"Poor doctor care"

About: Box Hill Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I would like to notify you about my recent experience at the Box Hill Emergency / Short Stay Department.

I checked into the Emergency Department around mid morning, with a referral letter from the GP I had just seen earlier that morning. The GP was unsure of a diagnosis and had advised I go directly to the hospital for further examinations relating to my chest pain.

In the Emergency Department I was seen by a nurse and I think also a doctor, who arranged an ECG scan and blood tests. The health professionals during this time were very nice, understanding & had a great professional demeanour. I thank these carers for their time and services. However after receiving my blood results, which had shown a positive result for a potential blood clot on my lung, they moved me to short stay and had advised me that another doctor would come to talk about the next steps involved.

Given my particular sensitive history, I had already expressed my concerns to the emergency staff about the potential scans for my “maybe” condition and how this will affect my current pregnancy of around 14 weeks. They told me the doctor in short stay will come to chat to me about the options.

This is where I would like to make a complaint, this particular specialist doctor and the doctor they then proceeded to do a hand over to once their shift had finished, were far from professional, in my opinion! I feel these doctors were very rude, didn’t show any compassion to my situation and I felt bullied into doing something I didn’t want to do or felt that was necessary.

I asked if they could guarantee this scan they were adamant I needed, wouldn’t harm the baby, and was told, there are no guarantees and the only thing guaranteed, is that we all will die one day. One of the doctors also said that if I don’t have this scan, that I will die! I feel the doctor was extremely rude and didn’t want to look at any other options for me. Both doctors seem to be so adamant that I had a clot on my lung even though there were no other signs to suggest this & were only giving me the option to have a scan to which would deliver radiation to my 14 week old baby.

I was told, would you rather have the scan, or die?, also at another point told, you can’t have babies if you die anyway - this is only some of the comments made by your doctors during my time in short stay, there were others like this, many times.

Because I feel these doctors had been very rude and not listening to my concerns, there was no way I would want them to treat me or did I want to put my life / baby’s life in their hands and told them I wanted another opinion - clearly not from this hospital!

Again I feel I was treated with more cold rudeness from your doctor who told me that I had to sign a disclaimer to say I’m ignoring their medical advice if something was to happen, again said that with my condition could lead to death. I was happy to leave considering how I had been treated (by these two doctors), I waited for my discharge papers and left in the evening.

I would like to compliment all other nurses that day who assisted with me, as they were great and I am grateful for their assistance. I would also like to pass on positive feedback for Clare - the technician who performed the ultra sound in my legs - she was sensational, so understanding, supportive, made me feel calm and really tried to help me feel better about my situation. She has great people skills and is clearly in the right profession of helping to care for sick people. Thank you Clare!

Just to clarify my test results in the hospital - ECG scan - normal, nothing to suggest concern. Ultrasound on legs - no signs of clots - nothing to suggest concern. My blood results, D-Dimer were elevated which can be a concern however due to me being pregnant; this could also give a false positive, therefore a non-conclusive result. All other tests did not show signs of clot on lungs however the doctors in short stay wanted me to either have a CT or VQ scan first- both which have radiation and risks for baby - without looking at any other options first.

After leaving your hospital, concerned I will die because of your doctor’s comments, I went straight to another hospital Emergency Department. This was a completely different experience, after same tests results, they were not concerned that my life was at risk and didn’t feel I was at the stage to organise any radiation scans. They said the VQ scan may not give a proper diagnosis due to breast augmentation and really didn’t feel this was something I needed to have done at this point in time.

They explained the ECG would show signs if there was a significant life threatening clot on the lungs, the ultra sound would also generally find things in the legs to suggest clots but this was completely clear. My legs were not swollen or sore - again a sign of no clots. I don’t have a cough and my pain is not extreme. They also performed an ultrasound on my heart and chest to and was able to rule out heart issue or a collapsed lung - this was proper report that was documented by the hospital.

They said if anything gets worse, then to please come back. I will be sending positive feedback to this hospital and thanking the two doctors that assessed me. Both were so understanding, very compassionate, professional and extremely knowledgeable. I felt safe, cared for and trusted there advise completely.

I’m sharing my experience with you in the hopes that in the future your treating doctors have better people skills, more professionalism and can avoid patients getting scared, panic and made to feel pressured into things that may not be necessary.


Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of David Plunkett

Dear sbcb,

I would like to thank you for taking the time to share your experience on Patient Opinion and the balanced approach you have taken. I am sorry some of your experience was not positive but pleased this was not consistent throughout. I am pleased you were able to receive further care and treatment for your concern and this has been sorted to your satisfaction.

In order for us to follow up your particular circumstances, I would like to invite you to contact one of our Patient Relations Advisors in the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience either by calling 1800 EASTERN or by emailing feedback@easternhealth.org.au. If you choose to call please be aware that it is possible that the Patient Relations Advisors may be on another call at the time you ring and if so you will be invited to leave a message so they can return your call.

I trust you remain in good health and I will share your positive feedback with Clare and the nursing staff in the Emergency Department and Short Stay Unit at Box Hill Hospital.

Kind regards


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