"Our horrible hospital experience"

About: Sydney / Sydney Eye Hospital / 2 West & Hand Clinic

(as a parent/guardian),

Last year, my daughter was referred immediately to attend the Sydney Eye Hospital.

The triage doctor was delightful and contacted a neurologist who verbally admitted my daughter with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension and we were sent around to the holding bays for a LP (lumbar puncture), pending being taken to a ward.

A second, senior doctor was to perform the LP and a nurse also attended.

I asked the second doctor if it was okay for me to stay with my daughter as she was feeling very nervous. They advised that it was fine.

The second doctor advised my daughter to sit at the very edge of the bed and flop over. She did this and I supported her so she didn't fall off as well as encouraging her throughout the several attempts that were made to insert the needle.

The nurse was at the head of the bed.

After several painful attempts and frustrated sighs from the second doctor, this doctor pulled the needle out and threw it on the bed (there was no sharps bin or kidney bowl on the bed). There was also a look of concern from the nurse.

The second doctor then advised my daughter to lay back and they would have to attempt another LP on Monday with the neurologist.

The second doctor was outwardly frustrated at the fact they were unable to complete the LP.

They advised my daughter to lay back on the bed and she did.

Approximately 30 minutes later, when the anaesthetic was wearing off, my daughter felt something sticking into her back. I immediately knew what it would be and yes.... the needle was stuck in her back. 

I carefully removed the needle tip and alerted the nurse and a third doctor that was now on duty. It was at this time that I obtained the names of all staff involved as I was going to make a formal complaint about the second doctor and their lack of patient care.

A short while later, the second doctor reappeared and apologised to my daughter and I advised the doctor that this was not good enough and as a senior doctor they should be more careful with sharps and know that they must go into a sharps bin or at least a kidney bowl (as opposed to being thrown onto the bed with frustration and in my opinion, attitude - I did not say this to the doctor.) The second doctor advised they were speaking to my daughter and I advised them that as her mother and carer their treatment was unsatisfactory. My daughter was in no state to defend herself and at that stage, my other child had also arrived. This doctor then advised they thought the nurse would clean things up - this doctor told my daughter to lay back on the bed without checking it was safe to do so!

The second doctor then had a go at me saying there is not usually a distraction of a third person in the room (my daughter would have fallen off the bed had I not been there physically and mentally with their lack of bedside manner). They replied - she seems perfectly fine to me, she doesn't look too scared. Yet she was crying and shaking!

My daughter was eventually taken to the ward in the early hours of the following morning. My daughter had to ask for pain medication most of the time. It seemed there was no regular medication.

That day, around lunchtime, the third doctor came up to see how my daughter was doing and advised she might do well with some fresh air and they gave her a day pass. We went for a short walk but she wasn't feeling too good so we returned to the ward to find her bed had still not been made, let alone changed.

By the next morning, my daughter could not even sit up in bed to eat breakfast due to the pain in her head and there was no doctor in sight (she had not been seen at all by the neurologist - admitted by proxy).

It was at this stage we asked the nurse if my daughter could be transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital and I was advised that we would have to self-discharge and they could not help with transport or notes. I requested that the nurse contact ED at RNSH and fast-track her as she was in no state to sit and wait via emergency (if I called an ambulance she would be taken to St Vincent's). The nurse on duty made some calls and did contact ED at RNSH.

My daughter is still being treated at the RNSH outpatient clinic and through a CT scan, it has been noted that she has a syrinx lower thoracic T5-T10.

I only hope that the syrinx was not due to the inappropriate bedside manner of the second doctor

As you can imagine, we have been through, and are still going through, a nasty as well as frustrating medical diagnosis and certainly do not appreciate nor accept what I believe was negligent medical behaviour from anyone, let alone a senior doctor.

I look forward to your response and plan of action.

Responses

Response from Jennie Barry, General Manager, Prince of Wales/Sydney/Sydney Eye Hospital

Dear Unhappy Jan,

I am terribly sorry to read your feedback about your daughter’s admission to Sydney Hospital/Sydney Eye Hospital. I would like to investigate your concerns further, and for this reason, would be grateful if you could please make contact through the following email address - SESLHD-SSEHExecutiveServices@health.nsw.gov.au. You will be contacted as soon as possible afterward.

Thank you for bringing your experience to our attention, I trust your daughter is making a steady recovery.

Kind regards,

Jennie Barry.

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