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"Bendigo Health "

About: Bendigo Hospital (Lucan St Campus)

(as the patient),

I broke my leg skiing and was flown home late 2012. On the advice of my local GP, my mum took me straight to Bendigo Health's emergency department. I thought the staff in emergency were great. I was admitted to the orthopaedics ward as there were no beds available at the private hospital that night (there is also no emergency department at the private hospital). Before being admitted, the ward clerk indicated that if I couldn't get a private room, I'd get a private ward. That didn't happen. The ortho registrar on duty had said I could use a private surgeon if I wanted, or he would operate the next day. That night I couldn't even get a spare pillow to put under my broken leg and was told to raise the bed using the controls. Unfortunately the bed raise at your knees meaning my broken leg was then pointing down, making it worse. I ended up sleeping with no pillow so I could prop my leg up with what I had. The next morning, the ortho registrar asked if I had decided about private surgeon. I had one name of someone who might have been working, as it was Christmas holidays and everyone seemed to be away. I gave the ortho registrar this name, but said I hadn’t spoken to him yet. He said he would ring. Next thing I know, I'm taken off the surgery list for the day, and I'm staying at Bendigo health in a 4 bed "dorm" until surgery Wednesday (it was Monday..) I was told there was no way I could be transferred to the private hospital, or have my surgery there (I'm a fully covered private patient and have been for years). This started an argument between me and the ortho registrar, who proceed to yell at me. I asked repeatedly why if I chose to use a private surgeon I had to wait til Wednesday and why he had just taken me off the list for that day (had I been given a choice of Monday or Wednesday surgery, I would have picked Monday, without caring who did it).He insisted he had explained all of this to me in the emergency department the night before, and again at rounds (he had not, and my mum was with me to confirm.). I told him I wasn't staying where I was, as I had no sleep, was sharing a room with very elderly and sick patients, had private insurance. To my knowledge there were beds available at the private hospital. He yelled at me and to be honest I can't remember exactly what I said, but I was crying and upset, and he yelled at me to stop crying or he wouldn't help me.

I rang my GP who agreed to see me straight away, and told the hospital I was self-discharging. No idea what happened but 10mins later, Bendigo health agreed to transfer me to the private hospital. However I felt I was forced to sign the ‘discharge against medical advice’ paperwork (for a transfer they arranged). Also, to my knowledge, no transfer paperwork was sent to the private hospital, including drug charts (I was on some pretty strong pain killers..). The private hospital was amazing and the same surgeon, who I was told apparently couldn't operate until Wednesday, operated on my leg Monday afternoon at the private hospital.

There were some nurses on the ward who I thought were nice, but the others I saw seemed to be full of attitude and made me feel like I was putting them out for being admitted late in the afternoon/evening. It was after 7pm when I got to the ward, having spent 4ish hours in emergency getting x-rays, ct's etc. I wasn't offered dinner (I wouldn't have eaten it anyway, but it would have been nice to be offered). Mum went and got me McDonald's.

It was one of the nurses who I felt forced me to sign the ‘discharge against medical advice’ paperwork, fortunately I had enough wits about me to cross part of it out and write in ‘transfer’, she did not appear to be happy about it..

I couldn't tell you her name as there were no introductions at any point which at the private hospital, happened anytime a nurse entered my room and made such a positive difference.

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