"A humiliating experience (Wagga Wagga Base Hospital) "

About: Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I presented at the Wagga Base hospital with an ankle injury. It was a busy night and I was seen by the nurse who ordered an xray and told me that they were busy and there would be a significant wait time. Within the first hour I had an x-ray and then waited a further 5 hours to see a doctor.

My problem is not with how long I had to wait, but how I was treated by the doctor when he finally did see me. The doctor opened the door and asked me to come through. When I expressed that it was difficult for me to walk as I had an ankle injury and would like a wheel chair he told me to get a move on and just walk on it. I was in pain and unable to apply much pressure on my foot so relied on my friend to "walk" to the doctor. The doctor then proceeded to make me "walk" into the main desk area to look at the films from the x-ray to demonstrate that there was not a break. I asked him if it was potentially soft tissue or ligament damage and he said that it wasn't and just a light sprain, told me to just wait for the swelling to go down and keep walking on it.

In the 3 minutes that the doctor spend with me, he did not look at my actual ankle, only to x-ray films. Therefore I do not think he could have seen the significant swelling and bruising that had started to come out. I was also not given any recommendation to follow up with a physiotherapist.

I have since self referred to a physio who has diagnosed a significant sprain with torn ligaments.

The doctor made me feel an absolute fool and like I had sat around wanting my ankle to be broken for 5 1/2 hours. This is not the case. I don't feel that it is asking too much for a doctor to make a full examination of an injury before making a diagnosis or judgement. I would also appreciate that a doctor have a little more tact and consideration for patients.

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Responses

Response from Patient Opinion Australia

This response has been posted by Patient Opinion on behalf of Murrumbidgee Local Health District:

Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) wishes to apologise to the patient for the distress caused. MLHD takes all patient complaints extremely seriously in an ongoing effort to improve patient care. We welcome the opportunity to respond directly to concerns and encourage patients 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 the MLHD Complaints telephone line: 1800 011 824. All concerns raised with the MLHD are treated in confidence, investigated thoroughly and feedback is provided on outcomes and actions taken to improve patient care.

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