"ED admission of my child and their cousin after they were assaulted"

About: Sale Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

My adult child and their cousin went out in Sale one night a little while ago. This was the first time my adult child had ever been out in Sale. My child went out with work colleagues and walked with their cousin home from a nightclub after the rest of the staff moved on to another club. They were approached by two young adults who subsequently assaulted and brutally beat them. My child sustained concussion and multiple lacerations and bruising to the skull and ribs. Their cousin's front tooth was broken off causing them great pain as well as lacerations, bruising and swelling to their face and body. They were completely covered in blood and torn clothing. They had walked to my home and were taken by ambulance to Central Gippsland Health Service Emergency Department after making statements to police. Whilst in the ED I feel they were treated like they were drunken brawlers, not victims. The doctor at handover in the morning suggested that because they were cousins that they 'probably just punched on'. My sibling (the parent to my child's cousin) and I both heard this. My child's cousin was clearly agitated asking for water and they asked him to keep it down because there was a sick baby. We did not hear or see a sick baby but regardless their distress was not attended to until a hospital coordinator arrived. At no stage were either of them given pain relief or treated respectfully by staff. When my sibling arrived and saw the condition of our kids we were asked to proceed to the family room and have a coffee?! We both felt offended that we were being ushered out before my sibling even got to talk to their child. The morning shift doctor expressed outrage and called my sibling over at the top of their voice saying 'where's his parent? ' because my child's cousin had dirty ears which we felt was the least of their problems, seeing as one of their ear lobes had been detached during the assault. My child's cousin was also refused oral care by a nurse and they stated 'the doctor said nil by mouth' when I suggested maybe they could have a mouth sponge. The a.m doctor also argued with me as to whether or not I would know if my child's immunisation status was up to date. I reassured them that it was and they still argued because they weren't from Victoria so they didn't know what my child would have had them during school years anyway.

To summarise we felt like our beautiful non-violent children were treated like thugs and not the victims of crime that they actually were/are. They were drunk but that is not a crime. They were taken advantage of whilst walking home from a fun night out. The intern who examined them was lovely and very thorough. The two coordinators were also professional and ensured they received some sort of minimal care. The rest left a lot to be desired. They were discharged without referrals, certificates or pain relief or prescriptions for pain relief. We felt that certain staff were very disappointing and unprofessional and did not advocate for their basic needs and pain relief.

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Responses

Response from Frank Evans, CEO, Central Gippsland Health

picture of Frank Evans

Dear disappointing and unprofessional

I was very distressed and saddened to read your story. I am so very sorry that your adult children had such a harrowing experience in our Emergency Department.

While I remain absolutely convinced that the majority of us at Sale Hospital and in our Emergency Department are passionate about providing genuine person centred care, we are still not getting it right every time.

I don’t want to make excuses to and your family so I will not second guess why things went wrong this time. What I can assure you of is that we will learn from your story and we will continue to work towards getting it right every time.

I have asked our Chief Medical Officer, Dr Howard Connor and Director of Nursing and Clinical Support Services, Denise McInnes to investigate what happened and why so that we can learn from your story and make changes.

I am about to go on leave and I would be grateful if you were prepared to contact Denise so that we get further details from you and perhaps even meet with you and or your children.

Denise’s contact details:

Denise McInnes

Director of Nursing and Clinical Support Services

PHONE 03514 38701

EMAIL denise.mcinnes@cghs.com.au

Once again I am so very sorry for your experience of our service.

It is not what we aspire to and please be assured of our commitment to learn and make positive changes.

Kind regards

Frank

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Response from Frank Evans, CEO, Central Gippsland Health

picture of Frank Evans

Dear disappointing and unprofessional

On return from leave I have received a very detailed response from the medical and nursing staff in our Emergency Department.

Our staff were extremely concerned to read your story and how you felt about the care they provided.

I would like very much to share their response with you and invite you to meet with me and the senior doctor involved.

You can contact me on 0351438660 or by email: frank.evans@cghs.com.au

I hope to hear from you.

Kind regards

Frank

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Update posted by disappointing and unprofessional (a parent/guardian)

Dear Frank,

Thankyou for the offer to meet with staff. My family is satisfied with your apology on their behalf and would hope that in the future that Victims of Crime status is established at admission and from there that patients and families of Victims of Crime are all treated with some degree of empathy as it is extremely distressing to all concerned.

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