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"Maternity & Surgical Ward."

About: Kalgoorlie Allied Health Kalgoorlie Health Campus / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I recently attended Kalgoorlie Hospital to have my first child. Delivery and labour I thought went well until I found out the midwife took out the indwelling catheter after delivery and failed to put it back in as I had an epidural. When this was realised by the shift change over, 1100 ml of urine came out and my bladder was stretched. I was not told of this problem until I questioned why I still had an indwelling catheter 2 days later.

Whilst in maternity ward I found the catering staff to be rude and unhelpful. On multiple occasions food was delivered and attempted to be taken away before I could even eat as I was feeding my newborn. I was told, only after I questioned why it was such a hurry to take my food away, that it was only allowed to sit for 45 minutes. Was I expected to stop feeding a newborn so I could eat in this time period?

After departure from maternity ward the local lactation consultant attended my home. I questioned my breastfeeding technique and asked about continually using nipple guards, which I was told was okay to do and the latch looks right.

A week or 2 went by and I was attending physiotherapy for ultrasound treatment, where I spoke with the physiotherapist from Kalgoorlie Allied Health, she asked how I was going. I mentioned that my back was extremely sore, my stitches didn’t seem to be healing and my right breast had a funny looking red bruise. The physio contacted my GP who said to attend ED and then she contacted the maternity ward who said to come over and they would have a look. Maternity ward checked my temperature and blood pressure which came back fine and sent me home.

The next day I attended physiotherapy again and mentioned the same concerns to the physiotherapist and that maternity ward didn’t look at my stitches or my breast the day before. Again the physiotherapist contacted maternity ward and spoke with a new doctor who again said to come over. This time my blood pressure and temperature were checked as well as swabs taken of my stitches and a look at my breast, again I was told I was all good.

Saturday morning I messaged the lactation consultant with concerns of a blocked milk duct, the red bruise on my breast had spread and I was in a lot of pain. I was told to continue doing what I was already doing in expressing, hot and cold packs and rest.

Saturday afternoon I attended Kalgoorlie ED in extreme pain to be told I had mastitis. I was told I would get antibiotics through a peripheral intra-venous cannula and I would see a massive improvement within 24-48 hours. Just a note, I still had no temperature and no high blood pressure and this continued throughout the whole time I was in hospital. I was told I could go home and attend ED every 6-8 hours over the 48 hour period and I would be taken through straight away and each shift changeover would be informed prior to my arrival.

First dose - 3pm, with Panadol IV, Oxycodone, injection for pain (unsure what it was).

Second dose - 9pm, given Panadine Forte to take home.

Third dose scheduled for 6am.

I woke at 3am, extreme pain and chills, taken back to ED and given third dose early and Panadol IV. Told to return at 10am. Returned at 10am, about a 4 in pain, waited for an hour before telling a nurse I had gone to an 8 in pain and the chills were back.

Fourth dose -11.30am, seen by another doctor and surgical registrar, who did an ultrasound looking for an abscess. Stated couldn’t see abscess due to extreme inflammation. Decision made to admit to surgical ward as private patient to continue IV and booked in for formal ultrasound first thing Monday morning.

At this point I was told by ED I should be expressing my bad breast for 10 minutes only. ED also mentioned there were pills I could take to suppress the milk supply as I no longer wanted to breastfeed.

Once in surgical ward I was told to empty the bad breast while expressing, I was also told I could not take the pills to suppress the milk until after I had finished the antibiotics.

Sunday evening a nurse came to give me a needle to prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), I questioned this and asked why, I stated I was more mobile in this ward than what I was in maternity and I was told it was just something I had to have in this ward. I was not told at this time I could refuse, and I was given the needle in my stomach.

Later that evening the first cannula started to break down and sting, I attempted to call the nurse and found the remote was not plugged in, I attempted to plug in with my other arm, but could not reach, I was crying and in extreme pain. Finally I got the attention of a nurse who removed the cannula. The second cannula was placed in the same arm but in my hand.

Monday morning the surgeon attended to tell me I would have an ultrasound this morning and that I could eat after all. This information appears to have failed to get to catering staff and when I requested food was given 2 pieces of cold toast. Lunch time went by with no food being delivered and when requested was given one sandwich, my family went and got me some eatable food as I had not eaten a decent meal in over 24 hours.

At 4pm I was taken for the ultrasound which I was told would be first thing in the morning. While in there I questioned why it had taken so long as I was told by surgical ward it was put through as priority. The ultrasound technician told me that it was not put through as priority at all.

The second cannula started to cause pain and break down on Monday evening and a third was placed in my other arm.

Tuesday morning I did not receive breakfast after placing my order the day prior, when questioned I was given someone else’s and not what I had ordered.

I was told I would continue to remain in hospital for another 24 hours, bringing the total of IV to now over 72 hours with little to no improvement.

Third cannula started to sting and swell around lunch time on Tuesday which was removed. Nurse attended to place fourth cannula but stated she was not confident as she could not find any suitable veins. Doctor was called to complete, doctor was extremely rude and seemed arrogant, the doctor had 2 attempts in the original arm and said they would have a third attempt in the other arm before I said no. At this point I felt I had been pricked and prodded enough.

My mental state was shattered, I had been hysterically crying multiple times up to this point. I felt as though no one cared, I was constantly having to ask for pain relief, ice packs, heat packs. I could not hold or feed my newborn because of the cannulas in my arms and the state of the swelling. I felt extremely depressed and overwhelmed by the whole ordeal so far.

The doctor prescribed the same dosage in oral as I was receiving in IV, which the nurse gave me. Within the hour I started to get chills, felt nauseous, light headed and severe back pain. I was told at midnight I wouldn’t be receiving my midnight dose as the nurse believed the script was wrong. With faith in the hospital dwindling I requested the midwife come over as I had some questions relating to expressing. When the midwife attended I told her how I was feeling and what had been said. She confirmed I had been given way too much oral antibiotics hence why I felt the way I did.

16 hours went by before I had another dose of antibiotics.

Wednesday morning I was released from hospital still with a swollen breast which was sore. I was placed on oral antibiotics for a further 10 days.

Whilst in hospital I had to ask for towels continually, one channel on the TV, toilet got blocked and the shower was cold or lukewarm. I was told three different things in relation to expressing my breast and given misinformation on multiple occasions.

Friday I still didn’t see much improvement so I sought a second opinion with my GP. She asked if I had taken the suppression pills which I told her no because of what the hospital said. This was false information and was told to take the pills straight away and to cease expressing. This made a huge improvement to my breast and suppressed the milk within 3 days with no issues. My GP also gave me a stronger dose of another antibiotic.

I remained on oral antibiotics for a total of 15 days.

I also later found out that maternity ward failed to stamp my newborn form for Medicare which resulted in me having to attend Medicare office in Kalgoorlie and wait over 2 hours to have the problem rectified. When I asked the maternity ward to complete another form as this would have been easier than attending Medicare office my request was denied.

Overall the whole experience left me feeling depressed, shattered, I had absolutely no confidence in Kalgoorlie Hospital. I truly believe that if the maternity ward had checked over me properly on the Wednesday and Thursday when I expressed concerns and put me on antibiotics then I would have not ended up in the surgical ward. On departure from the hospital I headed to Perth as I was petrified I was not healed completely and did not want to take the risk of ending up back in Kalgoorlie Hospital.

The only person who I felt helped and was genuinely concerned for my welfare was the physiotherapist from Allied Health. She pushed for the maternity ward to see me twice and visited me whilst I was in the surgical ward. She suggested to the doctors that she complete ultrasound therapy on my breast which I believe also aided in my recovery.

I will be requesting my file through freedom of information to be reviewed by an independent observer.

I am writing this complaint in the hope it is received and sent to people who will make a change and ensure this does not happen to anybody else. The birth of a child, especially the first should be a magical time; it has left me feeling like I never want to have another child again. The pain and emotions I have experienced, from what I believe is negligence in Kalgoorlie Hospital and its doctors, should never happen to anybody.

Responses

Response from Peter Tredinnick, A/Regional Director, Regional Office, WACHS Goldfields

picture of Peter Tredinnick

Dear Unhappy Experience

Firstly, I would like to offer you a personal apology for the experiences that happened to you during your recent stay at Kalgoorlie Hospital. The birth of a child should be a momentous occasion and I am very sorry to read that we caused you distress and discomfort in the days after your baby’s birth.

I was saddened to read your story and I am disappointed that on many occasions our staff did not provide you with the care and compassion that is expected of all of our staff here at the hospital. We expect all of our staff, from the catering staff to the nursing and medical staff, to provide the highest possible standards of care and treatment to our patients.

I will make sure that your story is used to remind staff of their responsibilities not only regarding the technical care and treatment that we provide, but also how kindness and empathy are essential elements in providing care, particularly when people are feeling overwhelmed and at their most vulnerable.

I am aware that you have been in contact with the Regional Director Medical Services, Greg Watters, who is coordinating an investigation into the concerns that you have raised. I would encourage you to contact Greg at any time that you need to on 9080 5817.

I would like to thank you for sharing your story and reassure you that your concerns will be comprehensively looked into.

Yours sincerely

Peter Tredinnick

Acting Regional Director

WACHS Goldfields

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