"Oral Surgery"

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Face and Jaw (Maxillofacial) Surgery

(as the patient),

I had an afternoon surgery booked recently. I was required to be admitted at 10.30 am. As instructed, I only had one toast and tea for breakfast before 6.30am that day and arrived at the surgery admission at 9.30am.

I was taken to the ward at 10am and was informed by the staff that I can be taken in for the surgery in the morning depending on when I last ate. I advised the staff that I had breakfast as per the instructions before 7am and was then told that the surgery will have to be in the afternoon as planned.

I was provided a chair to sit at 10am and my blood pressure and sugar levels were checked as I am diabetic, which is in your records.

At around 11.30am – 12 noon, I started to dose off on the chair and the nurse provided me with a bed to lay down. I had a lay down for 5 mins and was informed by another nurse that I was to be moved to another ward, thereby losing a bed that I was provided.

I was moved to the new ward at 12.45pm with two other patients. I was asked to wait there as the staff at the new ward were unaware of where I was meant to be going (it felt like I was an unexpected patient). I was left standing for half an hour before someone attended to me. They admitted me into the new ward and was provided a chair to sit on.

At about 2.45pm, I approached a staff at the ward reception to ask where I was on the list and that no one has yet attended to administer my sugar levels - considering I am a diabetic, hungry and had no food consumption from 6.30am. The staff at the reception advised me that no one from the last ward informed them that I was diabetic. While in the hospital, blood sugar levels for a diabetic person should be monitored at 2 hours interval, especially when fasting. I find this disturbing that regardless, whether informed or not by the previous ward, no one in this ward checked my records when admitting me to this ward.  I was informed by the staff that the patient ahead of me had an hour surgery and would be completed by 3pm-ish and I was to be next in line at approximately 3.30pm.

At around 3.45pm, the nurse came to tell me that the surgeons had a meeting at 3.30pm and the surgeries were running behind schedule. However, they will still attend to me today.

At 4.30pm the nurse advised me that I was not going to be operated today and the doctor will come and see me shortly and that I can have a bite to eat. She provided me with a sandwich and a cup of tea. I am vegetarian as per my records and was provided with ham and salad sandwich and was told that is all that they had to give me. I went to the canteen downstairs at the hospital and bought myself a vegetarian burger. By the time I returned to the ward, the hospital dinner was already served, and I was told it was too late to get any dinner.

I then waited until 6pm on a chair and no one came to see me at which point I went to speak to the ward reception staff again. The nurse informed me that she was going to phone the doctor to find out how long he was going to be. I was told to take a seat and wait in the ward. 10 minutes later, a nurse came to see me and said she was not able to get through to the doctor, but can tell me what the doctor would have said anyway – which was we have to re-book you at a later date. I fail to understand why I have had to wait for over an hour to hear what she could have told me at 4.30pm.

In summary, I have not been treated properly by the hospital staff when:

1.       I’m diabetic

2.       I’m vegetarian

3.       Was told to fast from 6.30am and strictly advised what to have for breakfast (1 toast and tea)

4.       No one attended to monitor my sugar levels at intervals

5.       Was provided with a bed for 5 mins

6.       Sat on a chair for whole day in the hospital gown given to me at 10am

7.       Moved around wards with staff not being informed of my records of being diabetic

8.       Staff not reading my records when admitted to the new ward

9.       Misinformed of the timings for the surgery considering I’m diabetic

10.   Provided with a sandwich with ham and salad considering I’m a vegetarian

11.   Starvation until 4.30pm and not being attended to until my personal approach to the staff

12.   If the nurse knew what the doctor would have told me (i.e. Re-booking) why could she not have told me that at 4.30pm and made me wait there till 6pm.

13.   Surgery did not take place even though it was booked and confirmed in advance.

The following day I contacted the Department of Oral and Maxillo-facial Surgery, as I had not heard from anyone regarding the re-booking. They were not even aware that my surgery was not carried out as planned and was going to speak to the doctors and someone would contact me on the same day or latest the next business day.

I had not heard back from anybody until I personally visited the Department of Oral and Maxillo-facial Surgery at the hospital and was told that I was re-booked for another date and a letter had been posted to me.

I advised the staff that I am unable to attend to this surgery on that date as I have another prior surgery booked in for the same day. I was then offered a later date and that this was to be confirmed with the surgeons as another major operation was already booked in for that date which was a long procedure and that she would call me that afternoon to confirm.

As of now I have still not heard back from anyone and still waiting for this phone call. 


Response from Lesley Bennett, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Lesley Bennett


Please allow me to start by apologising unreservedly for your experience at RPH. We have failed in our service delivery to you in every way and it sounds like you have had a very miserable experience. Without having more information, I am unable to comment on how exactly this situation was allowed to occur. However, I would very much like to apologise to you by phone, and also get some further information from you so that we can learn from your experience and address this communication and system breakdown in the hospital.

Can I please ask you to call my office on 9224 2219 and arrange with my secretary a time that is convenient for you to speak with me about this matter? Again, I apologise for the awful circumstances of your visit and the lack of communication, support and hospitality you received from us on this occasion. Often surgeries need to be cancelled due to unexpected emergency cases brought in to the hospital, however this is no excuse for the lack of communication and care that you were shown.

Dr Lesley Bennett

Acting Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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