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"Appendicitis"

About: Armadale Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

One night recently I was admitted through the Emergency Department at Armadale Memorial Hospital. Waiting a couple of hours, I was on the floor in the corner of the room unable to sit or stand, but I was left there groaning in agony holding my abdominal area. A person who came in after me who seemed not as bad off as me, was even taken through before me. I was embarrassed as people looked at me on the floor groaning asking me if I was okay. 

When brought through I had bloods taken and a urine sample, I was given a Mylanta type drink, I believe to numb my throat and lots of pain killers through a drip. After 15 minutes my pain calmed down to just being a tender pain around the abdominal / naval area. When the doctor came to examine me, I explained over the few weeks I had been getting pains sometimes even passing out after an hour from it, but I thought it was something I ate or just adult colic. I treated this with Gaviscon and Buscopan, as I had tried earlier that night too, but after an hour of chronic pain that wasn’t calming down I opted to go to the Emergency Department. 

The doctor pressed my tummy area, when getting to the appendix area I was in a lot of pain, she asked do I suffer panic attacks and it’s most likely just menstrual / ovulation pain of some sort. After 5 minutes of her seeing me I was released to go home. I was quite uncomfortable still and I was recommended to go see my GP the following day and ask for a Gastroscopy. 

As soon as my GP called me in and examined me herself, she said straight away this is your appendix. I was in nowhere near as severe pain as I was the night before, she referred me to the Emergency Department at Fiona Stanley Hospital. I was taken straight into a bed the minute I spoke to the triage nurse, and as soon as examined they knew it was appendicitis. That night I was in surgery to have my appendix removed, as I had acute appendicitis and it was very inflamed. 

I never received a discharge letter from Armadale Memorial Hospital which both my GP and Fiona Stanley Hospital asked for.

I am very unhappy with the way I was treated. I was in need of help with a common condition that I believe could be easily identified and I felt like I was just given some sort of analgesia and sent away. 

Should my appendix have burst it could have caused me some serious complications. 

Responses

Response from Maha Rajagopal, Area Director of Nursing and Midwifery, East Metropolitan Health Service

picture of Maha Rajagopal

Dear marsnk78,

Thank you for sharing your recent experience at Armadale Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED).

Firstly I am very sorry and disappointed to hear that we fell short of your expectations.

To hear that you were made to wait on the ED Waiting Room floor while in pain and discomfort was clearly not acceptable. I wholeheartedly apologise that your pain was not adequately seen to while you were waiting in the ED. I have used your story to remind our ED staff of the importance of ensuring patient’s pain levels are monitored and well controlled as this is a critical aspect of patient care. I have also instructed our senior nurses to implement regular checks of patients in our waiting area to identify and respond to any urgent patient needs.

With regards to wait times in the ED, our aim is to see patients as quickly as possible. However, there are instances where our ED experiences higher than usual demand or may be treating critically ill patients which can lead to longer wait times.

I do acknowledge your frustration regarding other patients who appeared to be in better health being seen ahead of you. Let me assure you that every ED presentation is assessed independently and triaged according to the severity of the patient’s presenting symptoms. I am sorry if this process was not explained clearly to you at the time you presented.

In relation to your diagnosis, appendicitis is a condition that can develop over a 12 to 14 hour period; this unfortunately means that it can be difficult at times to make a definite diagnosis at an early presentation. Investigative blood and urine tests are routinely carried out in these situations, and results may suggest inflammation or an infection, which may lead to an alternative diagnosis. We always encourage patients to re-attend an ED or their GP if their condition worsens, and I am pleased to hear that you did this, and were promptly treated at Fiona Stanley Hospital.

With regards to discharge summaries from the ED, these are routinely faxed to the patient’s GP within 4 hours after discharge, and I am sorry that this didn’t appear to have occurred in your instance.

In order for us to further follow-up and learn from your particular experience, we would be grateful if you would please ring or email our Consumer Liaison Officer on (08) 9391 1153 or AKG_ConsumerLiaision@health.wa.gov.au

Once again, thank you for sharing your story with us and I hope you are recovering well from your recent surgery.

Best wishes

Maha Rajagopal

A/Executive Director

Armadale Kalamunda Group

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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