"Sick child, worst doctor imaginable"

About: Derby Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

My young child was seen in Derby Hospital ED. The doctor that we had seen on that date was absolutely horrible and unfortunately this has not been my only experience with this particular doctor. After waiting roughly 2 hours my child had fallen asleep and I was lying next to them in bed. The doctor abruptly pulled the curtain open giving myself a fright and instructed us to wake my child up immediately. Before I even had a chance to sit up the doctor was next to the bed and shaking my child awake. I was pretty upset about this but I let it slide. To make the story a bit shorter I will now bullet-point the rest of our horrible experience.

▪ the doctor forcefully shoved a popsicle stick down my child's throat to see their tonsils. This was very upsetting as my child was dry wrenching and telling me that it hurt. My child’s tonsils were enlarged.

▪ the doctor ignored my explanations that my child normally has enlarged tonsils and, to myself, they looked no different. No larger and no colour change.

▪ the doctor explained nothing to me. They walked in and out of the bay that we were in and ignored myself and my partner the entire time.

▪ the doctor wanted to take a swab of my childs's tonsils, so to make it easier on my scared child we told them how to push their tongue down to expose their throat for the nurse to get a good swab. On my child’s first try the doctor said - I don’t have time for this - and grabbed my child's chin and face and shoved the stick down their throat. It was such a shock and I believe the nurse stood there in disbelief. My child was choking, dry wrenching and trying to escape the doctor's grip. The doctor just ended up tightening their grip to my child's face which left finger and finger and nail marks on my child's face.

▪ I was absolutely furious and on the verge of tears.

▪ my child's mouth was full of blood after that and they were trying their hardest not to cry.

▪ the doctor then said that my child would need antibiotics and that it would be very expensive and that maybe we don’t purchase cigarettes this week. I was in absolute disbelief that someone could be this rude and disrespectful, to presume that we smoke and are poor!

▪ I then asked for a carer’s note to produce to my employer while my child had days off school. The doctor replied with - Oh you have a job? Fine, however you are not getting anymore than 3 days off work. I was so dumbfounded that when I looked around the room I believe most of the nurses were looking at me with sympathetic eyes.

▪ we then waited over half an hour for the note and antibiotics while the doctor played on their phone!

Finally, I believe I am not the only person to be mistreated by this particular doctor and have encouraged others to come forward.

I would also like to note that about 4 - 5 days later we found out that my child did not in fact have tonsillitis like I suggested and that it was allergies instead and was sorted by a small bout of antihistamines.

Needless to say I am beyond speechless to the treatment that we received that day.

I can also provide you with the name of the doctors and nurses involved.

Responses

Response from Rachele Ferrari, Operations Manager, Derby Fitzroy Valley, WACHS

picture of Rachele Ferrari

Dear speechless parent,

Firstly I would like to sincerely thank you for taking the time to share your experience on Patient Opinion. I am so very sorry and equally very concerned to read about your experience in the emergency department at Derby Hospital. Your experience does not meet our commitment to providing high quality patient centred care and the concerns you have outlined are not reflective of our values – community, compassion, quality, integrity, justice.

I have discussed your story with Julie Kirk our Coordinator of Nursing and Bruce Dixon our Senior Medical Officer and to allow us an opportunity to investigate this matter and discuss the concerns you have raised we would really appreciate it if you could make contact. Bruce Dixon can be contacted on 0477 379 952 or email WestKimberleySeniorMedicalOfficer@health.wa.gov.au and Julie Kirk can be contacted on 0427 641 739 or email Derby.CoordinatorofNursing@health.wa.gov.au. Alternatively you can contact me directly on 0419 043 610 or via email derby.operationmanager@health.wa.gov.au, your call would be very welcome and can still be addressed anonymously if you wish. The information you provide will allow us to identify exactly where things went wrong. Please be assured of our commitment to address the issues you have raised.

Thank you again for making contact, we really appreciate your feedback for without it we would not be aware of the issues and would not have the opportunity to improve our service. I hope that your child is well on the road to recovery and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

Rachele Humbert

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