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"Bad life threatening decision"

About: Peel Health Campus / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I have known allergies, including an acute allergy to nuts and products that may contain nuts with an immediate reaction. As I am very familiar with the symptoms when consuming these foods. One night I ate a meal that included a sauce that appeared fine at first. However, after a few minutes I had a serious reaction and decided that it was safer to call an ambulance. Along the way I explained the condition and was stabilised with oxygen.

I was taken to Peel Health Campus and on arrival the ambulance driver told the attending nurse that my condition was anaphylaxis affecting my airways.

The nurse did not accept this as a good enough reason to have me seen immediately by a physician, insisting that I was merely choking, should drink some coke and sit in the waiting room. The ambulance paramedic insisted twice more that my condition was not low acuity and that it could develop into something far more serious without warning. The Peel Health Campus nurse shrugged off these assertions and instructed me to go and sit in the waiting room. They advised me the waiting time to be seen by a medical physician was 3 hours.

My spouse had followed in our car fortunately. Knowing the seriousness of my symptoms and now having no confidence in the medical attention I knew I needed we decided to drive as quick as possible to Fiona Stanley Hospital, 60 kilometers away. On the motorway however, my condition rapidly deteriorated en route requiring me to administer 2 epi-pens (epinephrine auto-injector device) that I always carry with me. These had limited results and we had to detour and drive at speed to Rockingham Hospital. On arrival I had nearly stopped breathing, had turned blue and needed emergency assistance to get me into the Emergency Department. This was the first time that I thought I was going to die.

At Rockingham Hospital I was stabilised and was released early hours on the next morning. Unfortunately my reaction kept coming back as whatever was eaten was trapped in my esophagus. I was taken back to Rockingham Hospital where I was stabilised again using adrenaline and monitored closely. I was then transferred to Fiona Stanley Hospital and spent two subsequent nights there.

I want to express my absolute shock, dismay and disbelief at the dismissive attitude and the apparent lack of duty of care demonstrated by Peel Health Campus in my regard. The stress imposed by Peel Health Campus on my spouse and I was horrific. Had I been assessed by a qualified physician when I first arrived at the hospital I would not have been forced to take the action that I did.

I have always managed my allergic reactions responsibly and took severe action because I knew the dangers involved.

If this happened to me I feel like this could happen to others. I feel compelled to raise this serious failing of Peel Health Campus to triage patients speedily and competently.

I was subsequently made aware that I can refuse to be taken to Peel Health Campus in the ambulance. I have made it a point to advise all my friends and colleagues of this incident and to be cautious of seeking medical attention at Peel Health Campus in an emergency.


Response from Margaret Sturdy, Director Medical Services, Peel Health Campus, Ramsay Healthcare nearly 2 years ago
Margaret Sturdy
Director Medical Services, Peel Health Campus,
Ramsay Healthcare
Submitted on 26/06/2019 at 14:46
Published on Care Opinion at 14:49

picture of Margaret Sturdy

Dear Patient of disbelief,

Thank you for bringing this to our attention via Patient Opinion. I was extremely concerned reading about your experience, which sounds very distressing for both you and your spouse.

I would like to take this opportunity to personally apologise for your experience.

It is important that you know we are taking this complaint extremely seriously. While, I’ve already had discussions with our clinical staff about this incident, I would be very grateful if you could contact me directly by phoning 9531 8580 or by email so that I can get some more detail to conduct a full investigation.

Thank you again for sharing your story.

Kind regards

Margaret Sturdy

Chief Executive Officer
Peel Health Campus
Ramsey Healthcare

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