"Pain management and care on the ward"

About: Box Hill Hospital / Trauma & orthopaedics

(as the patient),

Late last year I had an extensive right forefoot reconstruction as a result of my rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The service that was provided to me up until the ward was amazing. The pre-op experience, surgical experience and PACU (post anaesthetic care unit) experience were all fantastic until I hit the ward. My anaesthetic was a spinal along with some local into the area. I was first on the pm list. My surgery was 2.5 hrs long and I left recovery around 1800. My spinal and local wore off around midnight. I was in terrible pain. The nurses were having some issues with another patient and around 3am, I buzzed for some pain relief. Endone does not agree with me, however it was all that was offered to me so I took this with an antiemetic. I continued to take the endone as prescribed and basically clock watching for my next dose. I was also on regular paracetamol, ibuprofen and tapentadol BD (twice daily).

After about the 3rd scheduled dose of endone, I began to feel very nauseated and vomited from the endone. After this I refused the endone as I was not able to tolerate it. My pain was 10/10, however not once was I asked by any nursing staff to rate my pain. I was admitted for 4 days and not once asked about my level of pain. After I refused the endone, this was not replaced with any other pain medication. I did however ask for some panadeine forte as I take this for my RA and knew I was able to tolerate this. When I asked for it again I was told that I couldn't have it as it was a stat dose. I was regularly asking for pain relief which to me indicates that the pain relief I was receiving was not adequate, yet I seemed no one bothered to consult with a resident or pain team. When up with the physio I almost passed out. My BP (blood pressure) was taken which was elevated, so clearly was not a vasovagul yet almost certainly due to pain. 

I had extensive reconstructive surgery to my toes and yet only once during my 3 day stay was my neurovascular signs checked.  

I am so disappointed with my pain management and the care I received on the ward. My pain was so poorly controlled which I thought would have been their area of expertise on an orthopaedic ward. 

Pain relief

Pain relief


Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health about a year and a half ago
David Plunkett
Chief Executive,
Eastern Health
Submitted on 28/02/2019 at 21:20
Published on Care Opinion on 01/03/2019 at 10:14

picture of David Plunkett

Dear Pepper

Thank you so much for taking the time to share comments regarding your experience from late last year when you had surgery at Box Hill Hospital. I appreciate your balanced approach in recognising the positive aspects of your experience. I would like to apologise that this wasn't continued when you were in the ward and your pain relief was not adequate.

In order for us to undertake a full review of your care, I would like to invite you to make contact with the Patient Relations Advisors in the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience by either calling 1800 EASTERN or emailing feedback@easternhealth.org.au

I trust you are recovering well from your surgery. Thank you again Pepper for your comments and feedback and I hope we hear from you soon.

Kind regards


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