"Diabetic needing a syringe"

About: Sale Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

Recently one evening, I contacted the Emergency Department at Central Gippsland Health in Sale. The lady who spoke to us on the phone, I believe was quite abrupt when we inquired about obtaining a syringe, as my teenager's insulin pump had shut down and their sugar levels had gone sky high. We were advised that there was an emergency and all hands were on deck for it, so we would have a wait before the triage nurse could see us. I said that was fine.

Upon turning up to the desk at emergency we greeted by the same staff member and said we'd called about a syringe. Not one word came out of her mouth. She bent down grabbed a brown paper bag and I felt threw it under the little slot in the glass and walked off. It seems compassion was nonexistent. She appeared to show no concern. Did not ask for details. No mention of seeing a triage nurse not a single thing! We left embarrassed, humiliated and angry, with a blood sugar level of 28 and I believe not one care was given. As this staff member walked off, the triage nurse smiled as we walked away.

Regardless of who we were and what reason we were there for, this staff member was given nothing but respect. We feel it is an absolute disgrace that she mans a desk where people are at their most vulnerable and shows complete inability to display kindness, care and compassion.

My teenager has had Type 1 diabetes since they were 18 months old. They are now a young adult. My child has spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital and this is the first time I have felt that treatment was so utterly disgusting that I considered driving a further 45 minutes to Traralgon.

Responses

Response from Denise McInnes, Director of Nursing & Clinical Support Services, Executive, Central Gippsland Health Service

picture of Denise McInnes

Dear Insulinsaveslives,

Thank you very much for bringing your concerns to my attention regarding your experience in our Emergency Department.

I am sorry to hear that the reception you received was not a compassionate one and did not meet the standard we aspire to provide for each of our patients.

Respect for every individual is one of the core values of our service and I am disappointed that this was not your experience. I would like to reassure you that we take all feedback seriously, acknowledging its value in helping us make quality improvements in our service.

Our staff recently completed specific communication training called “Class Act” to raise awareness across the organisation of the skills required to communicate in an appropriate manner. This is also assisting us to develop a “Communication Charter” which will reiterate the expected standard of communication across our organisation.

We have also supported over 17 departments across the health service to participate in a program called “Hello my name is……” which reiterates the importance of our communication with patients, putting them at the centre of everything we do. A video has been created, featuring existing CGH staff from a number of disciplines, illustrating how we introduce ourselves to our patients and ask permission to enter their space in order to care for them. I am confident that this will have a positive impact on our patient care.

I would be very happy to look into the specifics of your presentation to our Emergency Department if you would contact me on (03) 5143 8319 or at denise.mcinnes@cghs.com.au

Kind Regards

Denise

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