Relatives of an elderly Crumlin woman are questioning why she was sent home from a hospital A&E only to be admitted nine hours later for treatment of severe burns.
The woman, in her 70s, was badly burned two weeks ago when a hot-water bottle split in her bed.
An attending GP told her husband that due to the extent of her wounds he would have to call an ambulance and she would have to be taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.
After following the ambulance to the RVH emergency department, her husband left for home in the early hours of the morning, having assured himself his wife was comfortable.
A few hours later, according to relatives, the hospital called to advise him he could collect his wife and take her home. Upon arrival he was told his wife would have to return nine hours later for admission to the burns unit.
She returned to the hospital later that day and has remained on the ward for 12 days.
A relative said, “What we are asking is why was she taken from the hospital only to be told to return there if she is ill enough to remain there for almost two weeks.
“When daddy got the call from the hospital to come in to collect her he thought that she was not as ill as what they first thought and that he could take her home.
“We have been left confused as to why she was told to go home and then, when she was seen in the burns unit, they put her on a drip and told her that if she leaves too early her wounds could get badly infected and she would have to be in for a longer spell.
“I am not criticising the staff at the burns unit; they have all been nothing but fantaistic with her.
“They are all very hardworking staff and have ensured that mummy is comfortable at all times.
“They have been very attentive towards her; we have no criticisms there.
“What I don’t understand is why she was allowed to leave A&E with extensive burns, only to be told to return and be placed in the burns unit. She has been there ever since.”
A spokesperson for the Belfast Trust said, “While we cannot discuss an individual’s treatment or care, it would be usual for our emergency department team to consult with specialist teams, for example the burns team. If a patient is comfortable and considered to be not at immediate risk they may be discharged from the emergency department with an appointment to attend the appropriate service for further specialist treatment.
“This specialist care takes place as a matter of urgency, usually within a few days.
“We would be happy to meet with the family to discuss any concerns.”