"A number of concerns"

About: Maroondah Hospital

(as the patient),

I want to share my experiences at Maroondah Hospital.

Firstly, I would like to say that it seems to me that they are underfunded and I believe that the staff are doing their best. However, there are mistakes that are made, that are of great concern. For example, it seems that there is only one resident available overnight to manage all the patients in the surgical ward. That is, in my opinion, too much for one staff member.

I have a rare condition that requires treatment. This condition causes my belly to fill up with fluid, which becomes very dangerous. If it builds up too much, it can cause me to pass out, and if left untreated can be deadly. I have learnt to manage the condition and the fluid buildup by weighing myself daily and using a tape measure to check the amount of swelling.

A little while ago, I had an endoscopy done. The doctor seemed to avoid me before the procedure started, standing far away from me so that I could not ask questions. Once the procedure was over, I had pain in my throat and a thick fluid that came back up. I’d had an endoscopy before and had no problems.

Recently, the swelling got particularly bad while I was at home. I contacted the on-call nurse and my GP who both wanted me to go to the ED. They offered to call an ambulance for me, but I declined and drove myself. Once I arrived at the ED, I waited 4 hours to be seen, which is normal.

I was called in and seen by a doctor. They asked what was wrong, and I explained my condition and that the hospital had all of the details in my medical file. I explained the fluid, and the discomfort it was causing me. The doctor put a cannula in, but they didn’t examine my belly at all, or my fingernails, where signs of this condition can be seen. I suggested that they do an ultrasound or tapping, but all they did was a blood test. They sent it off, and when the results came back, all they had done was a Liver Function Test, which came back fine. They told me I was fine and sent me home. The cannula was left in.

As the discomfort and swelling didn’t go down after some time, I called my GP, who again referred me to the ED. I returned, only to be seen by the same doctor. They tried to put another cannula in, but I said no, if you don’t have a good reason to, don’t do it. They again tried to send me home, and I said that I wanted to see a gastroenterologist. They said that people can only see the specialist through the clinic. I insisted and they went away for a while, and when they came back, they said that they had spoken to a gastroenterologist over the phone, who had said I was fine to go home. How did they diagnose me over the phone if they didn’t even see or talk to me?

After being sent home, I went to see my GP. They decided that they would try and see if they could get me in through the clinic. They were able to and I went in, where I was seen by a specialist I had been to before. They checked my fingernails and immediately said that I needed to have an ultrasound and pathology done. I asked if they needed to check my belly, but they said that they can already tell just by looking at me that there is swelling. They were also able to provide some answers about the thick fluid that I had after the endoscopy, saying that the doctor must have caused irritation in my throat and that it was a thick saliva that the body makes when there is something caught in your throat.

I am still waiting on the results of the pathology, but my experience with the gastroenterologist I saw was fantastic, unlike my previous experiences.

Finally, I have noticed that the bathroom near the Imaging Department at Maroondah Hospital is the most disgusting toilet I’ve seen. There were stains on the floor that I believe have been there for years. I’ve been to service stations that had cleaner toilets.

In my opinion, the funding is so lacking. I don’t want to complain, but something has to be done.

Responses

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of David Plunkett

Dear induspt78,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback regarding your experience both in the surgical ward and also the emergency department at Maroondah Hospital. Please accept my apologies that your experience was not as positive as when you saw the gastroenterologist in clinic.

In order to investigate your concerns fully and to maintain your confidentiality, I would encourage you to make direct contact with the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience either via email at feedback@easternhealth.org.au or by calling 1800 EASTERN. Should you choose not to make contact, we will respect your choice and only use your feedback as an opportunity for staff to learn – especially when caring for someone such as yourself who knows your condition so well.

I appreciate you including your comments regarding the toilet. I will ask the team to review and see what can be done to improve this situation. With respect to the overnight medical staff, I would like to share with you that there is more than one surgical doctor rostered each night. I’m sorry this misinformation was given to you.

I hope we hear from you soon and wish you the very best of health.

Kind regards

David

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