"Patient care"

About: Bunbury Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I was experiencing chronic pain in my bowels, and I had experienced worsening pain over the course of a week. Until it became so unbearable I went to Bunbury Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED), from which I was sent home without truly listening to my symptoms. A surgeon only consulted with my attending emergency doctor, to which I was never seen by. I was sent home with a cream.

After a very painful, sleepless night, this time I went to my local hospital’s ED. This story can be read here. While there, tests found I had a very large abscess in my rectum not much smaller than a tennis ball. I was transferred back to Bunbury Hospital again and was told to report to the Emergency Department (ED) and that they were expecting me.

Upon arrival, there was no Triage Nurse on the ED Emergency window and I was waiting patiently for a short while, standing as I could not sit, again nearly passing out from the pain. I felt I was blatantly ignored by a staff member at the Emergency Window, who clearly had a lot of photocopying to do whilst an emergency patient was waiting. My spouse had to walk up to them and approach them to be spoken to, to be told I had to wait to be triaged and please sit down over there. My spouse and I were both told by the other hospital that we would be expected by the surgical team at Bunbury Hospital and we relayed this to a staff member that I felt was very unsympathetic.

It seemed we were a bother to them and I feel at no stage displayed any willingness to help us in our time of need. I remained standing in a corner and my spouse went and ran off to find someone who can help. They later returned with a Hospital Coordinator who saw to it that I was seen immediately.

We were not told we had to be triaged again by the other hospital which was their mistake for not telling us the procedure, however the lack of nurses at Bunbury did not help the situation either, plus a very rude staff member who I feel should not be working with patients in an emergency situation. We didn’t see any nurses the entire time we were waiting at the window or seeing patients waiting in Emergency.

We were seen by a Triage Nurse and finally admitted. I had to remain standing throughout this whole process and only after I had seen the triage nurse was I offered a bed to lay in, about an hour after arriving.

I was taken for CT Scans to which everyone past the Emergency Triage arrival point were extremely helpful at every stage of the way, from pain relief to explaining what was happening to me, and that I was going in for emergency surgery (I’m not 100% sure but I think I was the last surgery for the night and possibly the staff even stayed back to see that I had the surgery that I needed to which I am eternally grateful). The doctor was a true professional and not once made me feel embarrassed about the surgery I was having. I was extremely embarrassed naturally, but this was definitely soothed by all the surgical staff. Please accept the highest level of gratitude from myself for all their professionalism.

In recovery at night, all the staff before the evening shift change were absolutely amazing and very supportive, but once the shift handover happened that is a different story.I was in recovery in a bed I was told I could not flatten until the nurse had given me antibiotics, nor could I turn the light off. I was very tired from surgery and uncomfortable. About midnight came along and although my spouse was sitting next to my bedside, not bothering a single soul, they were kicked out. I expressed my most desperate plea that it was not safe for them to drive home to a country regional area with kangaroos on the road and being tired. They were kicked out anyway even after the nurses my spouse had spoken to earlier told my spouse they could stay.

My spouse was told they weren’t a boarding hotel and they would call security if they had to. There was immediate rudeness towards my spouse for staying by my side. My spouse would have left much earlier and a safer time to travel. Their safety getting home, I feel, was of no concern to the two-night nurses that kicked them out. I was waiting until after midnight for my post-operation antibiotics, for my bed to flatten and for the lights above my bed to be turned off or even for some anti-nausea medicine. I was very nauseous from the surgery.

All I remember was the one nurse constantly complaining about been short-staffed, and spoke loud so everyone could hear, even early morning having a full-blown conversation with a patient in the bed next to me.

I believe it was very disruptive to all patients in the ward. At one point during the morning I realised that my IV drip in my wrist had become dislodged during what little sleep I did manage to get. My bandages had come loose from my bum as well which I did notify the nurse. I feel I was blatantly ignored and left for the bandages on my bottom to become looser and looser, to which blood and faecal material was on the bed I had to sleep in.

This was not my fault but was a result of just having rectal surgery. I cannot believe to this day that a nurse would allow someone to lay in such poor conditions. I understand they may have been busy, but after kicking my spouse out at midnight I don’t have much empathy. They are dealing with sick patients to which empathy I feel for people in need is a job requirement.

The nurses and surgical staff did follow-ups in the morning and I was released, the surgical staff organised follow up appointments and saw to it I had everything I needed before being discharged.

I am recovering well, but a few times throughout this emergency process I feel the system failed me by:

1. Sending me home from Emergency initially without running any tests.

2. Arrival back at Bunbury Emergency and being ignored by support staff.

3. My spouse being kicked out at midnight after my surgery, after being told by someone else they could stay by my side. This was a serious safety risk in them driving home in the middle of the night, kangaroos on the road and driver fatigue.

4. Being left to lay in my own blood and faecal matter after a surgery and quite possibly delayed in receiving proper pain relief and care from the night nurses.

The care I received from the surgical staff at Bunbury was extraordinary.

I write this to improve services to people in need in the future. There are always budgetary limitations in any business. Government and healthcare are no different, it shouldn’t be, but it is.

Empathy costs nothing.

Please pass onto the Bunbury Surgical team that their very well-run team was such a comfort and I'm very grateful for the speediness and professionalism.


Response from Glen Matters, Bunbury Operations Manager, WACHS South West

Dear serpenskt78

Thank you for taking the time to post your concerns on Patient Opinion. There are many aspects of your concerns that are worrying about quality of care you received. I take this opportunity to apologise for your experience, while in the care of the Bunbury Hospital.

Thank you for acknowledging the good work of the ED staff post the triage point on your second visit, the theatre team and staff who provided care for you post-surgery.

The Bunbury Hospital management and senior clinicians have made some recent changes to our triage and waiting room processes. These changes will ensure that a waiting room liaison nurse, regularly communicates and checks in on patients in the waiting room area, especially during busy periods.

The manner in which your spouse was treated, is not in line with our expected standards. Out staff are expected to engage with you, and your spouse to find a solution, which took into count the risks of travelling at night.

The events you have summarised in point four, are not in keeping with our expected standard of care. I apologise for this. In order for the health service to address these concerns, it would be much appreciated if you make contact with us to enable discussion which would assist us to review and improve.

Our Customer Liaison Officer on 9722 1521, is the best point of contact, to enable us to arrange a time to meet and discuss the concerns.

In the meantime our Coordinator of Nursing and Midwifery has presented your story to Nursing Managers of the areas you have identified.

I would also like to draw your attention to “CARE Call.” This is a process for patients, family or carer to escalate concerns about care being delivered, at the time, this care is being sought. Brochures and posters detailing CARE Call are throughout the facility including the Emergency Department. For patients, families and carers in the South West the number for CARE Call is 1800 744 059.

Thank you sincerely for telling us about your experience. Please be reassured that we will use your feedback to improve our service.

I hope you are continuing well in your recovery and as requested I will make sure the surgical team receive your positive feedback.


Glen Matters

Operations Manager Bunbury Hospital

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