"Turned away from a GP clinic whilst experiencing intense chest pain"
About: GPs in the Moore Electoral District GPs in the Moore Electoral District JOONDALUP 6027
Posted by Bewildered (as ),
I was talking to my girlfriend on the phone the other day (I was over an hour drive away from her) and she started complaining about chest pains. So I asked her to explain exactly what she was experiencing, and she stated that it felt like someone was jumping on her back, pain running down her left arm and her jaw felt like it was cramping. Yes, alarm bells went into overdrive!
The best option by far, in my opinion, was to get straight to the GP clinic (because of it's very close proximity to our house) and then at least she would be in the company of a number of doctors whilst waiting for an ambulance if the symptoms persisted. I suggested this option because she was home alone at the time and I believed that a doctors surgery would be a great place to be, in this situation. I stayed on the phone with her the entire time and her symptoms were slowly intensifying, and by the time she arrived at the clinic, I could hear that she was clearly in a lot of discomfort. She was having trouble getting words out and emitting frequent groans of intense pain. She told me that there was a big cue at the counter, so I told her walk straight to the counter (because this now is a matter urgency). I told her that I'd get off the phone at this stage, so she could put all of her focus on explaining her situation to the receptionist.
After she explained the situation (that was very visible anyway, because the entire waiting room was looking at her with looks of concern), she was told to take a seat and wait for the first doctor. Five or so minutes later, she rang me back in tears and confusion of what to do. Because as you could imagine, having chest pains of this calibre clouds your judgment and decision-making skills.
She explained to me that the doctor had asked her if she had ever had pain like this before and too that she had replied to them that about a year ago she did but they weren't nearly as bad as this time. They asked her what was the diagnosis of her previous event, she said pericarditis. With that being said the doctor told her to take herself to the nearest emergency department (10 minute drive away with smooth traffic) or call herself an ambulance. She explained to them that she was alone, and their response was we've got no nurse on duty, so we can't even do an ECG at the moment. The doctor proceeded to open their door and basically ushered her out of the private room and watched her start walking towards the exit doors (holding her chest, starting to cry, hunched over, confused and very scared), knowing that she was alone.
Not at any stage did the doctor check any vital signs at all (not blood pressure, heart rate or anything).
She exited the building, as she called me in tears, shocked and very confused. Yes, the doctor let her walk out of the surgery in this condition knowing she was totally alone.
I told her to go straight to her friend's (a nurse) house (again, very close to the clinic), and get the ambulance to her friend's address. That way she was in the company of someone in the medical field, whilst waiting for the ambulance.
I stayed with her on the phone until she reached her friend's house and I heard her start speaking to her nurse friend. She was then comforted and professionally assessed (as much as possible, with the tools available), whilst she waited for the ambulance.
She was then rushed by ambulance to the nearest emergency department.
Now, in my opinion, the conduct and professionalism of this doctor was absolutely disgraceful. The outcome that I would be expecting from a doctor in this situation, would be for them to call an ambulance and then assess her/reassure her until the ambulance arrived.
This so very easily could have resulted in a fatality!
I thought I'd just note that my partner, doesn't attend this surgery very often. I mention that as to remove any assumptions about her being a serial pest at the clinic because that certainly isn't the case.