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"Emergency Department experience"

About: Bunbury Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I attended the emergency dept of the Bunbury Health Campus as a result of falling over recently. I had pain and immobility in both arms as a result of the fall.

My partner and I arrived at the ER around night time and seen almost immediately by the triage nurse. They assessed my case as a needing to see a Dr and put me through as a fast/express patient. For the following 9 hours, she was the only person who checked on me in the waiting room.

I had to approach staff in order to get a blanket and the triage nurse kept apologising for the wait and making sure I was as comfortable as one could be sitting in a waiting room with two broken arms.

I was taken by an orderly a few hours after midnight to have x-rays, at this stage, I still had not seen a Dr. The person taking the xrays was concerned about my left elbow and basically was the only medical advice received to that point when they advised me to not to move it.

I was sent then back to the waiting room. A few hours later, the Dr took me back into the triage room to advise that I had broken both wrists and both elbows and would need to consult an orthopaedic surgeon on how to proceed. The Dr indicated that I would likely need surgery and would need to be admitted to hospital.

At this stage, my partner went home to grab a change of clothes (in case of surgery) and to let their work know they would not be in.

An hour later, the Dr called me back through to have my left wrist plastered, my elbows put in slings and a splint on the right wrist. They gave me a referral to the orthopaedic clinic to be attended within 7-10 days. I was released from hospital an hour after that.

During my whole experience, I felt the only person who was concerned was the triage nurse. I believe I should have been admitted that night and had surgery.

There were empty beds and wards in the ER, I was advised that the hospital did not have enough staff (nurses and Drs) to be able to admit patients which is why everyone was being treated in the waiting room.

I felt that I would have been better off calling an ambulance as that would have been the only way I would have been seen as a priority. 9 hours of waiting and not knowing all because I believe the department can't hire enough staff to run an emergency dept is a concern.

Subsequent visits to the orthopaedic clinic and forcing the issue it was established I needed surgery on day 1 to reattach my elbow. If I had not requested a second opinion I would likely still be waiting to be treated the way I should have been treated on day 1. Delaying the surgery has caused delays in my ongoing treatment.


Response from Stephen Hartwig, Staff Specialist/Consultant, Bunbury Hospital, WACHS South West 11 months ago
Stephen Hartwig
Staff Specialist/Consultant, Bunbury Hospital,
WACHS South West
Submitted on 13/03/2020 at 15:09
Published on Care Opinion at 15:35

Dear novemberwc36,

I was so sorry to read about your recent experience at Bunbury Hospital Emergency Department, which left you waiting for an extended period, in pain, with two broken arms. I sincerely apologise that there were delays in having your injuries assessed and that the initial orthopaedic referral added to the time before your surgery. It was positive to hear about the excellent work by the triage nurse but also disappointing that other members of the care team couldn’t provide you with the same attention and support.

I would like to assure you that we are taking your concerns very seriously and wish to fully review what happened. To assist the clinical team, I would appreciate you making contact so that we can identify your record of treatment and conduct a detailed investigation. This will allow us to learn from your experience and make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Can you please contact our Customer Liaison Officer, Glenn Gates – either by email: or by phone on (08) 9722 1521.

Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us and I hope to hear from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Stephen Hartwig

Staff Specialist and Acting Director of Emergency Medicine

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