"Nurse care at the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital"

About: Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital

(as the patient),

I was recently admitted to hospital for chest pain. I was taken in by ambulance nurses and doctors in the emergency department. I was extremely concerned about the nurse who was attending to me and an elderly patient in the very next bed.

This nurse seemed to speak very loudly about how the hospital had apparently failed to pay her relocation costs. It appeared that she spoke about this to staff members and to patients. At one stage, whilst tending the elderly woman in the next bed, I overheard her yell, seemingly so a passing nurse could hear her, that if they made her do that rotation without training her first, she’ll tell them to get stuffed. To me it seemed she was referring to a rotation to haul and layout the dead bodies. The elderly lady next door who, in my opinion, was clearly palliative wisely advised her that "get nicked" was a much nicer term.

Of much greater concern to me was that particular nurse’s ability to, apparently lie to other medical staff regarding the elderly woman’s care. I witnessed the elderly lady being given what appeared to me to be a diuretic to encourage the passing of urine. I saw this being given prior to this nurse coming on shift. It seemed to me that the diuretic medication given to the elderly lady began to work soon after this nurse came on shift, as she began requesting support to use the toilet regularly. I hadn’t seen the elderly lady go to the toilet prior to this.

The nurse appeared to groan at the woman telling her she needed to calm down as no one needs to go to the toilet that much (from what I saw the elderly lady went 2 times in first hour and 3 times in the second hour). When this advice didn't solve the problem my impression was that the nurse appeared to order a valium to apparently calm her nerves. I felt it necessary to explain to the nurse that I think the woman had been given a medication to encourage urination. The nurse checked the medication chart and seemed to realise this had occurred. This however was after the woman had been given the valium.

In my opinion the elderly woman was also very worried about her cats which were locked in at home. The nurse , who to me did not seem to be listening to the patient, told me (in what I would describe as a loud voice) and my mother, who was present with me the entire time, that the elderly lady was clearly incoherent and rambling. The nurse also asked us if we heard her rambling about the cats.

I was very disturbed by the entire experience.

Finally, at midnight, I decided to go to the toilet for the first time since I arrived. I asked the same nurse to assist me with unplugging the machines. She told me I should try and hold off as the toilets were hideous. I needed to go, so I proceeded despite the advice and sure enough I was confronted with a urine-soaked floor and toilet seat and an unrolled and wet toilet roll. Whilst this may not be the nurse’s job I think she could have alerted someone to the state of the facility, particularly given the need for a sterile clinical environment to avoid further risk to patients.

Wagga Base Hospital is finally turning the tide and providing excellent clinical services to our community but in my opinion nurses like this one drag it right back.

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Responses

Response from Patient Opinion

This response was posted by Patient Opinion on behalf of the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

Dear Heidi,

Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) values consumer feedback as an important way to identify care issues and improve services.

We welcome the opportunity to respond directly to your concerns and encourage you to contact us via either

• the MLHD feedback website: feedback@gsahs.health.nsw.gov.au,

• in writing to The Chief Executive, Locked Bag 10 Wagga Wagga NSW 2650 or

• to the MLHD Complaints telephone line: 1800 011 824

MLHD wishes to apologies for the distress caused. All concerns raised with the MLHD are treated in confidence, investigated thoroughly and feedback is provided on outcomes and actions taken to prevent recurrence and improve patient care.

Regards,

Murrumbidgee Local Health District

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