"18 hours fasting for a surgery that never eventuated"

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Elective & Emergency Orthopaedic Surgery & Bone Tissue Bank

(as the patient),

I went to Royal Perth Hospital after an accident that ripped off half my fingernail and took flesh down to the bone.

They cleaned and dressed the wound and after seeing the plastic surgeon they wanted to admit me for surgery the next day.

I asked if I could go home and represent in the morning for the surgery, as I felt I would get a better night's rest at home and save the hospital a bed for the night.

They told me to come in at 8am for surgery.

I attended the hospital the next morning. I hadn't had anything to eat since around 6pm the night before as I was advised to fast.  I sat for four hours waiting to be added to the list.  When it came to change of shift, I asked the nurse on duty if she could give me some idea of how long it would be before the surgery, as I had seen three other groups of people come in, receive treatment and leave.  I was informed by the nurse that I was not on the list yet and that she wasn't sure if I would get onto the list in the afternoon.  That I would have to wait for the handover with the new staff then ask them.

I made the decision to leave.  After all, I'd been fasting for 18 hours.  I was tired. My finger was throbbing.  They had not offered painkillers when I arrived.  They had not checked the finger which was bandaged.  In leaving the hospital, I received no advice on how to manage my wound, whether or not I needed to get antibiotics, as they had been treating me with antibiotics to prevent infection.  I was clueless on what to do. What I think the hospital failed to appreciate is that I have anxiety, which is exacerbated in the hospital setting due to past negative experiences. So sitting for hours on end, with no clear end point in sight, in pain, is extremely taxing on me.  Four and a half hours was about the limit of my tolerance.

I understand that the nurses have limitations in what they are able to do, that it is a public system and therefore beggars can't be choosers. But if I am told to attend at 8am in the morning for surgery and I turn up when told to attend, then I at least expect to be on the list.  This seems to be a breakdown in the process somewhere and I believe this shouldn't happen to people.

Waiting Time

Waiting time


Finding your way

Finding your way


Treatment

Treatment


Pain relief

Pain relief


Future plans

Future plans


Responses

Response from Lesley Bennett, Acting Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group We have made a change

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear Throbbing-Finger-Guy,

I would like to apologise to you for your experience at Royal Perth and our failure to provide you with appropriate care, support and communication at what would have been a very traumatic time. Unfortunately, scheduled surgeries often need to be delayed or rescheduled due to unexpected emergency cases. However, it is not acceptable that you were left waiting without communication and left the hospital without appropriate treatment. Based on feedback we have made changes to address communication between staff and patients regarding their surgery. These include hourly updates to all patients and ensuring a single staff member each shift has the responsibility for keeping our patients informed of timeframes for treatment and any changes to the schedule.

I apologise again and thank you for providing us with this information so we have been able address the issue and improve the service we deliver.

Dr Lesley Bennett

Acting Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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