"Plastic surgery experience"

About: Box Hill Hospital / Plastic Surgery

(as the patient),

I had a dermatofibroma removed from my upper calf earlier this year by my now former GP, and ended up in Box Hill Hospital ED about 2 weeks later with severe cellulitis and a nasty wound infection. Was treated with IV antibiotics and regular cleaning. 

Fast forward several months later when my regular/new GP referred me to Plastics because the wound wasn't healing properly & was hyper-granulating.

A procedure was planned for a week later, was then postponed because of an urgent case, which is fine. Then it was properly scheduled for a recent date. 

It went ahead with no problem. Then about 10 days later, I was sent back in by my GP because the wound was super hot, red, very very painful, and my leg was, and still is feeling very very tight. 

Plastics reviewed me and said that it was because the ultrasound showed multiple abscesses. They gave me the option to me of either using some local anaesthetic and squeezing and cleaning out the contents of the wound and letting the pus drain or I could go to theatre and be under anaesthesia, and get the abscesses drained and the wound all washed out and cleaned.

I opted for the theatre option because when my former GP originally did the procedure, they didn't do it in a sterile field and also didn't numb it properly, so I felt an absolute minimum of 90% of everything. And I wasn't ready to feel anything similar to that as I am still so traumatised.  Consent was signed, and I felt they didn't look impressed at my choice.

Anyway, I was woken early in the morning for them to try and get some bloods done. And I saw Plastics again before my procedure was meant to go ahead, and they said it looks better than it did the day before. 

They took photos of the wound (with my consent), and then about 4-5 hours later, I got the news that they cancelled my surgery and no one was telling me why.  I was absolutely beside myself. In 7/10 pain, it was also discussed that I had an abnormal pain response.

Later on, they sent a junior registrar in to tell me that the consultant said that they don't think it needs surgery (this is the same dr that I believe tried to just get me to settle for dressing the wound when it wasn't healing). The revision surgery that one of the higher up specialists managed to organise, revealed that the former GP left half of the benign tumour in my leg & that's why it is was so bulging and purple and horribly painful. The revision surgery was organised after I became assertive and said that something has to be done, because my wound isn't healing and it's super painful and my quality of life was severely affected.

Now I have multiple small abscesses, a very swollen leg (so swollen I can't wear socks even, and my leggings barely fit over my leg) and an excruciatingly sore leg. One of the drs squeezed the wound after taking out a stitch and found that a haematoma came out, along with yucky orange-yellow pus. I believe they won't follow through on washing the abscess & wound out in theatre even though they game me the option.

I'm furious that, in my opinion, they can be so blazé about it.  I am unable to walk like a normal human or sleep properly.  I believe something needs to be done, like the washout that originally was planned so the bacteria doesn't grow back, because if it was found that that could have prevented a future infection, I will be even more furious than I currently am. I believe something needs to happen, more than simple observation and antibiotics.

My leg is so painful and they're just saying it's related to chronic pain. I had Endometriosis, I'd prefer endo pain or the kidney stones that I get to the leg stuff.  I'm not coping with the loss of action. And the fact they went back on the plan and told me after I'd been fasting and such for hours. 

I'm 100% fine with them packing the wound, and having it changed every 1-2 days at my GP, and seeing a scar.  The only time I've had issues with wound infection with my leg is from stitches. I never had an issue with packing. 

In my opinion, they tried fobbing off my pain response to my leg being hypersensitive, both now, and when my body was trying to push out the extra lump of tumour that the original GP didn't remove. 

I feel having the wound cleaned out is best for me. I'm not at all coping with the fullness and pressure, from the freaking abscesses and pain, night sweats, fevers, etc. 


Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health 2 weeks ago
David Plunkett
Chief Executive,
Eastern Health
Submitted on 22/06/2020 at 14:39
Published on Care Opinion at 14:40

picture of David Plunkett

Dear Fudge123,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience having plastic surgery at Eastern Health Box Hill Hospital. It sounds this has been a very challenging time for you starting with your former GP. I’m sorry there seems to be conflicting information regarding the best treatment options for you.

In order to maintain your privacy and to for us to follow up your particular circumstances, I would like to invite you to contact one of our Patient Relations Advisors in the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience either by calling 1800 EASTERN or by emailing feedback@easternhealth.org.au. If you choose to call please be aware that it is possible that the Patient Relations Advisors may be on another call at the time you ring and if so you will be invited to leave a message so they can return your call.

I appreciate this continues to be a very challenging time for you and I hope through making contact soon, we will be able to get clarity for you and an agreed care plan going forward.

Thank you again and kind regards,


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