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"Regarding my story"

About: Bentley Hospital Royal Perth Hospital / Eye Diseases and Surgery (Ophthalmology)

(as the patient),

I write to give my feedback in regards to me treatment and eye operations at The Royal Perth Ophthalmology Dept. and the Bentley Campus Ophthalmology Hospital. I want to express my praise and gratitude to the doctors and nurses and staff at the Ophthalmology Depts. in both hospitals for their due diligence, loving care and duties displayed to detailed procedures.

My story and experience combine compliments, recommendations and complaints.

It was a Sunday evening in early 2018 when I first noticed my vision in my left eye had darkened considerably. This wasn’t due to ill-health or trauma, even the doctors couldn’t give me a definitive reason why I had lost my sight and that my retina had become detached in my left eye.

I tried to see my local GP the next day Monday, but was fully booked up and so it was Tuesday at the earliest I was able to have my eye examined. My GP recommended I go see an eye specialist. I figured that could take months of waiting. I suggested to my GP I visit Specsavers for an eye exam, the earliest I could see someone was now Wednesday. After the Optician examined my left eye, I was declared an emergency case, I was to go straight to the Emergency Dept. at the Royal Perth Hospital (RPH), they gave me a letter stating the condition of my eyesight.

I drove myself to the RPH with only sight in one eye, which was in itself traumatic. I bypassed the Emergency Dept. and went straight up to level 7 the Ophthalmology Dept., thinking I would be seen a lot quicker than waiting for hours in the Emergency downstairs, since I was an emergency patient with a letter of reference. I handed the letter to the lady at the front desk, she opened the letter and read it and asked me to sit somewhere and wait. I was called over by a nurse to read a chart with letters on it, I couldn’t see any letter out of my left eye, then she administered some eye drops and I was asked to wait. It was five hours later when nearly all the other patients had left the waiting area that I was called to be examined.

The first doctor who examined my eye wasn’t too sure what to make of the reason why I had lost my sight, so he asked another doctor to examine my eye for a second opinion.

They concluded I had a detached retina and that they prefer to see patients with this condition within a 24 hour period from the first onset of the condition. That news gave me little confidence that I would regain my eyesight. He further discouraged me by informing me that there is no available Ophthalmologist surgeon in the hospital to examine my eye and there will not be any surgeons available until next Monday and this was Wednesday - that gave me little comfort on hearing that news.

He did say, if I had private health insurance I could have the surgery done straight away, this I didn’t have. He said I would have to come back next Monday to see a specialist surgeon who operates on detached retinas.

I was amazed, gobsmacked that since I was an emergency patient, blind in my left eye, that I was advised to come back in a week!

I did return the next Monday and after being examined by a surgeon he booked me in for an emergency operation the very next day Tuesday, nine days after my retina became detached.

This was my first ever operation in in my life and I am an elderly person. The professor performed the operation at the Royal Perth Hospital; it was a success and my sight had returned to my left eye. The professor did say I would need a cataract operation and so put me on the 12 month waiting list.

I stayed just the one night at RPH after my retina surgery.

Now this is the part of my story where I recommend a few changes. I was staying in a room with four other patients. Through the night the emergency alarm would sound right down the ward corridor, waking up, I’m sure the majority of patients. My sleep was broken during the night it seemed every few hours, when the night-shift nurse would come in and wake me up so she could raise my arm to place the heart monitor device to check my heart rate and pulse.

Then around 3am to 4am I heard the commotion of clanging, banging of metal trolleys down below in the rear of the hospital, the loading bay area. The hospital staff were emptying and moving around these steel laundry bins, I can only imagine. If that wasn’t enough, at around 6am the large rubbish or dirty laundry trucks came thundering in the yard below, with the accompanying sounds of hydraulic rams banging and screeching with thunderous crashing noise of bins being emptied and delivered reverberating right up through the hospital wards and I was on the 8th floor - those poor patients on floors below me.

I wasn’t getting any sleep or rest and had to lay on my right side throughout the night because of the retina operation. In laying in one position all night my right ear became very hot, so I asked the nurse for a pillow with a hole in the middle or a horseshoe type pillow, so as to give some relief to my right ear. I was told there was none of these type of pillows in the hospital, the nurse could only find a softer pillow.

Recommendations:

I believe patients trying to sleep should not be suddenly and violently woken by an emergency alarm sounding right through the whole ward. I recommend each nurse carry a silent emergency pager strapped onto their uniform belt; notifying them when an alarm button has been pressed with information to what room and what bed the patient has called for assistance. Install a warning flashing light in the ward corridor alerting the nursing staff that an alarm has been activated and which nurse has corresponded to the alarm which she then turns off the flashing alarm light in the corridor and that secures that the patient is being seen to.

The same monitoring electrode pads they attach to your body when you go for surgery should also be utilised to monitor patients through the night, giving a continuous reading of heart rate and pulse. This data should be fed to a tablet size computer screen at the foot of each patients bed, in order to be easily carried out by the nurse without the need to keep waking up the patient every few hours to lift his or her arm, etc. to check the heart rate. We have the equipment and technology so let’s incorporate these computer technologies for the benefit of patients and nurses.

I suggest putting a curfew on porter emptying waste and laundry material from one bin to another, especially at night. Fix rubber wheels on waste and laundry bins and carts to reduce the noise level when they are moved around on concrete floors. Put a prohibition on waste disposal trucks entering the hospital grounds until at least 7am. Let the patients have some peace and rest especially after a surgical operation.

Compliments:

The nursing staff were very good in both hospitals, friendly and helpful. The doctors also were terrific, a job well done in my opinion. I had further surgery on my left eye for cataract operation late last year, at the Bentley Hospital in WA. Once again the doctors, anaesthetists, nurses were of a high standard, including the porters who were also very cheerful and friendly. My cataract surgery was a success too, now my vision has been restored thank you, and I also give thanks to my saviour the Lord Jesus Christ who underpinned all the procedures and placed a guiding hand over the surgeons and operating team.

Many thanks for your great work, much appreciated.

Kindest regards to the staff at both hospitals.

Responses

Response from Lesley Bennett, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear mystory,

Thank you for taking the time to both pass on your gratitude for the staff that looked after you during your recent visit to Bentley and Royal Perth Hospitals, and also provide us with your feedback that includes the frustrations and disappointments. I apologise to you for the negative aspects of your experience, which from what you describe here it was not what we strive to deliver for our patients. So that we can properly respond to you about the detailed issues you have raised, I would like to invite you to please contact our Consumer Engagement Unit to speak to one of our staff in person on 9224 1637. If you would feel able to come forward to us, we will be able to better investigate these concerns and learn from your experience how we can improve our service in the future.

Again, thank you for the time and effort you have put into telling your story and for recognising the staff that treated you. I will ensure that your thanks and praise is passed on to them. Again, please accept my sincere apologies for the aspects where we did not achieve the standard we aspire to.

Kind regards

Dr Lesley Bennett

Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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