"Treatment of toddler in emergency"

About: Armadale Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

My toddler had unfortunately got into my handbag and taken one of my heart tablets. We came into emergency and I was completely happy with how the case was being managed, until my toddler needed a line put in. The staff did not use basic precaution measures and numb all points of possible insertion. They had 3 staff hold my toddler down and proceeded to put an IV line into their hand without numbing it first. My toddler screamed and screamed in pain, shouting out, hurt, hurt to which the doctor replied - well you shouldn't have eaten what you did.

I broke down seeing my child in such pain and the complete lack of compassion or general duty of care or professionalism disgusted me. My child had nightmares that night shouting no, no in their sleep & now a number of days later still telling me their hand hurts. My little one was scared and in very obvious pain and distress. In my opinion, you should not have doctors who clearly seem to have no heart and no compassion tending to children. I am completely gobsmacked by the way my toddler was treated. As far as I'm concerned, it is disgusting and totally uncalled for.

Responses

Response from Shae Seymour, Executive Director, Armadale Kalamunda Hospital Group, Armadale Kalamunda Hospital Group

picture of Shae Seymour

Dear Toddler Treatment,

Thank you for writing and sharing with me about your recent experience at the Armadale Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED).

Firstly I am very sorry to hear that this experience was both distressing and traumatic for your child and you. I am deeply concerned by what you have described to me and apologise that the treatment provided to your child was not to your expectations.

Anaesthetic cream is usually applied on toddlers prior to the insertion of an intravenous (IV) line. The only exception is if there is an urgent need to insert the IV line as the cream can take up to 30 to 40 minutes before having an effect.

The decision around the urgency of an IV is normally discussed with parents with clear explanation as to the reasons for not using the cream. It seems this may not have occurred in this instance and I sincerely apologise for the lack of communication by our staff.

Please be assured that I have reflected this back to the ED team to remind them of the importance of keeping our patients and their families informed and to uphold our values of professionalism, respect and kindness at all times.

I would like to hear more about your experience and invite you to contact our Consumer Liaison Department on 9391 1153 or via AKG_ConsumerLiaison@health.wa.gov.au at a time that is convenient for you. This will enable us to investigate your concerns further and find ways we can improve the experience for other families.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us and I wish your child and you well.

Yours sincerely

Shae Seymour

Executive Director

Armadale Kalamunda Group

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Update posted by Toddler Treatment (a parent/guardian)

Thank you for your response Shae.

Please be advised that numbing cream was applied to the inside of both elbows, however for some reason the doctor decided to put the IV line into their hand after I mentioned not once but twice that numbing cream was not put on their hand. I was effectively ignored and they proceeded with the IV insertion.

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