"Paediatric ED experience"

About: Joondalup Health Campus / Emergency Department Joondalup Health Campus / Paediatrics

(as a parent/guardian),

My child attended Joondalup Paediatric ED as a neonate. They had only recently been discharged for central apnoea from Princess Margaret Hospital and was having difficulties feeding and I was concerned with their breathing as they were also premature, so I took them in. In my opinion this was the biggest mistake of my life! I was told babies make weird noises and the doctor asked me to imitate them instead of taking the time and watching a feed.

We were sent home. What they missed was that my child had dysphagia, secondary to a congenital heart defect called a vascular ring. Due to this doctor's advice of - babies make weird noises - I dismissed the noises of spluttering, choking and aspirating as 'normal' for some time. If the doctor had taken the time to watch my child feed and realise there was actually something wrong (because I believe it was 100% apparent), my child could have had corrective surgery a lot sooner than the years it took to be picked up after I pushed and pushed and pushed health professionals to do something. If it wasn't for Princess Margaret Hospital ED, my child would still be undiagnosed, as that hospital diagnosed them after the 8th time that my child choked, requiring first aid. 

Another disappointing blow was when I contacted the customer liaison team, about a year after my child's birth and asked if they could have a paediatric review, as I had concerns and as my child was premature and born at that hospital. I felt this was a reasonable request. It was denied as the problems weren't a concern at birth, when in fact my child's heart defect was missed by Joondalup Health Campus when there was evidence of the defect at my 20 week scan. In my opinion, just an overall failure to provide health services to my family and this defect was the underlying cause for my child's medical conditions - besides epilepsy, they are now also diagnosed with.

Overall, I feel this was an absolutely horrible experience for my family and if only we were taken seriously, my child could have had much earlier intervention.


Response from Care Opinion Australia 2 years ago
Submitted on 11/12/2017 at 18:01
Published on Care Opinion at 18:02

The following response has been published by Patient Opinion on behalf of Joondalup Health Campus.

Dear concerned parent,

I am saddened that you felt that your concerns were not taken seriously when you came to the Emergency Department with your child and that serious pathology was later found. We are keen to investigate your case further so we can look at any lessons that can be learned. I encourage you to contact our Senior Consultant for Patient Safety on (08) 9400 9445.

Kempton Cowan

Chief Executive Officer

Joondalup Health Campus

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