"trip to emergency with my child."

About: Maroondah Hospital / Emergency Department The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne

(as a parent/guardian),

Recently I presented at Maroondah emergency room with my daughter who had been suffering fevers for about 5 days. I walked about to triage where I was sat down by the lovely ward clerk. We chatted. He obtained my info. He knew my GP clinic. I felt instantly reassured.

Then the CNS nurse came to the window. Her first words to myself as I stood at the window were.."Which one are you?" I thought, "Is she talking to me? If so, am I meant to know what she is talking about?" Then she said, "Are you the paed review?" My instant reaction and gut feeling was, regret. That minute I knew I should have bypassed my local hospital and gone straight to the Royal Children's Hospital. The CNS didn't give me any confidence that I was either in the right place or she knew what she was doing, all in 2 short sentences.

To cut a 2 hour story short we left as my daughter got a bit better. We had not seen the doctor. My daughter, with fevers cough and chest pain, which the nurse in Short Stay said is common with coughing patients, was feeling better after panadol. So home we went.

Two days later when my daughter was no better we decided to go back to hospital. We drove past both Eastern Health hospitals to the Royal Children's. Where the nurse greeted us with, "Hello my name is .....I am your nurse today. What can we do for you today?" I cannot fault the hospital. We waited all day. We did not mind. We were informed and comfortable. We knew we were in the right place. My daughter was examined and had a chest x-ray and has pneumonia. By coincidence we saw the same Dr we were meant to see at Maroondah on the Friday. She was fabulous. The Royal Children's were outstanding. I am glad we went there.

I am not convinced that I will stop at Maroondah A&E again. As far as I could see, the department was far from busy and nothing urgent seemed to be occurring. I was disappointed because I had taken my daughter there years previously and the doctors were amazing, however similar experience with the triage nurse. I was explaining my daughter's genetic disability and the triage nurse said, "I thought she looked a bit Downs". I was so upset. As the two conditions are very far removed and this one comment showed a lack of respect, manners and knowledge, as you either have an extra chromosome or not. However, I have excused that as the paediatrician was so good with my daughter. He sat with us for hours. So I am not sure how a hospital gains consumer confidence.

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Responses

Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Mother of a Child with a Disability

First of all, thank you so much for sharing your story on Patient Opinion. I am really sorry that we have let you down on this occasion and I am most saddened to read that your experience at Maroondah Hospital's Emergency Department (ED) has left you feeling this way. Interestingly, when you finish your story with your comment "So I am not sure how a hospital gains consumer confidence", I actually think that the response is to that we need to ensure that every interaction is a positive interaction and clearly, this is not what you and your daughter experienced at Maroondah Hospital. By contrast, this appears to have been your experience at the Royal Children's Hospital and if I had experienced Maroondah and the Royal Children's as you have done, I would feel the same way as you do. Again, I am very sorry about this.

I will certainly discuss this with the ED management team and the Maroondah Hospital management team to also see what we can learn from your unfortunate experience. I would also be grateful if you could advise me of the time and date when you visited the ED, that would also be very helpful for me in terms of follow-up. You can write to me directly by email to alan.lilly@easternhealth.org.au and you can be sure that I will treat your information confidentially.

In the meantime, once again, I am so very sorry that we have let you down and I do hope that you can see that your feedback is going to assist us in addressing this matter for future patients.

thanks again for taking the time to write.

kind regards, Alan Lilly

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Response from Alan Lilly, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of Alan Lilly

Dear Mother of a Child with a Disability

Just a quick update to let you know that the Nurse Unit Manager, Lisa Vermuellen has discussed this feedback at length with all ED staff in their recent meetings. Your story has had an impact on the service.

Many thanks, Alan Lilly

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