'My son received prompt and excellent care in A&E'

Geveral view of the North Middlesex Hospital where child abuse officers are investigating the death

Following an epileptic fit Mary Langan's son was taken to the North Middlesex Hospital - Credit: PA

Given the alarming reports about deteriorating NHS ambulance and hospital services, when I got a call that my son James, with autism and severe learning disabilities, had had an epileptic fit and fallen and sustained a deep gash across his forehead I was filled with dread. The news that he had been taken to the North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton was scarcely reassuring. 

Members of our group of carers for adults with autism and other disabilities have in the past reported delays and poor standards of care at this hospital. As a result we were involved in helping to establish a system to ensure that ‘reasonable adjustments’ are made for people with special needs attending the hospital. 

I am delighted to report that James received prompt and excellent care in the A&E department with appropriate consideration for his distress and disabilities.

Mary Langan. Picture: Luke Dixon

Mary Langan was part of a group who helped ensure the North Middlesex Hospital can care for people with special needs - Credit: Luke Patrick Dixon Photography

As he refused to get into the ambulance, the paramedics, once they had staunched his copious bleeding, helped to get him into his usual car seat and accompanied him to the hospital. Because he would not get out of the car to allow the team to assess his wound, the nursing staff immediately cleared a side ward and we managed to help James in and persuaded him to lie on a trolley.  

An anaesthetist appeared within minutes and gently coaxed him to inhale anaesthetic gas from a mask, allowing the consultant to clean up and suture the wound and apply suitable dressings. When he came around from the anaesthetic a hospital specialist in autism and learning disabilities arrived to review his general medical history and current medication, following our new guidelines to the letter.

Within an hour he was back home, bloody and bruised certainly, but otherwise none the worse. A week later he again refused to get out of the car, but the A&E consultant deftly removed the stitches in the car. 

The NHS may be in crisis nationally, but it is reassuring to discover that in our local hospital high standards are being maintained. 

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Mary Langan is chair of Severe and Complex Needs Reference Group.