"Lack of interest from staff"

About: Sale Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

My child was taken in by ambulance to your Emergency Department (ED) with multiple seizures, on the advice of a neurologist in Melbourne. While waiting on the ambo stretcher they had another 4 seizures, lasting around a minute each.

The ambo’s were great, keeping a very close eye on all the obs and my child, asking hospital staff if they could look so they could see what kind of seizure my child was having. In my opinion, it seemed there was little to no interest in this, which I believe, even surprised the ambo’s. After approx 20 minutes, the ambo’s cleaned a bed, made it up and put my child on it, they then had an ECG and drip put in and was left while the neurologist was consulted.

I went to get a drink and returned to find my child fitting very strongly and even though they were right in front of a full nurses station, who, in my opinion, only seemed interested in typing on computers and chatting, didn’t notice. I called for help, to which there was a very slow response and a general lack of interest, in my opinion.

After this, they administered an IV drug for the seizures as advised by the neurologist which seemed to send my child off their head. I believe they were seeing things and seemed very agitated. My child was yelling and wanting to leave, me and my spouse were holding them telling them they needed to stay and this is where my biggest worry is; how poorly your staff reacted, how unprepared and untrained in dealing with a full-blown mental breakdown right in front of their eyes, to the point where they all just disappeared, leaving us to try and deal with it.

When we were all but begging for help, my spouse crying, my child yelling; all your doctor could say was, we can’t make them stay. Your very junior nurse, who at least tried to help, saying, it’s difficult, neither wanting to call any sort of mental health professional. In my opinion, none of the staff seemed to know how to deal with this at all and in this age of being all about mental health and mental health issues, I felt, was the most disappointing and heartbreaking result I could imagine.

At no time did my child threaten, abuse or touch any of your staff and I feel that your training and strategies need urgent reviewing of this matter. Neither I or my spouse have any experience with mental health and this was my child’s first mental health breakdown.


Response from Mandy Pusmucans, Director of Nursing, Sale, Central Gippsland Health 8 months ago
Mandy Pusmucans
Director of Nursing, Sale,
Central Gippsland Health
Submitted on 30/03/2020 at 10:22
Published on Care Opinion at 10:23

picture of Mandy Pusmucans

Dear Slapsy,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. I would like to say how sorry I am that we have let you down. We are taking your feedback very seriously and we are committed to working to avoid anything similar happening in the future.

Tom, our Emergency Department Nurse Manager and I would very much like to meet with you and listen to your story. If you felt you could do this, please contact me so that we can arrange this – it can be done by phone if that is easiest. We have spent some time considering your post, and further detail would really help us to understand how we might be able to improve into the future.

I understand that once your child arrived into the Emergency Department, they continued to spend some time in the care of the Ambulance Officers. Often, due to high volume in the Emergency Department (ED) patients attending via Ambulance are kept within their care to ensure their safety is maintained until a bed is available for treatment.

I am sorry that you all experienced considerable distress due to your growing concern for your child’s condition. We aim to provide the highest care for all of our patients and clients and I am deeply disappointed and concerned to learn that this was not your experience.

CGH has spent significant time and effort on improving our communication, however, we acknowledge that we do not always get it right. Your story helps us to reflect and identify improvements. From your story, it highlights for us the importance of actively listening to patients and in the Emergency Department, making sure that we maintain a strong clinical focus so that we attend to people as a whole, and not solely their existing illnesses.

Again, in order to fully address your concerns, I would be very grateful to talk further with you about your experience and potential improvements. Please contact me on 5143 8512 or via email mandy.pusmucans@cghs.com.au.

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

Yours sincerely

Mandy Pusmucans

Executive Director of Nursing

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