"Our experience at Box Hill Emergency."

About: Box Hill Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

We went to a Medical centre first after my child's arm / wrist was severely injured - they were good - did x-rays but the doctor said it was a nasty one - two fractures and the bones had moved off the growth plate so would need pain killers and traction to get it back into place before plaster cast - he suggested Box Hill as they have orthopaedic staff.

So I rang Box Hill to find out if orthopaedic staff would be on at night - was told yes and we went to Box Hill around 7 pm. We were sent to "fast track" - which made us happy - we later found out that "fast track" is merely the name for "minor ailments". There were lots of people waiting - some didn't seem to be in as much pain as my child or as urgent but we were patient for some time.

At around 11 pm my child was getting severe pain and was pushing me to "do something"! So I rang the "urgent" button (not the red emergency button) to get someone to come out of the door to see us. Bells went off and two nurses came to see what was happening - the nurse saw it was still us waiting (there were only two people left) and I said to her my child is in severe pain. She replied to the other nurse - "no he is ok"; "said to me I'll get some pain relief" - she closed the door and I never heard from her again.

Around 1 am a doctor came out to see off one of the earlier patients and I flagged him down and said "look we have been waiting here for 6 hours, is it likely we will see a doctor and get this fixed tonight or are we better to come back in the morning? " He (finally) was helpful, looked at my child's x-rays in the waiting room and said yes it will need two senior doctors to do this job and I doubt we will have 2 senior doctors available for 30 mins without interruption overnight so best to go home and come back at 7. 30 am. He (finally) gave my child some strong painkiller (endone) so he could sleep overnight and so we didn't have to wait again went and saw the triage nurse (it seemed to me that he was really hopeless - anything but interested) and said we should be put on the "expected list" and go straight through in the morning. He said it was important that the work was done soon as callouses could form if the bones didn't knit in the correct place as soon as possible.

So after all that we left the hospital around 2 am - my child was so angry and we were so tired and upset by the lack of care.

Next morning, the triage nurse was better but then we didn't get through first up...I kept getting "so sorry" - I went up about 3 times and said "other people are going through, we have been here since 7 pm last night and we are on "the expected list"...the software didn't work at the 2nd nurse next to triage (as two files were open at the same time - in emergency? ) - it took until 2 pm to be seen - the head nurse kept coming up saying "so sorry". She said the x-rays needed to be seen by orthopaedics to give the ok - I asked "why didn't the triage do this at 7 pm yesterday? " More delays - then the nurses couldn't find the orthopaedic surgeon - going up and down corridors to try and find him - I asked did they have pagers? It was third world.

Finally saw a senior doctor who told us they would be OK to do the plaster at emergency (not orthopaedics). He ran off to do something else and we were put into "short stay"! - more delays! I said to the nurse in short stay do the doctors realize that we have been here since 7 pm yesterday and that there is a likelihood callouses will be forming that will make it very hard for the bones to knit? She went to see the head nurse and we were wheeled in and finally they did the traction and plaster cast.

One week later we went for the follow up - we were told the plaster cast was not applied correctly and that surgery may be needed to hold the bones together (probably due to those callouses! )

SO ANGRY!

They are organising a surgeon at Box Hill but we are going to the Children’s today - makes me so angry that my child may need an iron plate in the arm for the rest of their life because, apparently, of Box Hill's lack of care - we are moving on to see if we can find a hospital in Melbourne that treats patients with a reasonable standard of care, has processes in place that don't put the patients last and has doctors that know what they are doing and doctors that are not running the show with no time to even enquire how long patients have been waiting or know the whole story as the nurses (who seem to be treated as subordinates by what I see as the arrogant doctors).

So unacceptable - all the promises of "Eastern Health" are so shallow in our experience.

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Responses

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of David Plunkett

Dear Gs Mum

Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback to me about your recent experience at Box Hill Hospital Emergency Department. I am very sorry to read of the distress this has caused you and your child and that you have had to go to a different hospital for further treatment. Your experience is not in keeping with how we like our services to be provided at Eastern Health.

Please be assured we take all feedback provided very seriously and would like to address your concerns. I would like to follow-up on the care of your child and your experience in the Emergency Department as a matter of urgency. The areas of most concern relate to the process for your child to receive care in different parts of the Emergency Department, advice our staff have provided, time in the Emergency Department, including your return the following morning and communication with our staff.

I would be grateful if you could provide me with further details so that I can arrange for the issues you have raised to be investigated. My email address is david.plunkett@easternhealth.org.au and if you are in agreement, I would also make arrangements for one of our senior staff to speak with you ASAP. I will of course respect your decision should you choose not to contact me

Once again, I am sorry you and your child have not had a positive experience in the Box Hill Emergency Department and apologise for any distress this has caused. Please be assured we take such feedback seriously and I hope to hear from you soon so we can better understand what has happened and provide you with further information.

Kind regards,

David Plunkett

Acting Chief Executive

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