"Not being transferred for treatment"

About: Broome Health Campus

(as a relative),

I am writing to you to ask for help for my sibling. They are currently in Broome Hospital and are not receiving adequate treatment. I am worried this is a significant threat to their health.

Last week my sibling was on a mine site in WA when they became unwell. They live in QLD but fly in to work on the mine.

When my sibling became very unwell they were flown to Broome as it was the nearest hospital. They have since been diagnosed there as having a spinal fluid leak into the brain (known as a CSF leak). The Broome Hospital does not have a neuro specialist or an MRI to be able to locate where the tear has occurred and if necessary operate to repair it. The one doctor who is on call is constantly being called away for emergencies and I believe they are only able to get sporadic advice from the specialist in Perth. I feel the communication with my sibling (and their partner) is extremely poor and they are worried the condition may be worsening without any action being taken.

The hospital has sent my sibling to a hotel to “rest” 3 times now. Each time they come back to the hospital they have to wait in the ED and then they continue to say rest is the best option, and try to send my sibling back to the hotel again rather than keeping them in a hospital bed where their vital signs can be monitored (despite the fact that they keep telling my sibling that part of the treatment for this condition is absolute bed rest, they keep insisting they get up and go to a hotel rather than staying in the hospital).  My sibling has had a prior head injury which could be related and/or putting them at further risk.

I believe there has been no continuity of care, multiple discharges that may have delayed healing, no answer as to where the tear is or what may have caused it, no risk management (i.e support stockings while being bedridden) and no written plan for treatment and/or further investigations.

My sibling has requested a transfer to Perth as that is where the specialist is located and there is better equipment, but I believe they will not arrange a transfer for them and have tried to send my sibling home yet again.

We have reached out to the Director of Nursing and sought a Care Response, but so far, it seems that has not progressed anything.

We are very worried about my sibling, as their partner and two small children who have flown from QLD to be by my sibling's side. At the moment, they are even considering driving to Perth to ensure my sibling gets adequate treatment (their partner driving with my sibling lying flat on their back in the back seat with the kids - a 23-hour trip). This shouldn’t be something they have to even consider.

Responses

Response from Wendy McKinley, Operations Manager, Broome Hospital

picture of Wendy McKinley

Dear Novemberge56

Thank you for your post. It’s always heartening to see family members advocating for the care of their loved ones, and we do our best to ensure that we listen to family members and carers.

This has clearly been a stressful time for your whole family and I am very sorry that you are feeling that your sibling has not received the care you would have hoped for.

I was already aware of your sibling’s case as it was brought to my attention at the time of the Care Call. I understand that the Regional Director of Medical Services and other senior clinicians/specialists in Broome have been actively involved in reviewing and managing your siblings care, and that this has been done in consultation with the specialist Neurology team in Perth.

I believe your sibling was transferred to Perth last Saturday for further treatment and we have since been advised by other family members that your sibling is now at home recuperating in Queensland.

We have been corresponding with your sibling, their partner and another of your siblings and have discussed the case, treatment plan and follow up care at length.

Of course, I would be very happy to speak with you as well so if you would like to call me to discuss this further, I can be contacted on 08 9195 2855 or via email at wendy.mckinley@health.wa.gov.au.

I hope that things are continuing to progress well with your sibling and that your family is feeling more comfortable about their care and health.

Sincerely

Wendy

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