'I was scared to take my daughter to A&E, but when I did the experience left me speechless'

Abigail wearing a cast on her arm
Abigail wearing a cast on her arm -Credit:Jason Roberts/LancsLive

They say that there is no greater love than that between a mother and her child.

As any parent will tell you, we'll do anything to protect our children. So when they are helpless, hurt or harmed, the love a parent has becomes almost overwhelming.

Your newborn baby's first cold; the first time your toddler takes those tentative first steps; or when your little one goes to school on their first day - these are all moments which spark an innate fear and desire to protect. You would take the pain yourself if you could - and at no time is this felt more strongly than when your child suffers an injury.


A couple of years ago, my daughter Abigail had to have a general anaesthetic in order to stitch a cut to her mouth. The 93 minutes (yes, I counted) she was away from me in the operating theatre were unbearable.

Every possible worst case scenario raced through my mind as I barely blinked while watching the doors to the ward waiting for her to be brought back to me. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

One night this week, Abigail was playing out with her friends, on the school field close to our home. I always insist she takes her phone with her when she goes out, in case of emergencies, so when I saw the 'incoming video call' message on my mobile I was quick to answer.

Abigail's friend Ella appeared on the screen with the sound of pierced screaming in the background. I froze.

Abigail (right) with her friend Ella
Abigail (right) with her friend Ella -Credit:Jason Roberts/LancsLive

"Abigail has really badly hurt herself can you come?," Ella asked me. Ella then calmly turned the camera around so I could see exactly where they were and I jumped in my car and raced to the scene.

Abigail had been climbing a tree when she fell out and landed heavily and awkwardly on her bent elbow. She was hysterical, as any child would be.

Ella's mum Kelly then arrived (Ella had sensibly thought to call her too as they live closer) and between us, we surmised that Abigail's elbow was badly sprained. Given her previous experience in hospital Abigail was adamant she didn't want to go to A&E and so we went home and that night she went to sleep as normal.

At around midnight I was watching TV downstairs when I heard Abigail screaming for me. She didn't argue about going to A&E and that's when I knew it must be serious.

I was terrified at the prospect of going to A&E, not least because of all the horror stories about 72-hour waits in makeshift 'corridor wards'. I packed our phones, a book, a notepad, a pen and snacks assuming we were in for a long night.

As we walked into the emergency department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and approached the booking-in desk, I peered around the corner to see how busy it was. Not as bad as it could have been, but far from empty.

Abigail about to have her x-ray
Abigail about to have her x-ray -Credit:LancsLive

So you can imagine my surprise when, almost before I had finished describing what had happened to the triage nurse, a doctor appeared and ushered us through to a separate area designated for children.

Within a couple of minutes of sitting down in the child-friendly waiting area, we were being taken to x-ray and 'fast-tracked' past all the waiting patients. I was told that children are classed as a priority which I was immensely relieved to hear.

No sooner had we returned to the paediatric waiting area we were taken into a room and told that Abigail had fractured her elbow in two places.

She would need to wear a cast for up to six weeks and, despite some initial confusion over the need for an operation, we were on our way home within an hour or so.

Abigail with her arm in a cast
Abigail with her arm in a cast -Credit:LancsLive

A&E departments are under immense pressure - often because people head there before considering the alternatives such as calling 111 or visiting a minor injuries clinic. Like me, I suspect there are countless parents who have debated whether or not to rush to the hospital when their child suffers an injury, given the advice to avoid it unless it's a life-threatening situation.

But a parent's intuition and need to protect their child cannot be explained by science or logic. We know best. And our wonderful NHS recognises that expertise and will always trust a mum's judgement.

Don't be afraid to visit A&E like I was. Because, just as us parents will, medical staff will always do everything in their power to protect our children.