An older woman walks out of the doctor’s surgery a bit blurry eyed, the diabetic eye test she had just had left her with double vision and she walks slightly unsteadily to the bus stop, hoping that the bus coming along the road really is a number 71 that she needs.
It is and she successfully gets home, flopping down at the table in her living room – her phone goes, it is a text message telling her that her son has collapsed and is being rushed to hospital.
Earlier that day, he had rung her to say he was feeling quite ill and his doctor was coming out to see him. She replies to the text which was from her daughter in law, she hopes he will be all right and he should be in the right place to be dealt with.
Her eyes are clearing and she re-looks at the text and sees that she has spelt some of the words wrong, but the meaning was clear – so she makes a coffee and relaxes.
Then a niggling thought comes to mind, the previous Friday, her son had gone to the hospital for a blood transfusion and the hospital had used the wrong patients notes, prescribing him tablets instead.
The son’s doctor had removed the pills, they could have been lethal to his condition and ensuring the right patient’s documents were available, booked the son in for another blood test … they had used the right notes on Tuesday for the blood transfusion – hadn’t they?
At the local hospital, the son was deteriorating, more blood had been transfused and it wasn’t working, his whole system seemed to be rejecting it – just as it seemed to have rejected the Tuesday’s one.
An ambulance takes son and his wife to a larger hospital about fifteen miles away and there they try another transfusion but the son is not getting any better, his wife asks if they are using the right blood, the tell her they are, but do not say which type.
The second hospital are using the notes from the first hospital and wonder if the son is allergic to anything as his body is still rejecting the blood and he is getting worse. They decide to contact his doctor to find out, but start yet another transfusion and this time his wife notices that the blood is B positive – and she shouts at them to stop – her husband is A positive.
The doctor, when contacted confirms this, by now he has had nearly four pints! The son’s doctor arranges a place for him to have the necessary treatment in Newcastle, with a police escort to the local airport, in South Wales for further transport by the air ambulance.
Wife texts older woman, she has been keeping her informed back in Kent all the way through; “Mum they are transferring him to Newcastle, he looks so ill”
The wife travels with him in the air ambulance where he starts to fit, it is caused through lack of sugars as his whole body is shutting down.
Another test: “Mum, they are pumping his heart, I’m so scared.” Mum tries to reassure him and although they talk about an emergency landing to a nearby hospital, they manage to get his heart going and continue to Newcastle.
They arrive in resuscitation unit in Newcastle hospital where he is rushed on to a machine and over the next two hours change his blood. He is now full of A positive blood at last. Text message to Mum: He looks a bit better now and is asleep, I can stay in the room with him and try to get some sleep” It is now ten past one in the morning, she hadn’t slept much the night before because her husband had been unwell. Now she sleeps and mum sits by the phone and dozes.