"There aren't words for this one."

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Acute Assessment & Medical Ward 5B & Surgical Ward 5E Royal Perth Hospital / Emergency Department Royal Perth Hospital / General Medicine Ward 10A

(as the patient),

I don't have many nice words left.

Recently I presented to RPH Emergency Department for persistent diarrhoea and I was clearly dehydrated and hypokalemic but the doctor refused to treat it as they did not want to give me a needle. I was told I had gastritis.

I followed up with my GP who did some tests and discovered I had salmonella food poisoning. By this stage, it was two weeks later so I needed antibiotics but I could not take the oral ones needed for this strain due to a severe allergy. The only option left was to present back to RPH for IV antibiotics and potassium. I spent the whole day in ED for potassium replacement. The doctor refused to administer antibiotics under the direction of my GP. During the nine hours I was there I was not offered food or water or anything so I arranged a friend to bring me food.

This brings the story to two days later where I was advised to go back to the ED as my heart was doing weird things due to another drop in potassium because I was still sick. This time I was admitted to hospital, for four days.

Two of those days I was not fed. I have a lot of food allergies, which I wrote out for the catering people. The nurses were doing their best to arrange me some food to eat, but each time I was given food that, if I ate it, would send me into anaphylaxis. So I arranged a friend to bring me food. So for the four days I was in hospital there were only two to three meals I could safely eat.

Also during my time there I had a doctor come in for the sole purpose to do the Beighton score of hypermobility, despite my request for them to stop. I asked why they were doing this given they have my file with letters from genetics and all my scans to show I have frequent dislocations due to a connective tissue disorder. Their response was - oh, I am just doing this for my own benefit. Seriously doctors, back off! Just because I have a rarely diagnosed condition, does not give you the right to use me as a monkey or a guinea pig.

Later on, I believe I had a nurse ignore my requests to not pull my arms but they continued to do so. They then tried to administer antibiotics IV (intravenously) but it was unnecessarily painful as the cannula site had tissued over. I felt this nurse refused to listen to me. So I very sternly said several times please stop and get someone else as I was not comfortable with how they were treating me. They refused to let me speak to anyone else, so I got rather mad and advised them that as a patient it was my right to speak to the NUM (nurse unit manager) and ask for another nurse. Eventually, they listened and the nurse coordinator came in and established that, yes the cannula needed to change as a lump had formed around the site. Then I was told a doctor would come back in to insert another cannula. I was told this about 7.30pm. At midnight I still had not seen the doctor and was advised I was changing wards. Then I found out once I went up to a different ward that the previous ward had advised that the doctor had tried twice to administer a cannula and failed. But that was not true as I had not even spoken to the doctor.

I have lost count of the amount of times I believe I have been lied to by doctors at this hospital. So much happened this hospital admission that was, in my opinion, not humane. I don't see the point in going into every little thing that happened.

I have lodged a written complaint with the consumer engagement liaison officer as well. But the reason I chose to share my story today is because I have just gotten back from my GP only to learn that the stool sample I had in hospital that I was told was all clear still has not been cleared of salmonella. My most recent blood test also showed that I am still low in potassium. So basically I should not have been discharged and I have been told to go back into hospital. But what is the point? What is the point of going back in if the doctors won't treat me? What is the point in presenting to hospital when you know that is your only option, but you on some level are abused by the very system that is supposed to help you? Why would anyone go back to a place that is supposed to be safe when I believe clearly it is not safe. But what else are my options?

That is the other thing. The doctors will whinge and moan about not being sure how to treat me because of my complexities but they won't speak with the consultants I regularly see in the RPH clinics. My specialists know me, they understand my complexities and how to navigate through it but when they compile action plans for the ED, the doctors won't honour that in ED.

There has to be an end to this. There are times when my only option is to present to ED. If I am there it is because I have done literally all I can at home. Please remember that I am a human being first. I am not trying to be difficult, I just need some help. If I am told by my regular treating team that I need to go to hospital and you see me at ED, please respect that I am a human being and not just a frequent flyer.


Response from Grant Waterer, Acting Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Grant Waterer

Dear feeling dismissed,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience at Royal Perth Hospital (RPH). I would like to unreservedly apologise for what has obviously been a very traumatic experience for you and not a level of service that we like to provide here at RPH.

I would like to get a complete understanding of what you have experienced and gone through so that we can best help you moving forward and to prevent this from occurring to you or anyone else in the future.

Can I please ask you to call my office on 9224 3261 so that we can set up a face-to-face meeting to address all of your concerns and provide you with the help and assistance you need.


Grant Waterer

A/Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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