"My ongoing fear of treatment"

About: Albany Health Campus

(as the patient),

A couple of years ago I went to Albany Health Campus for a routine endoscopy. A simple day procedure that should have seen me discharged sometime in the late afternoon. Instead, I woke up 3 days later in a different hospital in Intensive Care. I was told that the surgeon that had performed the endoscopy had decided to band a varice on my esophagus that was too small to band and in turn had caused a torrential bleed. To stem the flow of blood, the surgeon then put a stent down my throat and sent me off with The Royal Flying Doctor Service to Perth. None of my family were informed and my child was waiting for a call to pick me up. A family friend was on the same flight and they ensured that my family was contacted.

At the other hospital, it was discovered that the stent had worked its way down into my stomach, because it was the wrong type of stent, being non-flexible, and it caused my lungs to collapse. I was put on life support and my parents were told that I might not be able to be brought back. Thankfully, the extrication of the stent was successful, and my family and myself will be eternally grateful to the team in the other hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. I was put in a 72-hour induced coma and had great difficulty comprehending my situation upon regaining consciousness, so many drips and lines going into my neck, nose, arms and an overall sense of fear. It took many hours to convince me that things were going to be ok. I spent 6 days in Intensive Care. My stools kept coming out with varice banding clips in them. One further day in a recovery ward and I was discharged and had to make my own way back to Albany Health Campus to pick up my car.

After a couple of weeks, I emailed The Health Department and asked for some kind of explanation as to what had gone wrong. I was told that they took my case very seriously and that there would be a full investigation, with a third-party assessment. After three months I heard nothing and I was told that they couldn't find my file and that the third-party assessment had been misplaced and that they had to get another one.

Eventually, I was called into the hospital for a meeting with the surgeon involved and the head of some department or other. I was told that the surgeon had kindly come in on one of their holiday days off and the head of the department asked the surgeon to apologise to me at which they refused and only said they were sorry that it had happened at Albany Health Campus. I felt that the whole setup was intimidating and then the surgeon lied and told me that I was already bleeding when they had performed the endoscopy and that the root cause of the whole problem was the storeman who hadn't replaced the flexible stents that were out of date. No recording of this meeting took place. After about 10 minutes there were a couple of limp, insincere handshakes and that was that.

The doctors and nurses at the other hospital had all told me the severity of my situation had been caused by the surgeon’s incompetence but they didn't want to get involved and so the surgeon is still there at the Albany Health Campus.

I have got ongoing liver problems and I do bleed very easily. I recently caught the flu and coughed so hard that I split a stomach muscle and had an internal bleed. I went to the Albany Health Campus Emergency Department (ED) and was discharged after an ultrasound and given codeine. I was asked why I had gone to the ED on that day and made to feel a bit silly for even being there and was discharged within the hour. After another 2 days of coughing, I had a tear 150 by 30 in the right side of my stomach muscles and was admitted. I received only pain relief and antibiotics and dismissive waves of the hand from the morning one minute consults with the doctor. I spent a week coughing and in severe pain. And then discharged with pain relief. I had a similar problem 7 months ago and was lucky enough to have been in Perth and was admitted to another hospital where the first thing I was given was a blood transfusion and platelet transfusions and drips to help heal my internal tears.

Why is the level of care and treatment so lousy down here in Albany? Why does it take my humble GP to look at my scan results and write a letter to higher authorities suggesting an immediate liver transplant? I feel that it would be easy to die here if left to the self-centered staff I dealt with at Albany Health Campus.


Response from Helen Van Gessel, Regional Medical Director, WACHS - Great Southern

Dear giftfk48

I am sorry to read of your experiences at Albany Hospital. I would like you to feel clinically safe and cared for by our team. To achieve this, I would ask you to please contact me directly on 9892 2476 so that together, we can make a plan to address your future care needs.

Kind regards

Dr Helen Van Gessel

Regional Medical Director

WA Country Health Service – Great Southern

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Response from Helen Van Gessel, Regional Medical Director, WACHS - Great Southern We have made a change

Dear giftfk48,

I am concerned that we have not heard from you. I’d like you to know that your feedback has been shared with Dr Ceinwen Gearon, Regional Clinical Practice Improvement Coordinator and Dr Barbara King, Director of Medical Services at Albany Health Campus.

Clinical governance processes help us continually improve the quality of our service and the health outcomes of our patients. This includes changes around the management of bleeding and stents in the last couple of years. We’d like the opportunity to offer you further feedback in direct response to your concerns and make a plan towards lessening your concerns about possible future treatment. I invite you to please make contact with either Ceinwen, Barbara or myself at the contact details below.

Dr Barbara King
Ph: 9892 2644
Email: Barbara.King@health.wa.gov.au

Dr Ceinwen Gearon
Ph: 9892 2664
Email: Ceinwen.Gearon@health.wa.gov.au

Dr Helen Van Gessel
Ph: 9892 2476
Email: Helen.VanGessel@health.wa.gov.au

Kind regards

Dr Helen Van Gessel

Regional Medical Director

WA Country Health Service – Great Southern

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful