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"Who should triage?"

About: Kalgoorlie Health Campus

(as a parent/guardian),

My child sustained a punch to the face.

15 hours after sustaining this punch to the face and upon waking this morning my child's nose was still bleeding, their nose is now slightly deviated and my child could not breathe from this side of the nose.

Unable to get in to see our regular GP this morning or any other available GP for that matter, I made a choice to take my child to the local Emergency Department for a review and opinion from a medical perspective.

My child was triaged by nursing staff swiftly and without complaint (even encouraged that we made the right decision to attend the department), however I was then instructed to see the admin staff at the reception to complete the admission process.

At this point I can openly state that I believe the admin staff was less than appropriate, rude and passively aggressive towards myself, my child and our entire admission process.

I felt I was rudely told by this admin staff member that this was not an emergency, being told that I should have gone to a GP. Furthermore, I was left to feel like I was in front of the Spanish inquisition with the 20 questions. I politely explained to the admin staff member that we could not get into see our usual GP or any other and explained my reasoning as to why I was now standing in an Emergency Department and the fact that I was concerned that my child's airway was compromised. In my opinion I then endured a further verbal onslaught of 'tone ridden' questions, eye rolling and glares from this admin staff member.

Again once my child was reviewed by an emergency doctor, I was told that I had made the correct decision to attend ED due to the possible compromise to my child's airway and possible complications with the punch to the face.

Yet this admin staff member thought it appropriate to triage my child and felt the need to state that it was not an emergency... I didn't know that admin staff at Kalgoorlie Hospital were qualified to triage and offer their individual diagnosis without the appropriate education or training.

I am firstly a very concerned parent and secondly I am a concerned community member. But what I am more concerned with is that:

1. This admin staff member is greeting people who are presenting in Emergency Departments (often feeling not well within themselves or finding themselves in a very stressful situation).

2. This staff member is the face for WA Country Health Service (WACHS).

3. This staff member is the first point of contact for customers attending the Emergency Department in our small remote community.

This experience does raise many concerning questions:

1. How many other people have been treated this way by this admin staff member?

2. How many other people have left the Emergency Department because the admin staff are telling customers that 'this is not an emergency'

3. What happened to advocating for the young, the elderly, the sick?

I left the Emergency Department feeling very thankful with my choice to remain in the Emergency Department and not feel overwhelmed and 'bullied' by what I felt was an abusive admin staff member telling me that it was not an emergency (how does the admin staff member know that it is or is not any emergency and who gives this person the right to make that decision).

I left feeling that I made the right decision to stand my ground, stay there in the Emergency Department and not simply go home due to the admin staff treating my child and myself in my belief, appallingly.

Shame on the admin staff who think they can boss around community members.

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Response from Carol Erlank, A/Regional Director, WACHS - Goldfields 6 years ago
Carol Erlank
A/Regional Director,
WACHS - Goldfields
Submitted on 28/06/2017 at 3:47 PM
Published on Care Opinion at 3:47 PM

Dear Concerned Parent Concerned Community Member,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us, I was concerned to hear about your experience at the Kalgoorlie Hospital and would like to offer my apologies. We are investigating your concerns and I will ensure that all Administration Staff are made aware of our values for good customer service and our process, as it is very important to us how our patients are treated when entering the hospital at what can be a stressful time for families.

I was pleased that the medical treatment that your child received was satisfactory and hope the child is recovering. If you would like to take this further please contact us at

Kind regards

Carol Erlank

Acting Regional Director

WACHS Goldfields

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