other woman “were both ill children.”

“Isabella and the other child slept on the cold, hard floor in the waiting room surrounded by empty beds,” said Jessica.

“A doctor came into the waiting room to speak to one of the other parents, looked at the girls asleep on the floor and did nothing.”

Single mum Jessica, who moved to the Chorley area from Lincolnshire, said she went out to find the nurse and demanded that the girls were given beds.

“Once they were in the bed it was 6.30am and neither of the girls saw a doctor until 7.30am,” she said.

She said: “It is absolutely disgraceful that my daughter had to sleep on a cold, hard floor because the hospital is inadequately staffed.

“It is appalling that I was waiting all night with a toddler of two years with a fever. I will not be taking my daughter to Preston Hospital again.

“It was a shocking experience.”

Jessica said she planned to formally complain to the PALS – the Patient Advice and Liaison Service.

Karen Partington, chief executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our priority is to always provide excellent care with compassion for our patients and we would urge anybody who has any concerns or queries about their care or treatment plan to please contact our customer care department.

“We welcome the opportunity to investigate further.”