"Waiting in pain."

About: Bunbury Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

Having been unsuccessful in removing a tooth at my local dentist (unable to numb area). I recently required a general anaesthetic to remove the problem tooth, which was performed at SJOGH (St John of God) Bunbury. Following this I continued to have problems with pain and needed to return to the dentist to have the bone trimmed and the gum stitched again.  The pain continued to increase and I was advised by the dentist to seek medical care at my local GP.

Fortunately, I was able to see them during office hours (around 4pm) and was prescribed a strong pain killer which failed to be effective.  I continued to struggle with pain. 

At 8:15 pm I attended the Emergency Department  at BRH (Bunbury Regional Hospital) as I was in extreme pain. 

At 8:30 I was assessed by the triage nurse- my pain was 8/10 on the scale used by the nurse. I was given two Panadol and told to see the clerk and then to wait in the Fast Track area of the waiting room. 

At midnight, having not been attended/checked, my husband asked the clerk if perhaps I had been overlooked. He was told to sit down and showed him my name on a list to indicate that they where aware and I just needed to wait longer. In relentless pain I took some Panadol and ibuprofen that I had in my purse to see if I could ease the pain. 

At this time there were two other people in the Fast Track area who had been waiting a similar time. 

At 2 am having still not had any further pain relief, I felt I had no choice but to sit in the triage chairs and wait for the nurse to see me. I was very distressed with pain and my husband was concerned, but felt that approaching the clerk again would not result in a positive response. 

A different nurse to the first one asked me if I was ok, I explained my pain was extreme and we had been waiting for an extended time. She asked if I had been reassessed at any time during my wait and I said no I had not and just could not bare the pain any longer. I advised the nurse that I had taken some panadol and nurofen in the waiting room. 

At 2:15 am I was taken to a bay by the triage nurse and was reviewed by a doctor at 2:30 am. At 3 am I was given an injection in my buttocks and strong oral medication, which thankfully settled the pain enough for us to go home at 3:35 am. Both the nurse and the doctor where great and apologised for the delay. I was so tired, I cannot recall their names. 

Finally as this may sound like another ‘dental pain’ story, which I am sure is a common theme in Emergency Departments throughout Australia and the world, I would like to say that pain is pain. Having maintained my teeth with regular dental visits, thankfully partially covered by my private health insurance, I would not present to an Emergency Department without exhausting all other options.  While dental pain is not life threatening - by jeez it has been by far the worst pain I have experienced. 

At the time of writing this I am gratefully pain free with the aid of medication I was sent home with. 

Responses

Response from Denise Clement, Nurse Unit Manager Critical Care, Bunbury Hospital, WACHS South West

Dear George jungle

I am sorry to hear you had a negative experience and significant delay at being seen for treatment for dental pain when you attended the Emergency Department recently.

I would appreciate it if you would contact me on 9722 1273, so that I can ascertain some more detail to enable us to investigate and address your concerns.

Denise Clement

Nurse Unit Manager

Critical Care Directorate

Bunbury Hospital

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