"Poor communication and lack of information"

About: Broome Health Campus / Emergency Department Broome Health Campus / Theatre

(as a carer),

Even just starting to write this gets me absolutely furious and wonder if this is actually the right avenue or if an official complaint should be made. My partner attended the Emergency Department (ED) just over four weeks ago with an extremely sore toe. After inspecting my partner's foot the doctor said that it was just dead skin, and if we were to take the pressure off it for a week or so the skin would fall off and eventually would feel better (at this point my partner was struggling to walk with pain but sent home with panadol). The doctor kept going on about how we should listen to what they were saying because back home they are a foot specialist and does foot surgery all the time. Well the very next day we were back, had an X-Ray and it turned out my partner had Osteomyelitis. Four hours later they were in surgery having a partial amputation. We are so lucky we have a medical professional in the family who we were able to ask questions otherwise we would have trusted this doctor and it may have been more than just part of their toe.

Whilst I'd like to say this was the worse part of the four weeks we unfortunately can't. We have constantly come across what I believe is a lack of communication between departments and medical professionals, poor medical knowledge from the medical professionals and rudeness. I feel no one listens until you're basically screaming black and blue, and even then I feel their favourite thing to do is pass the responsibility onto someone else. My partner eventually asked to have it put on their notes that they refused to see one of the surgical registrars due to their rudeness, their inability to listen or act, and quite frankly their neglect. 

Well once again thank goodness we have a medical professional in the family who kept encouraging us to ask questions and push for further tests because my partner has now had to have a full toe amputation. It was only because of our constant insistence and requests that they were actually sent for another X-Ray. There are definitely a couple of special individuals who were absolutely amazing and we'll be writing thank you cards to them and mentioning their names to the hospital.

We understand Broome is classed as remote but really for the size of this town the care and attention delivered by Broome Hospital I believe is disgraceful. We have lived in a much smaller town where the closest town is a 13 hour drive away on a dirt track and we were delivered 100% better medical care, so remoteness I feel can't really be an excuse. We are so upset that this has happened and furious at the same time. 

Responses

Response from Wendy McKinley, Operations Manager, Broome Hospital

picture of Wendy McKinley

Dear marssq46,

Thank you for giving us this feedback. I understand that even the act of writing about your experience can be traumatic, so I do appreciate that you have taken the time to post.

I am truly sorry for what you and your partner have been through; both from a clinical perspective and a personal one. We are all entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and should expect high-quality care.

Navigating the health system is a challenge that I see patients, carers and health professionals struggle with regularly. Good communication is key, but clearly not what you received when you and your partner came to us. This is not OK.

We need to make it easier for patients and carers to be heard. There is an initiative called Care Call, which was set up so that patients and carers can call a number (1800 669 229) and have an independent (senior) person come and speak with them to discuss their concerns.

We are always looking at how we can improve, and I really would like to explore this further with you if you would be willing to contact me.

I am contactable on 0417 987 724 or email at wendy.mckinley@health.wa.gov.au

In the meantime, I will discuss this matter with the Senior Medical Officer, and we will reiterate to the medical team the importance of properly engaging with patients and their carers, and he will review the clinical care your partner received.

I hope your partner is healing well and that you, too, are feeling better.

Thank you again, for this opportunity. Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely

Wendy

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