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"Geelong Hospital emergency department"

About: Geelong Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a relative),

Last week, at 3 am, my husband presented at Geelong Hospital emergency department with an acute pain in his neck and left shoulder. Eventually he was seen briefly by a doctor, and offered painkillers. Over the period of 6 and a half hours, he was given several different drugs, including Endone and Voltarin.

When I came in at 8am, and dared to interrupt the nursing staff, who I overheard discussing their weekend plans to receive an update, I was rudely told he had been given medication to help the pain. No response when I said it was not helping, or asked what else was being done.

When the doctor returned briefly for the second time at around 8:30 am, my husband explained to her that the pain was worse than it had been when he arrived. The doctor said she would send a physio. She appeared to make no attempt to discuss his pain, other symptoms etc.

He was then seen briefly by a physio, who advised it might be a bulging disc, and that he would need to go to his GP and also a non-hospital physio, and also get a better chair for work. He was then discharged.

I am absolutely appalled that not one attempt was made to investigate the cause of the problem, even though he was in severe pain and advising that the pain was getting worse, despite the drugs given. No x-ray, no MRI, no diagnostic test of any sort.

After a full week, his pain is just as severe, and he is averaging 2 or 3 hours sleep a night due to this. He has arranged - of his own accord - to see a physio, who now will not treat him until he has an MRI. The physio was appalled that the hospital did not even attempt to investigate the problem.

We were also told we would have a physio referral, but instead received a letter saying Barwon Health had handballed that to another local health service, and we have heard nothing more.

He has been back to the GP twice, who was also in disbelief that no tests were conducted in the ED. We are now out of pocket more than $300 dollars, thanks to GP visits, physio and medication. (not to mention the $400 chair we purchased on the hospital physio's advice). A week later he is still in excruciating pain. We have a referral for the MRI, (an outpatient mri at Geelong Hospital), and have been told this will cost us $250.

I am so disgusted at the treatment (or lack thereof) that he received in Geelong Hospital ED. In my opinion, the only treatment he received was to pump him full of as many drugs as possible, to try and mask the pain so that they could discharge him without actually bothering to investigate the cause.

When he advised that the pain was worse after 6 and a half hours and numerous different drugs, he was simply sent home to put up with it. I cannot understand why were no diagnostic tests done? What if there is a more serious issue with his neck? What liability would the ED have for the lack of care provided? We are also now expected to pay a fortune for an MRI at the hospital, that should have been referred from the ED, and there is a delay to book in for this MRI - all the while he is suffering.

I could go on about the time I walked in with a 5 month old infant last year, who had croup and was struggling to breathe, to be rudely told off by the reception staff to wait my turn in the queue. Even the 6 or so people ahead of me were telling me to take their places. Thank god that a local GP clinic with an emergency service was open and I was able to walk out and take him there.

Or the time last September my 2 and a half year old with a heart defect, was brought in via ambulance with croup, only to be dosed with pred and shoved out into the waiting room. Even the ambos were flabbergasted at his treatment. It took until he went downhill to be admitted finally and given further medication. I felt that the staff were so inconsiderate, they used adult size ECG stickers which were painful to get off a child's delicate skin, as they apparently couldn't be bothered to go and find the kids' ones. The list goes on, it seems everyone I know has a horror story about the treatment in Geelong Hospital ED!

In the meantime, I have spoken to the doctor who treated my husband, and she has advised that he didn't present with 'neurological' based symptoms to warrant an MRI or any other kind of investigative test. This despite the fact he has tingling and loss of movement, plus a previous history of a neurological issue in his shoulder / neck region. She denied being aware of this - despite the fact I was in the room when my husband discussed this with her. Further to that, the physio he saw in the ED stated it was likely a pinched nerve, and he needed to get a prescription for a nerve drug - pregablin. Yet still the doctor denies it was neurological and stated therefore it did not warrant any diagnostic investigation.

So 9 days later he is still in agony, physio refuse to touch him without an MRI, and we are still waiting - and out of pocket $250 - for the MRI. I think this is absolutely disgraceful. What an appalling lack of care!!

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Response from Kate Nelson, Director Communications & Marketing & Community Engagement, Barwon Health 10 years ago
Kate Nelson
Director Communications & Marketing & Community Engagement,
Barwon Health
Submitted on 3/07/2013 at 5:04 PM
Published on Care Opinion on 4/07/2013 at 9:53 AM

Thank you for your feedback. We are disappointed that you feel this way about the treatment that your husband received in our Emergency Department.

We take all complaints seriously and they are passed on and investigated by the relevant area of our service. For your information MRI's are not conducted via the emergency department unless they are clinically indicated at the time of presentation.

We understand that you have since been in contact with both our Consumer Liaison Officer and our Emergency Department to discuss your complaint.

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