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"Inadequate care at Royal Melbourne Hospital"

About: Royal Melbourne Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I went to emergency at the Royal Melbourne Hospital after being unable to sip water or even swallow my own saliva for 6 days straight after my lap band became too tight and cut off the entrance to my stomach. I had waited that long because the band becoming tight when I'm sick or something irritates it isn't unusual, and it usually settles in a few days. This time it didn't. I had begun to get serious dehydration symptoms including blurred vision, severe insomnia and confusion. I was also suffering from asthma and was having difficulty breathing - I needed some fluid taken out of my band (a simple needle into a port under my skin to withdraw some fluid).

The Triage nurse didn't touch me, examine me or or even look at me when she spoke to me. I told her all my symptoms and history - her reply was, and I QUOTE "Doctors here don't like lap bands, we don't have anyone who would treat you". I pressed her and she repeated the same, that lap bands were unpopular at Melbourne Hospital, doctors at Melbourne hospital did not agree with them and would not treat me. I asked for a needle so I could take out the fluid myself (at this point I was desperate for water), she refused. At no point did she offer a drip or anything else. At no point did she consult anyone else in the hospital, as I specifically asked her to do.

I then repeated my breathing difficulties and repeated my asthmatic history - she ignored me and did not check my breathing (even after I asked specifically for her to do so).

She offered no alternative. It appeared that I was ushered out so the next person could be seen.

I had difficulty getting home due to confusion and a couple of hours later I was experiencing increased delirium, increased breathing rate, tingling in my hands and feet and had not peed for two full days! (all signs, I believe, of serious dehydration).

The following morning friends got me to a doctor who took some fluid out of my band - relief was instant and I was immediately able to drink.

I wrote a written formal complaint to the hospital with details of the experience, including my name, date and time I saw the nurse, via email. 8 weeks later I still had not heard from them and contacted them again asking if they had investigated the incident. Their response (also in email), was to let them know if I still wanted to pursue a reply, as I felt they implied it wasn't important and they didn't feel a reply was necessary. Clearly, they hadn't done a thing.

I still have the emails.

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