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"Treatment at RBWH emergency department for knee injury"

About: Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

After I slipped and fell on a wet floor in my home I was taken by Queensland Ambulance to RBWH DEM (emergency department). I was seen by training doctor, resident doctor and senior doctor as well as a physiotherapist and the consensus was that I had muscle and ligament straight. No x-ray was done. I was provided with a support bandage which the physio placed on my very swollen very painful knee, given panadine forte and told to consult a private physiotherapist in a week or so. I sought advice about the danger of DVT as I have a history of this and was reassured this was not likely. I was not given crutches and after hobbling out the door the physiotherapist came up behind me with a cane that she had tracked down. I declined the offer as by this time I was in a great deal of pain and just wanted to get home. I did so by cab. Four days later I consulted a local private physiotherapist who lent me crutches for which I was very thankful as I had been using a broom to get around the house up to that point. I made a follow up appointment for later that week and saw a physiotherapist again who suspected fracture and insisted I have a MRI. The MRI revealed a medium ligament tear and two fractures around the knee. I had an x-ray which confirmed this. This occurred over a week after the injury occurred. The private physiotherapist provided me with a brace which I was advised by her to wear at all times until I could see a specialist. She contacted a knee specialist for me and arranged to get me an appointment as soon as possible. My GP referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon who recommended I commence a course of clexane to minimize risk of DVT.

I was treated quickly at the hospital and those treating me were pleasant however, I believe an x-ray undertaken on the day of injury would have saved me much angst. In my opinion not one person at the hospital was at fault, I believe it was a process failure. To me it appeared that there was too much pressure to get what appears to be a person with minor injury out of the door in record time possibly so that it reflected well in KPMs. Yes this occurred, to my detriment but I bet the numbers looked good.

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