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"My rehab care after a serious car accident"

About: Busselton Health Campus

(as the patient),

I had a very serious car accident recently.

I had shattered my right femur, broken my right ulna and broken my thumb and pinky on my left hand. I now have a titanium rod from hip to knee, plates, screws and floating bones.

All helicopters were unavailable and I was too unstable to travel by ambulance so the decision was made to operate on me in Bunbury Regional Hospital.

We were given no other option than to go public because all the medical people involved told us St John's didn't have the rehab people or carers to cater for how acute my injuries were.

So after my operation and when I was stable enough we were told by a doctor that Busselton Hospital was the only rehab hospital that could cater for my injuries and I had no option but to go there for all my rehab. We were assured by this doctor that I would have everything I needed to help me complete my rehab and get back to where I was.

My rehab team was led by a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist.

I would like to point out that for these 2 weeks most of my rehab was done with a placement student, who was great. The physio only popped in to see me very few times. But the student worked under the physio.

My rehab was slow to start with because of the severity of my injuries. I was not allowed to put any pressure on my right leg or downward pressure on my right arm. I was given a plan which was identical to everyone else, I feel there was no consideration for how different my injuries were and I believe I was made to do exercises which we not correct and may have actually done damage to my healing bones, as I was made to use my right arm with downward pressure.

After 2 weeks of me being in the hospital I was told I had to leave because I had stayed too long and they needed the bed. I was told by the doctor that I could go home with my rehab folder and do it myself. My spouse and I had to argue the fact I was nowhere near ready to go home, how unsafe it was for me to go as I couldn't use my leg, shower or go to the toilet yet without assistance. I feel they were putting me in a really unsafe environment just because they needed a bed and patient's only stay for 2 weeks here. After many discussions they finally agreed to have me stay.

I had to deal with my rehab team pressuring me to go home and only seeing me occasionally for my rehab. My spouse was doing the program with me because I believe they had gotten upset with me apparently for over staying my welcome.

Every meeting with the doctor and their assisting doctor was them telling me I needed to go home and possibly Collie Hospital. Every Tuesday and Friday was a fight up until I had my first outpatient appointment in Bunbury with the surgeon who operated on my arm and hand.

We told the surgeon what was happening with my rehab and what they were getting me to do and how they were treating me and the surgeon got very upset because the surgeon believed some of the exercises were dangerous and could have a big detriment to my healing. The surgeon had advised Busselton Rehab in their notes not to continue certain exercises and I was not fit for transport as it was too dangerous for me. And the surgeon wanted me to take my time with rehab as it was going to take a long time for my bones to heal and they did not want to see me again for another operation.

On returning from that appointment my spouse and I were discussing the outcome with the physio and it seemed the physio was angry because their rehab plan for me was unsuitable and harmful to me. The physio’s response to us telling them the surgeon had said they didn't want to see me again for surgery was well you have to do the exercises and if you need another operation so be it. My spouse and I have never been so upset like that before. I feel the physio has put their ego in front of my care and they didn't care about the outcome for me. My spouse had informed hospital admin and others and I have never had that physio again.

I continued with my rehab with the OT who was continually pushing my spouse for measurements for our house as they wanted me home. My spouse works full time so things were a bit difficult for them to arrange some times.

The OT was supposed to teach me how to get in and out of a car, which to this point still hasn't happened and I still have a mental issue with getting in a car which still has not been addressed yet either. The occupational therapist has shown me once how to get in and out of a shower/bath tub and when they took me in to simulate making myself a small meal, the OT had me fill the kettle full, boil it then make myself a coffee. To do this I had to balance solely on my left leg and take my stabling hand off the bench to pick up the full kettle and pour as it was too heavy for me. The OT didn't seem to mind how unsafe that particular exercise was, and the milk was out of date by over a week.

I feel the OT is so pushy in getting me out of the hospital, they have suggested I go to Collie Hospital, which is not capable of handling my acute case. Collie Hospital has no OT and a part time rehab person. And they are not capable. They are a hospital that finishes patients off, just before they go home.

Nearly every day I have the OT or one of the doctors pushing me telling I have no choice in going to Collie or home. They have me in tears every time because I feel they are pushing me out into a place that can't take care of me. They appear to go against what my surgeons are saying to do just because I've stayed longer than 2 weeks. I feel they bully me each time trying to make me feel guilty for taking up a bed. They continually say they can't help me but they can. I'm here for the entirety of my rehab because I still need rehab and this is the only hospital that can provide it.

I had my next outpatient check with a doctor who was there from the very beginning of my accident and they reviewed my new x-rays and told us I just needed to continue safely as my bones had only just started to calcify and I just needed more time. I still wasn't ready for car transport and I was to continue with my rehab until our next meeting in 4 to 6 weeks.

I had a session with a new physio who seemed to be happy to work with me and they were great and gave me a few different exercises to do as well.

When I came back I was told there was going to be another meeting as they wanted me to go to Collie again. The OT was in my room telling my spouse and I that there was no choice, again they couldn't do anything for me anymore. I received a phone call from the doctor I had seen at my second outpatient check saying that they had spoken to the lead surgeon in my operations and they had given the OK for me to start to learn how to walk with my leg. The doctor had said the surgeon would like to see me at about 50% weight bearing by my next appointment in 5 weeks’ time. But it would be also on how I feel with pain and discomfort. So I had 5 weeks of rehab to go and to continue on. So that was a great phone call because it meant I could start my rehab now. And we all had a goal to work too. I was given a new time frame with what I thought was a clear goal.

However I feel the OT and doctors are continuing to push me out the door.

One of the doctors came into my room and told me we were having a meeting on Friday or Monday with or without my spouse to "thrash everything out" because they were sick of things going around in circles. I said things were only going around because you guys continue to push my rehab aside. The doctor said they had talked to the CEO of the hospital and they agreed on me going to Collie. That they can do everything in Collie and I needed to get over things mentally about going to Collie, they can do everything there. I said they can't do my rehab there the way it can be done here. They are a finishing hospital and I've only just started my rehab. The surgeon has just said I can start so I'm not going anywhere. The doctor said I'm going they needed the bed. I feel the doctor was very aggressive and made me feel like I was a burden on them and that I wasn't worthy of my rehab. My spouse has spoken to the rehab people in Collie and they have very specifically said they can't help me until I'm further along with my rehab.

I believe one of the doctors had lied to me on several occasions during my stay for example:

They had told Collie Hospital I was on crutches and needed little care.

They had told me that Collie Hospital had accepted me so I had to go to Collie no matter what - when my spouse queried this with Collie they hadn't accepted me and wouldn't because of my injuries at that time.

I believe the doctor had also lied to Collie Hospital about how far along my rehab was.

The doctor said they had also spoken with the rehab person who'd be handling things and, I believe, hadn't because the rehab person was actually on annual leave.

The doctor told me the Bunbury Hospital surgeons were on board but they actually wanted me to continue my rehab as it was.

This doctor has made me feel so horrible; I feel they’ve bullied and pressured me every week because they need the bed. I believe the doctors and the people I've mentioned in the rehab team have forgotten about my care completely.

I have all this documented with days etc. I'm still in Busselton Hospital and still fighting with the rehab team to continue my rehab.

I have been advised by several people here to raise these issues as they go against patient care.

I would love to talk to someone about these issues and more importantly I would love all of this to be addressed if possible.

But I do also have some fantastic people around me as well. The nurses here are so incredibly caring and have been a comfort for me. The new rehab person I have is also great. The people I see who work in allied health are also great (when I see them) so it's not all negative about the hospital.

Thank you.

Responses

Response from Jan Cook, Operations Manager Coastal Hospital, WACHS South West

Dear Terra,

I am sorry to hear that you are disappointed in the rehabilitative care that you have received at Busselton Hospital following your serious car accident.

Busselton Hospital strives on delving the best quality care to their patients and is welcome to receiving feedback so that we may improve.

I would like to review the issues that you have written about and to assist where possible

Could you please call me on 0408 421 536 to make a time to talk.

Yours sincerely

Jan Cook

Operations Manager Busselton Hospital

  • Terra thinks this response is helpful
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Update posted by Terra (the patient)

Thank you so much for the response Jan Cook. I would really like the opportunity to discuss matters with you further. I will make contact with you shortly.