"I felt like no one wants to treat me"

About: Rockingham General Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

Recently I fronted up at Rockingham General Hospital.

I had just experienced weakness down one side of my body, including a drooping face. I have Antiphospholipid syndrome and blood clots are very common, and I have already experienced two mini strokes (TIA's - Transient Ischaemic Attack).

By the time I got to the hospital the weakness was wearing off and my facial expressions were returning. However, my spouse insisted I still need to be checked out as it is possible it could happen again.

Each time I have attended Emergency Department (ED) at Rockingham General Hospital with these symptoms, the Triage Nurse knows it could be a potential stroke/blood clot happening, and I am usually treated straightaway.

Triage were concerned when I was giving them the details, however, once the information was given that I am undergoing chemo treatment and my last treatment was over a week ago, I was told to sit in the waiting room and wait to be called.

ED was very busy, I believe there were lots of sprains, and cuts, and headaches etc, and I can appreciate a waiting time as all patients are seen on their priority. Mine apparently was not concerning because it appears everyone that had walked through the emergency door after me had now been seen, 3 hours later I am still sitting there.

Other times when I had the TIA's (mini strokes) I was a top priority, however, I was now a cancer patient, and undergoing chemo, and it looks like no one wants to treat me. I believe it must be because I have cancer. I feel you should hang your head in shame Rockingham Hospital.

I felt like because I am having chemo I wasn't worth treating.  

We left the hospital 3 hours later (still sitting in the waiting room) without being seen.


Response from Heather Pearce, A/Executive Director, Rockingham Peel Group, South Metropolitan Health Service

picture of Heather Pearce

Dear sculptorxf65,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I am very sorry to hear of your negative experience at Rockingham General Hospital Emergency Department. How quickly a patient receives care is dependent on their presenting symptoms, all patients are triaged on arrival and seen in order of assessed priority using the Australian Triage Scale. This prioritises patients in order of clinical need, meaning that the sickest patients are seen first. Many patients do not enter the waiting room, being deemed too unwell and are taken straight through the ambulance bay into the main department as they are assessed as having a life threatening condition.

Other patients receive a lower category which means there is no immediate threat to life and they can safely waiting 30 mins to 1 hour to be seen. Unfortunately during peak times in ED this waiting time can be longer than anticipated.

Patients with minor injuries and illness can be seen by the Nurse Practitioner but I appreciate that watching patients move through faster can be frustrating.

I’d like to reassure you that a diagnosis of cancer and chemotherapy treatment are seriously considered during the assessment process and during any treatments provided to patients.

Unfortunately without the knowledge of your details we are unable to look into the other issues that you have raised thoroughly and I encourage you to contact our Consumer Liaison Dept. on 9499 4632 to enable this.

Kind Regards,

Heather Pearce

A/Executive Director

Rockingham Peel Group

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

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