"Lack of compassionate care at the ED"

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a relative),

My spouse, who is an asthmatic, was struggling to breathe from what turned out to be Influenza A recently. 

My spouse subsequently presented to Fiona Stanley Hospital Emergency Department (ED). My spouse was hyperventilating and reported severe body ache to the ED nurse. The ED nurse reportedly shouted at my spouse to sit up and shoved a Ventolin spacer right into my spouse's mouth which made my spouse very uncomfortable. The nurse kept repeating: your oxygen sats are fine, but did not take my spouse's temperature which we later found out was 40 degrees. 

My spouse got so traumatised by their interaction with the nurse and made a decision to discharge themself. My spouse was very unsteady by the time I picked them up at the front entrance. I took my spouse straight away to a different hospital and they were admitted for 2 days for Influenza A. My spouse was treated with utmost respect and compassion at the other hospital and proper tests were administered to investigate my spouse's presented symptoms. 

As a health employee myself, I am disappointed by the quality of service provision and the comment by my spouse that their health concerns were being dismissed when they were in genuine need of treatment. 

We have been fortunate to be able to have alternative care options with private health cover but I feel sorry for patients who do not have the privilege. I know this is not reflective of the public health system and I really hope my spouse's experience is an isolated case.

Responses

Response from Neil Doverty, Executive Director, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group, South Metropolitan Health Service

picture of Neil Doverty

Dear Health service user,

Thank you for providing feedback regarding your spouse’s treatment during a recent presentation to the Fiona Stanley Hospital Emergency Department.

The clinical team in the ED always aim to provide the best care and treatment they can to all patients so I apologise if on this occasion it came across as uncaring and resulted in the patient leaving the department before treatment was complete. The nurses in the ED are focussed on providing nursing care, including necessary tests and administration of prescribed medications. I apologise if you felt the nurse was abrupt in her mannerisms; it may have been the case that she was attempting to reassure your spouse when she described the oxygen levels as satisfactory, whilst providing rapid interventions to ease the respiratory distress they were experiencing, such as the salbutamol puffer via a spacer.

In order to better understand what we could have done differently for your spouse and to minimise the risk of this happening for another patient we would greatly appreciate it if you could contact us on 6152 4013 and, with their permission, provide the details of your spouse plus the date they presented to the ED so that we can investigate this further.

Kind regards,

Neil Doverty

Executive Director

Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group

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