"Acute appendicitis and delay in treatment"

About: Canberra Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

My young adult child was admitted to Canberra Hospital with an acute abdomen recently one morning after attempting to manage pain and symptoms for 2 days believing he had food poisoning.  I was contacted on my child's admission as I live in another city and immediately traveled to Canberra. I had expected surgery to have been done that afternoon, instead I arrived late that night to find my child was in severe pain, had received multiple doses of morphine and was regarded as a low priority. Resident who called me on route, described my child's abdomen as " soft"  and they had been commenced on IV antibiotics.  My child was left overnight receiving more doses of morphine, IV antibiotics, but not the IV Flagyl that had been ordered. I spoke to the Consultant early the following morning when he visited briefly. He stated we know what is wrong with your child, they will be operated on at some stage hopefully later today, we have other patients with higher priority. I requested that at least the first dose of Flagyl be given as a precaution. At 10am my child could no longer speak, they were hypertensive, tachycardic and their breathing shallow and rapid. My child's abdomen was now rigid. I called for assistance and reassessment. The resident contacted the surgical team and my child's position on the operating list was moved forward. At 11:30am, my child was transferred to theatre and was returned to the ASU (Acute Surgical Unit) just after 4pm. I requested to speak with the Surgical Registrar to find out how the operation had gone, as I was extremely concerned. I was told 3 things

1. Tip of appendix was necrotic

2. Appendix had flipped and was stuck to the bowel

3. There was pus in the pelvis that required washing out

As a healthcare professional with over 40 years experience, I was horrified. I felt it was 3rd world care in a large public hospital in the ACT. My child was subjected to what I can only describe as appalling healthcare, fortunately they are recovering but was subjected to over 24 hours of agonising pain, multiple doses of morphine and now the increased risk of hernia under the belly button due to 3rd incision that was required when it was apparent their surgery was more complicated. 

Responses

Response from Patient Opinion Australia

The following response has been submitted by Patient Opinion on behalf of Canberra Hospital:

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your feedback. ACT Health would like to investigate this matter in more detail. If possible please send us your contact details via email healthfeedback@act.gov.au or phone (02) 6207 7627

Kind Regards,

ACT Health

  • Fremantle thinks this response is helpful
    {{helpful-1}} other {{helpful-1 == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} so too

Update posted by Fremantle (a parent/guardian)

Thank you for your response. I have also completed and posted carer feedback form. I will email my contact details. Regards

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