"Treatment or lack thereof"

About: Rockingham General Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I arrived at Rockingham General Hospital mid-afternoon.

Reception

Reception

The waiting time in the reception of the ED was to be expected, so no real complaint there.

When I finally made it to a bed approximately an hour after arriving, I was attended to by the nurses initially. I knew what was wrong; I had taken a fall and cut my toes and legs. I was given oral antibiotics which were doing no good, I had developed cellulitis, and an intravenous antibiotic would be needed. I also made a request for painkillers that I could take home. Around an hour since being seen to, I was asked if I wouldn't mind giving up the bed, and to wait out in the hallway. I had no objection.

Staff attitude

Staff attitude

I then waited out in the hallway for 4 hours, when I asked a passing nurse what was happening. My attending doctor came out and said - oh I guess I had better send you to X-Ray, just to make sure nothing is broken. Not blaming the X-Ray Department, but I sat in the hallway for 3/4 of an hour, got the X-Ray, came back, where I waited an hour, before yet again having to ask a nurse would they be able to find out what was happening. My attending doctor came out, didn't speak to me, but I heard them ask I be given the intravenous antibiotic. Another hour passed, still waiting for the antibiotic. Half an hour after that a person showed up with it. By this time it was well and truly past midnight. Once that was given I was told I could go, so I asked about some pain medication to take home, which I had asked for while in the bed. That was another half an hour wait.

Waiting Time

Waiting time

I was in pain, and to be blunt starting to get angry, as I felt once I was asked to wait out in the hallway I was forgotten about. I understand I wasn't a high priority case, however, I felt like I was made to be out of sight, out of mind. Any updates I needed on how much longer I would be kept waiting were initiated by myself via a passing nurse.

Responses

Response from Kath Smith, Executive Director, Rockingham Peel Group, South Metropolitan Health Service

picture of Kath Smith

Dear atlasrn37,

Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I’m sorry you had such long waiting times in our ED and that your experience with us left you feeling like you had been forgotten. It should not have been the case that you needed to initiate updates on your treatment from nurses passing in the corridor. Please accept my apologies for this and be assured that your story has been fed back to staff in the ED and will be discussed at regular staff departmental meetings.

It is usual practice at the Rockingham ED for a pain assessment to be undertaken at triage and for patients to be offered analgesia when required. It is also our usual practice to check on and communicate with our ED patients every 30 minutes to ensure they are aware of what is happening in regards to their care. Clearly these things did not occur on this occasion so I have reminded staff of the importance of and need for ensuring these occur.

At times when the ED is very busy we have to sit patients in the hallway to manage departmental overflow. I have asked staff to minimise this practice in the future where practicable.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to share your experience. I wish you a speedy recovery.

Regards

Kath Smith

Executive Director, Rockingham Peel Group

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