"Concerning waiting times Emergency Department for infant"

About: Bunbury Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

Earlier this year, I took my baby to Bunbury Regional Hospital Emergency Department as my baby had been becoming increasingly distressed from late afternoon and into the evening. My baby is a twin and was born 8 weeks early and spent 9 weeks in intensive care so I was not going to take any chances with regards to their health. I had come to the conclusion, by a process of elimination that my baby’s bowel was causing the concerns and I wanted to ensure that they didn't have a major issue.

We arrived into the emergency department at 9: 25pm and were seen by the triage nurse at 9: 32pm. I do not know what triage level we were allocated. We registered our details at 9: 52pm and taken through to a bed at 10: 19pm. My baby's observations were taken and we were left in a private room in order to wait to see a doctor. It was recommended that I not feed my baby as their distress would worsen after a feed. At 11: 20pm my baby was ravenous and so I had to breastfeed them. My little one became very distressed and cried in pain for 15 minutes. This prompted a nurse to come in and apologise for the delay and she mentioned that she had heard my baby crying and that it was quite loud.

We saw a doctor at 12: 55am. She contacted the on-call paediatrician who we saw at approximately 3: 45am. No tests or investigations were ordered. Only observations were taken. At  7. 55am we were moved from the private room to the paediatric section of the emergency apartment and told that we were going to be sent to the ward as my baby had been admitted. I questioned this as I was under the impression that we would be going home soon as we had an appointment to see a private paediatrician later that day. I had to call over a doctor to explain this to me as I was moved quite abruptly.

We saw another paediatrician at approximately 9: 45am and went for an x-ray at 10: 15am. It was found that my baby had a lot of gas and faeces in their bowel and was suffering from anal stenosis. We were discharged from the emergency department just after 11am and prepared to see our private paediatrician at 1pm.

Reflecting on this experience I have several questions that I would like answered in order to make informed decisions in the future:

What triage level was allocated to my baby's condition and are the waiting times we experienced consistent at this level of emergency?

Are we to expect similar waiting times in the future?

We are likely to be regular attendees at Bunbury Regional Hospital Emergency Department as my babies are twins that were born prior to 32 weeks, spent the first 9 weeks in Neonatal Intensive Care Units, they both have chronic lung disease and one has arthrogryposis. Given the time frames of the service that I received would it be best that I drive my little ones from Bunbury to Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth (approx. 2hr drive) so that they can see a paediatrician in a timely manner?

Would this experience be deemed as "quality care"?

Responses

Response from Jan Cook, A/Operations Manager Bunbury Hospital, WACHS - South West

Dear Bluehael,

Thank you for bringing your experience at Bunbury Hospital to our attention.

Please accept my apologies for the delays and lack of communication which distressed you as well as your unwell baby, one of twins.

We would like to offer you the opportunity to meet with the Nurse Unit Manager Emergency Department and the Head of Department Paediatrics, to discuss your experience, so that we can answer your questions about what occurred on that Emergency Department presentation.

We seek to ensure that our service delivery is improved. It is important that you feel confident that your babies will be seen promptly by a Paediatrician at Bunbury Hospital Emergency Department. We will use your advice and our discussions to guide the development and implementation of improvements, including a report back to you on the improvements made.

Would you please call me on (08) 9722 1421 so we can arrange a suitable time.

Jan Cook

A/Operations Manager Bunbury Hospital

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