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AIBU to think this is not on

(64 Posts)
Cambia Sat 17-Nov-18 12:50:25

My niece was visiting my mother with her six month old baby when he went floppy and she thought he had stopped breathing. My mother doesn’t drive and my niece could not let go of the baby to drive as she was trying desperately to revive him. Phoning the nearest help, the local surgery, they were told that they couldn’t help as he was not registered and it would take too long to fill forms out before seeing him. They had to ring 999. A paramedic came from over twenty miles away and an ambulance from over thirty miles. Fortunately in the meantime a neighbour stepped in and sponged the baby down and he started to revive whilst my niece got advice on the phone from 999 services.

The end result was that he was taken to hospital diagnosed with tonsillitis and febrile convulsions from a high temperature and released in the evening.

How much worse could this have been if he had stopped breathing and there was such a time delay in getting help. Surely the surgery should have sent a doctor or nurse straight up, it was literally five minutes away.

Has common sense really deserted us?

Lynne59 Sat 17-Nov-18 12:59:02

The baby is alright, which is the main things. So many "what ifs" in a situation like that.

I think it's always best to have First Aid training when you're a parent or someone who looks after another person.

Situpstraight1 Sat 17-Nov-18 13:14:17

Firstly Lynne59 is right, all parents should have basic first aid training and anyone else who looks after young children, even for a short time.

Secondly always dial 999 not the local surgery. They will at least help whilst you are on the line and talk you through what to do until a Paramedic arrives. Pleased it all turned out ok.

suzied Sat 17-Nov-18 13:17:28

The local GP surgery is not an emergency service. 999 should be the first port of call in such a situation.

M0nica Sat 17-Nov-18 13:21:56

What a relief that your DGS's illness was not more serious and he is better now.

Yes, I most emphatically do the think the surgery should have reacted positively.

I think the problem was a badly trained receptionist, who did not fully understand how serious the emergency was. If you had managed to speak to one of the doctors, I am sure he would have reacted positively.

I would write to this surgery describing the events and ask them, if they really do not treat anyone, even in a dire emergency like yours,unless they are a patient of the surgery. and what about a car accident outside the surgery door. If you do not get a sufficient reply. complain to the health authority.

Many years ago DH was taken ill when away on business. He staggered into the nearest surgery. The receptionist refused to let him see the doctor until he had made an appointment and none were available for that day. At which point his legs gave way beneath him and he crashed to the ground. He was seen within seconds.

MissAdventure Sat 17-Nov-18 13:29:34

I would treat anyone who wasn't breathing as an emergency, and phone an ambulance straight away.

EllanVannin Sat 17-Nov-18 13:30:04

Lynne59 is so right. Basic first aid is a must for all sorts of reasons. Always a 999 job with babies and small children who have temperatures.
In fact to learn to resuscitate is an asset, from a baby to an adult.

Luckygirl Sat 17-Nov-18 13:39:01

The surgery was not the right place to ring and their response should have been "Dial 999."

Glad to hear baby is well.

Charleygirl5 Sat 17-Nov-18 13:40:20

in that situation 999 first. A GP surgery is not a mini A&E department, even if it is next door.

I agree basic First Aid is an asset.

M0nica Sat 17-Nov-18 15:19:33

In a case like this those involved to not carefully go online to carefully check who is the appropriate person to ring, they contact the nearest available medical facility and it it is the surgery that is what they do. They may well ring 999 as well.

In a situation where as OP says The ambulance had to come 30 miles and the paramedic 20, at least talking to a doctor could be the difference between life and death.

Easy to tick OP off when you are not in a situation where a baby has stopped breathing.

millymouge Sat 17-Nov-18 15:26:26

I hate to say it but you could easily die if you tried to contact our doctors surgery in an emergency. You can't even get through on the phone let alone get to see a doctor or
a nurse in an emergency. I have had to call 999 many many times over the years with sister and think it is always the best way to go in an emergency. When you have little ones a basic first aid course is such a help and gives you confidence to cope.

Jalima1108 Sat 17-Nov-18 15:27:33

A 999 call handler will pass the information on to someone who will despatch an ambulance immediately if necessary, but could also keep talking to you and give limited advice or at least keep up to date with what is happening to pass that information on.
They could also know if an ambulance is nearer than the ambulance station and able to answer the call

Lynne59 Sat 17-Nov-18 15:29:45

MOnica....I've read your post about 5 times but I'm still not sure what the first paragraph means.

My 2nd son was diagnosed with Asthma at 9 months of age.... the first time he had an Asthma attack, it was terrifying for all of us (me, him, and my husband), but we rang 999 and went off in an ambulance. That's what prompted me to complete a First Aid course. My later employment of being a Community Carer meant that I had to re-take the course regularly. I'm also the First-Aider at my current employment.

Training in First Aid can literally be a life-saver.

Nannarose Sat 17-Nov-18 15:33:15

Having dealt with similar situations, I agree that the surgery's response was correct. I also think that time spent explaining would have been valuable time lost.
999 operators are used to explaining what to do whilst mobilising help.
I say this, not to 'tick off' anyone but in the spirit of us all learning from each other.

Doodle Sat 17-Nov-18 15:34:54

Sorry but a GP surgery may deal with an emergency if it happens in their own building but they are not an emergency service and you should, as others have said, dial 999.

Charleygirl5 Sat 17-Nov-18 15:49:06

A GP surgery also does not have drugs on site whereas the 999 teams have a limited supply.

M0nica Sat 17-Nov-18 16:09:23

Lynne what I am saying is that when a baby stops breathing every one is frantic to get medical help, any medical help as soon as possible. In those circumstances it is not surprising that some people do not initially ring exactly the right number for help at the first attempt.

I have nothing but sympathy and understanding for a frantic parent or grand parent in that situation. I am sure this will not be the first such call a surgery has had and their staff should be trained to respond quickly to tell the person on the phone to ring 999, but in a situation like this where 'emergency' help has such a distance to come,( and this is probably normal for the area), and the child is not breathing, I would expect a doctor to be willing to at least come to the phone and offer some immediate advice and help.

Nonnie Sat 17-Nov-18 16:36:00

Get the first aid training and this situation could be avoided in future. If the temperature had been brought down before it got to this stage there probably would have been no emergency.

BlueBelle Sat 17-Nov-18 16:42:13

Total sympathise with you and panic can really take over but in answer to your question the GPs surgery couldn’t send someone out to you they are not an emergency service you have to ring 999 in an emergency and even if they come from further the phone taker will talk you through what to do
Please don’t blame the surgery

Izabella Sat 17-Nov-18 22:34:45

Totally agree that the GP surgery is not the relevant point of access for emergency care. But at least the OP now knows this (plus anyone else reading this thread) and the infant is well.

Ambulance control have paramedics and sometimes doctors on duty who will always talk you through an emergency. They do calmly and with great experience.

If someone collapses in he surgery the first thing they themselves will do is dial 999.

cornergran Sat 17-Nov-18 23:03:21

In my experience Izabella is right, a collapse in a GP surgery triggers a 999 call. Having said that I can understand the impulse to call the nearest medical centre, I did the same many years ago when Mr C collapsed. Fortunately I had straightforward advice and help. I’m relieved all is well. We all learn from experience but I hope your niece doesn’t have that experience again.

gillybob Sat 17-Nov-18 23:22:11

If our area is anything to go by, chances are the babies actual GP might’ve said they couldn’t see him until a week next Thursday so my advice would always be 999 or A&E .

My 2 oldest DGD’s suffered from febrile convulsions which are the scariest things when you haven’t seen them before.

I’m so glad he’s okay now Cambia smile but be prepared for it possibly happening again if/when he has a high temperature or a virus .

B9exchange Sat 17-Nov-18 23:42:43

When my 11 month old son collapsed unconscious in my arms, I was terrified. I rang the surgery but thank goodness they didn't answer. I ran with him into the street (my husband was at work with the car) and a neighbour rushed us in her car into the local A and E 20 mins away. As we turned into the car park he had a respiratory arrest. Running down the corridors with a blue baby, his life was saved by a nurse going off duty who grabbed him and ran back to Resuscitation with him. The team got him going again. If I had waited for the GP surgery to answer, and then to try to explain to a receptionist what the problem was, he would not be here now.

In later years I worked in GP practice management. The advice staff were given by the GPs was always to advise patients to ring 999 in an emergency. GPs are not there for emergencies, I would implore anyone in that situation to dial 999, or if you can get anyone to take you, head straight to A and E.


Cold Sat 17-Nov-18 23:54:38

I'm glad that this did not turn out to be something too serious. Febrile convulsions are very, very common in babies and toddlers when they get a high temperature - mine had several - so it is worth reading up on paediatric first aid and knowing what to do in an emergency.

Always ring 999 for this type of emergency as this is the way to ensure emergency help. GP's are not equipped to deal with it so it will just delay things to call a GP who will then have to call an ambulance anyway - whereas an ambulance has the necessary drugs and equipment on board to monitor heart rates and support breathing etc and usually can get a direct line to a specialist doctor for additional assistance

Riggie Sun 18-Nov-18 00:13:39

A friend of mine accompanied her dh to their surgery and the GP decided her dh needed to go to hospital asap. He told them to go home and ring an ambulance as it would be quicker! Apparently if the surgery rang they wouldn't be prioritised because the ambulance service would assume there were medics there to look after the patient!!

Totally mad.