A two-year-old was made to sleep on the waiting room floor while waiting to be seen at a hospital in Lancashire, England, even though empty beds were available.
On the day in question, Isabella Dalton was rushed to Royal Preston Hospital at 11p.m., when her temperature spiked over 107 degrees, The Express reports. She had been suffering from tonsillitis and an ear infection for a few days prior.
The hospital was reportedly understaffed. No doctor was available to see her, and hospital staff were not allowed to provide a bed for the child, as she had yet to be examined.
Isabella and another child had to sleep on the floor of the waiting room until they could be seen the following morning.
"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," mother Jessica Dignall said.
Dignall said that the hospital could have done more to help the children while they were waiting to be seen by a physician.
"Even if she had been given a blanket or anything to make her more comfortable would have been something, but she's only a baby and she didn't know how to try and make herself feel better," Dignall commented.
Around 2a.m., a doctor said that the other doctor was tied up providing emergency services, which meant that only one doctor was available to watch over the ward plus the six patients in the waiting room.
Karen Partington, chief executive at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, stated there was a delay in seeing patients that night. One of the doctors had to attend to a child who needed emergency resuscitation before assisting other patients.
"We aim to treat everyone as quickly as possible, but will always see the patients with the most urgent needs first," Partington commented.
She also added that the children's ward has a comfortable waiting area, and that hospital staff will provide extra amenities, such as blankets or drinks, when asked.
"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," she said.