"Misdiagnosis and delayed treatment"

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I reluctantly presented to Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) ED recently with a painful knee which had given way while walking.

The triage nurse and all nurses were very efficient and kind. I felt the doctor however, was not. I admitted at triage that yes I had been drinking and when asked by the doctor how much I had to drink, I replied with, a fair bit. To which he replied, do I need to get the breathalyser? This shocked me as I simply was not hiding that I had been drinking. I told him he could if he wants. No reply.

Skip to the end of my presentation and he again asked how much I've had to drink tonight. Again I say, a bit - to this he shakes his head and walks away.

I didn't see that doctor again and was sent home with a tubigrip on my knee, crutches and told to keep moving it or it will seize up.

My discharge summary describes (?) medial meniscus tear, GD1 Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) injury.

My diagnosis, a full week later, is a complete tear of the midsubstance of my Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), low grade partial tear of the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and oblique under surface tear of the body of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus.

The absolute last place I wanted to be was RPH on that night and the last thing I imagined was something actually being wrong, especially to this extent. In my opinion, being patronised your doctor because I actually admitted to having alcohol in my system was unnecessary to say the least and I can't help but wonder - was my injury written off because of my admission to drinking alcohol that night? Alcohol consumption is not an excuse for improper treatment. Had I have presented sober, would my injury have been taken seriously? Would I have not missed 2 days of work this week, paid close to $600 in GP, physio and MRI fees and would I my treatment have not been delayed?

I have worked in an ED before and I know intoxicated patients can be a burden, but having had a few drinks (and admitting to it) does not dismiss a serious injury. It does not mean that I do not know my own body and it does not give employees free rein to simply be belittling and rude to consumers.


Response from Lesley Bennett, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group nearly 2 years ago
Lesley Bennett
Executive Director,
Royal Perth Bentley Group
Submitted on 15/10/2018 at 19:55
Published on Care Opinion on 16/10/2018 at 09:48

picture of Lesley Bennett

Dear cetusyk98,

I’m sorry to hear of your recent experience at RPH emergency department. It is not appropriate for one of our staff to have made you feel uncomfortable or have made a judgement of you for having consumed alcohol. It is difficult for me to comment here on the treatment you received without further information regarding your case. Often in cases of a knee injury, early examination does not reveal the extent of the injury due to the acute pain and the best treatment is to initially treat supportively and then reassess at a later date.

Again, my apologies that your experience at our hospital made you feel belittled, this is not the standard of care we strive to provide at our hospitals. I am very happy to look into your case in more detail if it would be helpful for you and invite you to contact my office on 9224 2219 so that we can arrange a time to talk.

Kind regards

Dr Lesley Bennett

Acting Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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