Concerning treatment in the Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),


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About: Sale Hospital / Emergency Department

My spouse and I have been in an out of the Emergency Department (ED) in Sale throughout our children’s lives and even before that. We have never had any complaints, sometimes there are long waits but that can’t be helped.

Unfortunately, recently we were very angry about our treatment. Our young child had been coughing heaps and from that our child vomited two times at home and just before 1 am we noticed our child’s breathing was laboured.

My spouse took our child to ED, my spouse told the nurse when they got there about our child’s breathing problems and they were told to wait, my spouse finally got triaged one hour later while our child deteriorated. The triage nurse made a comment about our child’s colour (very pale) and even though the triage nurse noticed the colour of our child they had to wait another hour in the waiting room. When they finally got into a bed it was discovered that there was only one doctor for the whole hospital (including ED) on a Friday night/Saturday morning.

After quick observation by the doctor, it was determined that our child’s breathing was laboured and they required Ventolin. The whole process of them arriving took 3.5 hours which doesn’t seem like a long time to you and I but when you’re talking about a young child and breathing problems, I feel that the time it took was unacceptable. Our child’s health improved when they got home at 4:30 am.

Another concerning factor from that same night was while my spouse was waiting, there was a patient who had had surgery two weeks before had come in at 8 pm with their wound that had been exposed as the stitches had ripped open, the patient ended up waiting seven hours to not even be seen by a doctor, they ended up going home.

Another patient arrived with breathing difficulties in an ambulance, once that patient arrived at ED the patient was made to wait in the waiting room with continued breathing difficulties.

I must express that we are not angry or concerned with the staff, the nurses and doctors were fantastic, it seemed like they were just seriously understaffed this night. This concerns us because you are talking about people’s lives, whether it be a young child with laboured breathing, an older patient with an exposed wound from surgery or another older patient with breathing difficulties.

Please note my spouse and I have safely delivered all of our children at the hospital, we are overall happy, but over the last year, we have noticed that the quality of care is falling behind due to understaffing in the Emergency Department.

Please look into this and make some improvements before it costs someone their life.

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Responses to this story

Response from Mandy Pusmucans, Director of Nursing, Sale, Central Gippsland Health

picture of Mandy Pusmucans

Dear lyrazg66,

Thank you for sharing your story. I would like to say how sorry I am that we let you down. We endeavour at all times to provide the highest standard of care for our patients and it is disappointing and concerning that this was not your experience.

I have discussed your story with our Medical Director of the Emergency Department and we will be investigating your concerns in detail.

It is imperative that people are triaged in a timely manner, kept informed about expected waiting times and monitored for any changes in condition while waiting. Our Emergency Department staff are currently reviewing this process to improve the care and level of service we provide.

At CGH, we have a number of doctors available at all times, supported by members of our on-call senior medical workforce who specialise in specific fields such as Paediatrics, Surgery, Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Anaesthetics and others.

We are working very hard on our person-centered care projects and whilst we are making great progress, we acknowledge that we do not always get it right every time. Your feedback provides us with the opportunity to identify where our systems and processes are letting us down and impacting on the service that you receive from us.

Your feedback will help us implement improvements that will change how we look after you and other patients next time.

I would be keen to talk further with you about your experience and the improvements we are making and can be contacted on 5143 8512 or email

Once again, please accept our sincere apologies for your family’s experience.

Yours sincerely


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