"Visit to the Emergency Department"

About: Sutherland Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a service user),

After attending a GP for our unsettled infant, we were referred to the Sutherland Hospital ED. The GP could not see the right TM due to a lot of wax and was concerned with worsening crying of our child during the abdominal exam.

At the Sutherland Hospital ED we were triaged quickly and seen within 3 hours which I believe was a reasonable time considering the pediatric section was clearly full. We heard discussions about where to put other patients as there were no beds. While waiting the nurses administered Panadol and by the time our child was reviewed, they were seemingly back to their normal self.

The registrar examined left and right ear noting no adverse findings, however our child became notably distressed after review of their right ear. While the registrar was unconvinced it was an ear infection, we were given a script for amoxicillin and instructed to commence if fevers or vomiting develop within 48 hours. The registrar noted how busy it was and suggested it may be easier for us to wait and see at home and said sometimes these bouts of pain are never explained.

Fortunately, we did not wait. Within 48 hours we presented to the ED at a different hospital where the registrar could not see properly into our child's ear. In this instance, they consulted and had our child reviewed by the consultant ENT. What others thought was wax was actually pus and suction was required to clear the very swollen ear that was almost shut. Our child has been on two courses of amoxicillin and ear drops and has narrowly avoided the need for surgery.

We find the staff at Sutherland Hospital to be professional, friendly and it is often a pleasant experience. However, we feel it seems in hindsight on this occasion that our child was let down in the standard of care they received. In my opinion, if they had been reviewed by an ENT on their initial presentation, we could have avoided a second ED visit, and potentially if it was caught earlier, the build-up of pus may not have ruptured their eardrum.


Response from Vicki Weeden, General Manager, Surgery, Critical Care, Womens & Childrens Health, Sutherland Hospital & Garrawarra Centre last week
Vicki Weeden
General Manager, Surgery, Critical Care, Womens & Childrens Health,
Sutherland Hospital & Garrawarra Centre
Submitted on 30/06/2020 at 10:21
Published on Care Opinion at 12:49

picture of Vicki Weeden

Dear marsbq45,

Thank you for taking the time to let us know of your recent experience in our Emergency Department (ED). Attending the hospital with a sick child is traumatic and I would like to sincerely apologise that the treatment your child received appeared to fall short of the high standard we aim to provide. I was disappointed to hear that an ENT review was not sought in Sutherland ED and have forwarded your feedback to the Director of Emergency Medicine to discuss with emergency staff.

I appreciate your comments regarding the staff at Sutherland Hospital and am reassured by your advice that previous visits have been a pleasant experience.

Once again, thank you for your feedback as it provides an opportunity to review the care we provide to the community.

Vicki Weeden,

General Manager

Sutherland Hospital

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