"Patient Assisted Transport"

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital Kalgoorlie Health Campus Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - Goldfields

(as the patient),

Hi, I have just experienced something I would not wish upon anyone.

I was recently admitted for kidney stone issues and requested to go home with pain relief. The pain grew so the following evening I returned and was admitted to hospital where I stayed for a number of days.

I was released with the nurse saying maybe I have passed the stones while I was in the ward. Wishful thinking as by the next morning I could not walk, I was sweating and felt more pain than I can describe. My vomiting and condition had once again deteriorated.

I was flown by Flying Doctors to Perth and admitted into Fiona Stanley where I was made to wait in the waiting reception. By this time I was peeing pure blood I was moved and admitted to a ward at midnight.

I woke the next day and it was explained I would require a stent to relieve pressure from my  kidneys as they had begun to transition into failure. The operating team and nurses on the first day where awesome. I woke the next day and then my nightmare began - I was asked, do I have any money in which I replied no not as such - I only had a cash card with about $100 on it as I left my bigger cards at home concerned to take them to hospital. The lady who asked went away and returned and said they will book me a train to return home that night. I asked about a plane and was told by the lady there where no flights available that day. It was now a further two days on - a week since it began. I was feeling disoriented and weak and peeing blood every few hours and fell asleep at 13.00. I woke and was told that they where going to book me into accommodation and was told I would take the train home the next day as no trains where running that evening. 

I jumped immediately onto my phone and saw flights to Kal for 240 dollars on Qantas or Virgin leaving that day. I then looked at the train and noticed it was cancelled and a bus was going to be replacing the service.

I was supplied the number to call PATS office in Kalgoorlie and requested a flight - and told them that I was needing to urinate every few hours and blood was still coming out. They told me it was at the request of Fiona Stanley Hospital that I would not receive a flight and ended the call quickly. I was upset and feeling very weak.

I cursed myself for not having simply brought my bank card.

I left the hospital and was taken by cab to a student pub where I was told the music will stop at midnight. The music was so loud and all doof doof doof that I could not watch the TV. I had a shared toilet in which to try to control my new stent as it gushed its red substance every few hours.

I fell asleep after midnight due to being in accommodation by PATS Kalgoorlie in a student pub. I then had to wake at 5.30, I caught a cab over to the train station and used the remainder of my money to do this - I now could not buy lunch or even a drink. I filled my water bottle from a drinking fountain and boarded the bus back to Kalgoorlie.

I then had an 8.5 hour trip on a  bus -having to wee every few hours. I felt embarrassed as the shaking on the bus left the front of my shorts stained red with pee and blood. I had no money for food or drinks along the way. I walked back to Kal Hospital and drove home.

I couldn't imagine anyone going through what I experienced. It was an embarrassing and painful experience.

Remember to take your bank cards everyone .

And understand you need to look after yourself, as I believe PATS don't care for you, they torture you.

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Responses

Response from Erica Huggins, Coordinator Executive Services, WACHS - Goldfields

Dear Kal Boulder resident

I was saddened to hear of your experience and the discomfort you experienced during your return trip to Kalgoorlie.

I have made enquiries regarding what occurred. Your Perth accommodation was booked by the Kalgoorlie PATS Office and was the only accommodation available at the time where the cost was fully covered by the PATS subsidy. We apologise that it turned out unsatisfactory and we appreciate the feedback from your experience which will help us improve future bookings.

With respect to your travel home, the Kalgoorlie PATS Office books the return travel for patients based on the information received from the sending Hospital. In your case, the documentation from your treating doctor stated to book train travel for you. I understand that at that point there was no further information available to the PATS Office in Kalgoorlie to reconsider that advice. Had the PATS Office been aware of your condition they would have been able to assist you in making further enquiries regarding the suitability of you traveling by train.

Once again, I apologise for your experience and appreciate you taking the time to offer feedback. If you would like to discuss this matter further please do not hesitate to contact our Operations Manager at Kalgoorlie Hospital, David Bowdidge on 08 9080 5817 or via email David.Bowdidge@health.wa.gov.au

Kind Regards

Peter Tredinnick

Acting Regional Director

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Response from Janet Zagari, Executive Director, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group, South Metropolitan Health Service

picture of Janet Zagari

Dear Kal Boulder resident

I was very concerned to read your story and I am sorry that your discharge home from Fiona Stanley Hospital was distressing for you.

I want to thank you for your comment about the operating team and the nurses that cared for you on the first day of your stay being awesome, and will be sure to pass on the compliment.

I am currently conducting an investigation into what you have told us about the time you waited before going to the ward and the transport issues you have raised. I will get back to you to let you know what we have learnt.

If you would like to contact me to discuss your story please feel free to call me on 6152 3121.

Once again, I am very sorry that your discharge experience was embarrassing and painful for you.

Kind regards,

Janet Zagari

A/Executive Director

Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group

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Response from Janet Zagari, Executive Director, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group, South Metropolitan Health Service

picture of Janet Zagari

Dear Kal Boulder resident,

I have looked into the issues that you raised in your story in relation to your admission to and discharge from Fiona Stanley Hospital.

I understand that after you arrived, you spent some time in emergency before being sent to the ward after midnight. When patients arrive after hours, they are admitted through the Emergency Department to ensure their condition is stabilised before they go to the ward. This is needed to make sure that patients have the right care in place until they see the surgeon the following morning. I am sorry that your stay in emergency was longer than we would have liked. Your feedback has been provided to the department so we can continue to try to make sure that a stay like yours is as short as possible and that patients can get to the ward and get settled.

When a patient is going home via PATS, the doctor completes a form for PATS so that transport is arranged. If a patient is not travelling to the Kimberley or the Pilbara, and doesn't live more than 16 hours from the hospital by surface travel, the doctor can only request air travel if there is a specific clinical reason which then needs to be detailed on the request. In your circumstance, the doctor did not identify a clinical need for air travel as frequent urination isn't considered to be a reason for this.

I am sorry that you were left to make your own arrangements for travel between the hospital and your accommodation and then to the train station. Hospital staff would usually assist you in this matter, particularly as you didn't have sufficient money with you for this. Your feedback is important and I have shared it with staff to ensure they consider all elements of the journey home, that appropriate arrangements are in place and that the patient is not left unable to pay and having to walk back to the hospital as was your experience. I sincerely apologise that this happened to you and I thank you for taking the time to share your story.

Kind regards,

Janet Zagari

A/Executive Director

Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group

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