"Staff attitude."

About: Maroondah Hospital

(as a carer),

My spouse has a fractured femur. They have had it for over 12 months. It was first thought my spouse had fractured their replacement hip. So early last year they had a full hip replacement. That part was fine, but it turned out that my spouse had actually fractured their femur around the pin. Because the surgery was done in another hospital, I believe the surgeon did not have the backup of further things they would need to fix it. They put cable ties around the femur, hoping that the bone would knit ok. It did not work, so we have been waiting since then to have it properly fixed. My spouse has been on crutches since then and can do practically nothing, so has been sitting in a chair since then. Our surgeon asked my spouse to come to Maroondah Hospital for the next surgery, as they would have what they needed there, whatever was found. That made sense, so we agreed. Due to numerous hold ups, my spouse is still waiting. It apparently requires two different doctors to do the surgery. I believe one of them decided that my spouse was putting it on and imagining it, even though the x-rays and scans prove otherwise.

My spouse can't put any weight at all on the leg, or lift it up off the bed or floor.  We live in the country, so it is a 3-4 hour drive to get through to the hospital. The public transport is not available for us to use, so one of our children has to take time off work to drive us there. We finally had a date set and we went down for the pre-op exam the week before. Everyone we saw was happy with the tests.

Then the anaesthetist - no one we had seen on our visit, rang to say the anaesthetist was not happy with one of the blood tests. The anaesthetist said they wanted to contact our surgeon and order another blood test, and he said he would get back to us. A week later we still had heard nothing, and it was getting close to the date of the surgery. So my spouse rang the hospital and was told - no, your op. has been cancelled. My spouse replied that it would have been nice to have been let know, and that person agreed that we should have been.

The day after my spouse was supposed to have their surgery, we received a letter to let us know about the cancellation. My spouse rang the relevant number to ask why had they used the "snail mail" and not our email. My spouse was told they did not have our email address. My spouse does not know our e-mail address, so put me on the phone, because I knew I had given these details when I filled out the original forms. Plus I had also received an email several months before, for another reason. I asked again why rely on snail mail when the email was available. The answer I got was - if you choose to live that far away and choose to use our hospital you have to put up with that. I can only consider those who live closer to the hospital. I replied that we did not choose to use your hospital, our surgeon did, as he needed the facilities available. This staff member answered with - just give me your email address.

Someone then decided my spouse needed other things done, before their leg surgery, so we are still waiting. I am elderly and I have severe Rheumatoid Arthritis, but now have to do everything around our home, including all outside work - including feeding sheep, etc. I don't know how much longer I can keep it up. I am now having to think about selling our home and possibly having to move into a nursing home and that thought is not what we had envisaged until this year.

My spouse had been my carer for a number of years  and now I have to be theirs. My opinion is - I hope something can be done about some of the staff treating country people like what is believe is second rate citizens, as that is how I am feeling. Most of the staff have been wonderful and caring, so it's not them I am complaining about. It is not our surgeon that I am complaining about either.

I do wish to point out again that it is not most of the staff that are the problem. Most have been wonderful, and we will have to continue with having treatment at the hospital, as we want my spouses leg to be fixed. It has just been far too long a procedure, with no results. It was the response of the admissions nurse, who I felt treated us badly for living this far away. I thought Melbourne hospitals were there for all of Victoria when needed. The doctor who said he would follow-up did not do it. All the other staff have been as helpful as they can including other admissions nurses. I thought, by giving my email address it would be used for important messages, even if one was needed to be sent by snail mail as well.

If my spouse had not rung to find out what was happening, we would have had to leave home at about 5 am to be sure to get through the traffic, in case of hold ups. As it was, our daughter still lost a days pay, as she could not rearrange her plans. We do not have the finance to stay anywhere down there and don't have any family anywhere in the area. As it is, each trip costs us at least $150, which on a pension is getting harder to find. Because there are other surgeons closer to where we live, we can't get any help from the government. But as we want our current surgeon to complete the job, we will keep finding the money somehow. But don't need any wasted trips.

Responses

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of David Plunkett

Dear Condog

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide your feedback on Patient Opinion.

I would like to apologise for the less than positive experience by some staff at Maroondah Hospital as you have mentioned. We provide great importance on the Eastern Health values including kindness and patients first.

I would be very happy to have your experience reviewed and in order to do that I invite you to contact me directly at david.plunkett@easternhealth.org.au or you may contact the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience either on 1800 EASTERN or feedback@easternhealth.org.au

Please be assured, your comments and feedback are taken very seriously and I hope we hear from you soon.

Kind regards

David

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