"I felt discriminated against."

About: Armadale Hospital / Colyer Surgical & Medical Ward Armadale Hospital / Emergency Department Armadale Hospital / General Surgery Outpatient Clinic Armadale Hospital / Operating Theatre & Recovery

(as the patient),

I am writing to you today to complain about my recent treatment at Armadale Hospital.

I was seen in the Emergency Department on a Sunday with Right Upper Quadrant Pain. I was sent home from Emergency with a script for pain medication and the instruction to follow up with my doctor first thing on Monday morning and should my pain persist or worsen, I was instructed not to hesitate to return for further investigation.

As instructed, first thing on Monday morning, I saw my GP.  I was instructed to fast and I had a scan on my gallbladder that afternoon. On review of the scan results, my new GP advised me that if the pain does not settle and continues to worsen, I was to return to Emergency Department with a copy of the scan results.

The following day in the late afternoon I attended the Emergency Department of Armadale Hospital once again with worsening symptoms. I was seen by a surgeon in the Emergency Department and it was decided that the best course of action was to remove the gallbladder the next day.

Up to this point, the staff at Armadale Hospital, were polite, friendly and attentive to me as a patient and I was very impressed with the service I was receiving.  To the point where I was thanking and complimenting the staff for all that they were doing for me as a patient.

It was shortly after midnight that evening when I was moved to a bed on Colyer Ward (surgical). My pain was managed and I was woken early in the morning to shower and prep for surgery later that day.  The staff were treating me well up to this point. I put my hair up and it was upon dressing with the assistance of one of the Registered Nursing Staff that I believe things changed.

I have tattoos that I believe they found offensive. I explained to the nurse that I was Buddhist, but I felt her mannerism changed. In my opinion, she was rude.  To the point where I will go as far as to call her neglectful of me as a patient.

The shift changed and new nursing staff come on and I felt they all treated me cold.  When I returned from surgery at about 12:30pm the same nursing staff was still on shift.  I was struggling with the effects of the anesthetic.  I was incoherent, I struggled to communicate that I was in pain.  And when I did, I was ignored.  It was like they didn't listen. My husband who had been waiting for me the entire time needed to go home for some sleep and he left at about 2pm.  It was at this point that I asked the nursing staff to help me go to the toilet.  I could barely walk. It was at this point that I noticed that I had wet my bed. My bed was drenched. I was drenched, my gown was drenched and I was feeling cold.  While I was in the toilet, I asked the nurse if she could change it for me. I was in the toilet for a considerable period of time.  When I returned to the room, the nurse put a towel over the urine and said, it will be right and instructed me to get in as I was unsteady on my feet.

I had to wait again for the shift change to see a nurse, when I did buzz, they would come in and turn off my buzzer.  Occasionally they would get me more pain killers when I asked, but none of the nursing staff got me another blanket.  I was complaining repeatedly that I had a sore chest and it hurt to breathe.  I was told that it was nothing to worry about and it was just a complication with the gas and it would go away.  The doctor ordered an ECG that returned a normal result, but I still couldn't breathe.

The next day, 22 hrs later I got up out of my wet bed, covered in urine and walked to the desk where I asked the nursing staff if they could change the linen on my bed while I had a shower.  I still had trouble breathing.  When I got out of the shower, my bed still hadn't been changed.  The nurse hadn't even walked in the room. I ended up stripping the bed myself and putting the linen in the linen trolley that was in the hall.  I couldn't find replacement sheets.

The doctor came around with med students and performed an examination straight after the surgeon had come and explained that the bile duct had tapering at the bottom and they suspected that there may be stones in there that they did not remove with the operation and they needed to do more tests to see if further action was needed.  The doctor with the med students explained that they may need to operate again to remove them if this be the case.

Within 10 minutes of this, the nursing staff told me that I had been discharged and I was to go to the transit lounge.

I didn't want to go home.  I still had major pain issues and I struggled to breathe.

My husband picked me up and took me home about 11 am.  I went home and straight to bed as I was not feeling well. My husband grew really concerned when I was in more pain than he believed I should be in and my difficulties breathing prompted him to take me to the Emergency Department of Fiona Stanley Hospital that afternoon where further tests revealed that I had a partially collapsed lung.

I am very upset with the way I was treated at Armadale Hospital.  I have never felt so discriminated against in my entire life. I believe this was because of my religious and spiritual views.  But I am of the opinion that if something is not said about it, it will continue to happen.

Responses

Response from Diane Barr, Executive Director, Armadale Kalamunda Group

picture of Diane Barr

Dear Electric Lizard

Thank you for taking the time to write and sharing your recent experience at Armadale Hospital with me.

While I am pleased to read your positive comments about our staff involved in your care in the Emergency Department, I am deeply concerned and apologise for the experience you described before and after your surgery.

I understand you have also taken the time to speak with our Director Clinical Services (DCS) to assist our review of the concerns you have raised.

Each day, the team at Armadale aims to ensure that every patient, at all times, is treated in alignment with our values particularly kindness and respect. However, it is evident we did not get it right for you.

On sharing your story, we are now revisiting and reviewing the education and training provided to staff in relation to respecting diversity and providing non-judgemental care. We are also reviewing the effectiveness of communication between the team on discharge planning and emphasising how important it is that the patient should always be listened to and is central to the decision-making.

Our DCS will be able to respond to you on both these important issues when we have had the opportunity to explore your concerns further.

Thank you again for writing and speaking with us. Working in partnership with our patients and consumers is the way forward to improving the patient experience.

Yours sincerely

Di Barr

Executive Director

Armadale Kalamunda Group

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