"Immunotherapy Treatment"

About: Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

This is a very long story but it will be condensed for this forum. Our adult child has Stage IV Melanoma. They have been battling this cancer for 7 years on and off. Over the years, we have had to travel to Perth for PET scans and oncologist reviews, and inpatient episodes.

The amount of time/money spent travelling is staggering! PATS does not pay for everything. The melanoma is back in their lungs and bowel and we begin another round of immunotherapy. Life is complicated and unfortunately, we were unable to attend the booked oncologist review before immunotherapy. Apparently, this is standard practice/policy for this treatment. I left 2 voice messages as I was unable to get through the day before to let them know we couldn't make the 3-hour drive one way.

We arrived early the day after and an unprofessional, rude staff member, I believe with absolutely no empathy for my child or my family, began a judge and jury like rant and felt they scolded myself for not coming to the booked oncologist appointment. The interrogation of why, how and where continued in front of other patients and other staff members. I felt the staff member would not listen, they did not care, and in my opinion, the theatrical performance was disgusting.

It seemed this behaviour continued when the cross-examination in the waiting area moved to the treatment room. I felt we were then in trouble again as the proposed next date they wanted to book, conflicted with my child's FIFO roster. It was very inconvenient that my child worked apparently.

My child is an adult, they are not on a pension and is not laying on the lounge. This staff member, I felt, had no empathy and was one of the rudest staff members we have ever encountered over the last 7 years. In my opinion, a staff member who has no empathy or compassion for people who are fighting for their lives should not be working in a cancer centre.


Response from Chris Cullen, Director Safety, Quality and Performance, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital last week
Chris Cullen
Director Safety, Quality and Performance,
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
Submitted on 25/03/2020 at 21:26
Published on Care Opinion on 26/03/2020 at 09:51

Dear giraffeqf39,

Please let me start by saying how sorry I am to hear that you and your adult child had such a negative interaction with staff when you attended your appointment at the Cancer Centre at SCGH.

Accessing treatment for cancer can be particularly challenging for our country patients who are FIFO and it is important that we do all we can to support them with their competing commitments. From what you describe here, staff did not treat your child or family with the respect and concern that we expect our staff to demonstrate

I understand you have also been in contact with the Consumer Liaison Service at SCGH and they have forwarded your feedback to the leadership of the Cancer Centre so that we can learn from your families experience and improve our care for patients in the future.

Once again it is truly appreciated that you have taken the time to share your story with us regarding the impact that this experience has had on your child's journey.

Please pass on my best wishes to your child.

Kind regards,

Chris Cullen

Director Safety Quality and Performance Management

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