"Feeling belittled and unheard"

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I have what’s considered a rare medical condition. Often I have to go into hospital for treatment of this genetic condition as it affects my heart and joints. Sometimes the medical intervention that is required cannot be done outside of a hospital environment. Yet, when I present to ED I am often dismissed by doctors and told this isn't an ED issue despite my GP sending me in.

It is known within my regular treating team of specialists that I do everything I can to prevent having to present at the ED. On countless occasions, I am treated like a hypochondriac despite genetic testing that shows it's actually a biological condition, not at all psychological.

I have been told by the emergency doctors that they don't want to speak to my cardiologist or physicians as they don't want to be seen as being stupid. When I have requested to speak to the consultant I’ve also been told the registrar did not want to bother the consultant. Doctors; projecting your insecurities onto your patient is a terrible idea. We are the patient there to seek medical help and we are not there to nurse your insecurities. If you don’t know much about the patient's medical condition – ask the patient! Or Google the condition. As the patient, we know our bodies better than most given we live in our bodies 24/7. I respect that as an ED doctor you cannot possibly know all the medical conditions however you could listen to us. I say ‘we’ and ‘us' because I know I am not alone in this.

I wish I could say this experience was an isolated incident but it’s not. The week prior when I had presented to the ED, the triage nurse listened and recognised I was there with a solid reason to seek emergency help. However, the doctor who saw me dismissed the medical reasons I was there. They did not do bloods, they did not do basic medical assessment and decided that they knew better than my treating team and advised me to stop a medication and to see a specialist that had absolutely nothing to do with the reason I presented to the ED. I was advised to go home and give the bed to someone else. The nurses were gobsmacked as the reasons I presented were valid reasons to present and none of that was investigated. When I went back to my GP she was mortified and wanted to send me back to ED because the issue was considered a medical emergency. I refused as the trauma from attending the ED less than two days prior was still fresh. I couldn’t face going back to risk going through what I went through again. A week later I was still having the same troubles so I had to go back to the ED. Once again my valid concerns were diminished.

I am yet again feeling shoved out because someone doesn't understand my medical conditions. Yet again I feel like a waste of space because they don't understand it, nor were they willing to learn how it affected me. I am more than happy to educate doctors about my conditions as I feel this might bridge the gap but they need to be ready to listen.

I just want to be respected and heard.


Response from Aresh Anwar, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Aresh Anwar

Dear feeling dismissed,

I am sorry to hear about your experience. It is very difficult to address the specific challenges without some further details and wonder whether you would please come forward to contact us here at the Royal Perth Hospital Consumer Engagement Unit via email RPBG.Feedback@health.wa.gov.au or call (08) 9224 1637.

Nevertheless I have brought your concerns to the attention of the Emergency Department so that they can discuss the impact of their interactions with patients.

Yours sincerely

Dr Aresh Anwar

Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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Update posted by feeling dismissed (the patient)

Dear Dr Aresh,

What sort of information do you require? I have previously contacted the RPH Consumer Engagement Unit about a different yet similar situation. I am not comfortable with having the information linked to my personal file at this stage given potential repocussions that follow from that. Hence posting here somewhat anonymously.

Either way the situation needs to be addressed given this is an ongoing issue with the Emergency Department particularly. I also know I know that I am not alone in this experience I have shared.

Kindest regards.

Response from Aresh Anwar, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Aresh Anwar

Dear feeling dismissed,

I sincerely apologise that to date, you have not been able to get the treatment you require and that your concerns have not been addressed.

I completely understand your reservations but ask that you to contact my office directly on 9224 2219 and can assure you, your concerns will be handled with the highest levels of confidentiality, so that we can properly address the issues you raise.


Aresh Anwar

Executive Director

Royal Perth Hospital

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