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"Duty of care in emergency"

About: Maroondah Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

I was recently unfortunate enough to have clots in my lung, making it near impossible to breathe and was coughing up blood and in the worst pain of my life in my chest, ribs and collarbone. We called an ambo and they dosed me with everything they could (a few morphine doses + ketomine) on the way and then while we were waiting for the hospital to come and get me. They asked them 3 times and then took me into a makeshift bed themselves. The first nurse I had was lovely, but was already finishing late. She quickly admitted me into the computer and ran a quick ecg. Then shift change.

More morphine was administered and I asked if I could use the toilet. I was advised the toilet was at the end of the hall. (At this stage I was incredibly groggy and could barely balance let alone see straight.) So I make my way to the toilet. There were no rails on any of the walls to hold on to. None at all on the way there and back and also in the makeshift bed hospital ward. Back in the bed, amazed I made it back, I threw up. Multiple times. I told the nurse and was handed a spew bag. No one assisted me whilst vomiting, not even a tissue to sip my face, hands or hospital gown. Then there was a lovely female doctor on shift. She organised an X-ray and ct scan. The nurse who took me to the ct scan could see I was beside myself in pain, and scared and just left me in the room for about 15 minutes while they huddled in the room that looks in with other medical staff. I felt like they were all laughing at me. They certainly were not assisting me. They then come in and say I have to get on the other bed that they use for the ct scan. I told them it’s too painful to lie down as it restricts my breathing even more. I was told it had to be done and to move. I was given no help. I then cried the whole way through the scan. When the same nurse came back in they told me I had to get up and get back on the bed. No offer of assistance. I just cried and asked them how? Help me!

Then we get to late middle of the night and constant pain meds administered. I still had no updates, what my care would be and the plan. I was told I had to lie down on the bed but as mentioned constantly, the bed in the full up position was the best I could barely manage. The nurse told me it was time to sleep, mind you I had the fluorescent light on (none of the others did I believe) and I was open to everyone in plain view. Not even a blanket was offered. Whenever my pain peaked, I would try to sit myself up which was incredibly difficult given the extremely old bed rail that I couldn’t get down. My buzzer was only with me half the time, the rest of the time it was on the wall behind me which I couldn’t access which made it very hard for me to vomit off myself and use the bathroom again unassisted. Fast forward a few hours and I could barely breathe at all. I cried for help, couldn’t sit, couldn’t stand but again, no handrails to support myself on. I was in absolute agony. The nurse finally came when all I could do was wince for help. Probably a good 10 minutes. They then told me off for not being in the bed and I explained I couldn’t breathe sitting or lying down. They came back with morphine but told me I wouldn’t get it unless I put myself completely back in the bed. They took what felt like 20 minutes to come in and administer the morphine. There were extremely loud and disruptive patients swearing and screaming. I felt unsafe. I also couldn’t sleep.

Come early morning, I begged this nurse to either treat my condition or send me to someone who can or put me in a coma. At the time I actually thought I would need a tube through my chest so I could breathe, again, no communication on treatment. I was told the ward I needed to go to was full and I would have to wait till mid-morning to be administered. It got to late arvo and many shift changes and I told my partner to take me to another hospital as I couldn’t get treatment here and felt I was left to die. I felt there was zero care. The monitors I was hooked up to constantly had the alarms going off, and they just let them go. In my opinion, there was zero urgency and I spent almost two nights in ER, unable to breathe and in excruciating pain with next to zero pain relief. I am still so shocked at the state of the makeshift ward and lack of care. I kept saying to myself... what country are we in? How is this allowed, where is the care and the help?

I had one great doctor, and two great nurses briefly. Once I was moved to 3w, it was like I was in a completely different place. The level of care was incredible. I would like my detailed discharge papers so I can have the cottage reviewed as I believe I could have died on this nurse's watch. I’m still so shaken and Maroondah hospital will be avoided at all costs. There is so much more I need to add to this. I have my patient number etc and need this followed up. This needs to be taken further. Please contact me.


Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health last month
David Plunkett
Chief Executive,
Eastern Health
Submitted on 18/01/2021 at 10:45
Published on Care Opinion at 10:45

picture of David Plunkett

Dear authenticmt78,

Thank you so very much for taking the time to tell us of your experience when you attending the Emergency Department at Eastern Health’s Maroondah Hospital. I am very sorry your experience was not a positive one when you were in the Emergency Department and thank you for acknowledging the doctor and nurses you felt provided the care and service you were expecting. I was also pleased to hear that when you were transferred to the inpatient ward, your experience changed.

As your feedback has been de-identified, In order 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 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 hope that your health has improved and that you are well on the road to recovery. I truly hope we hear from you soon as the way you’ve described your experience has raised a number of concerns that I hope we can understand better.

Kind regards,


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

Update posted by authenticmt78 (the patient)

Hi David,

Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge my feedback.

I have just emailed through a more detailed summary addressed to you at the above email and hope we can get the lines of communication going to get to what took place here. We definitely need answers. In my opinion, this can not be standard or safe practice in Australia and no one should be put in that position again.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

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