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"Doctor's ignorant and problematic views"

About: Kalbarri Health Centre / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

My child sliced their arm on coral while snorkelling in Kalbarri. 

We promptly took them down to Kalbarri Health Centre on the recommendation by a fellow beachgoer.

Once we arrived we needed to ring the bell and explain what the issue was through a speaker. We were immediately brought through to the beds in their emergency department. We saw two nurses who were both very professional and kind. It was all very quick. They suspected a glue and a clean would be all that was needed, but given the doctor was nearby they were going to call them in to have a look first. 

Within 10 mins the Doctor arrived and greeted my child with a happy smile. They then went to have a quick look at the notes and history the nurses had taken. The Doctor immediately noted my child is on medication for ADHD. Things went downhill from there for our experience at Kalbarri Health. 

The Doctor announced loudly, in front of my child, that every kid is on ADHD medication these days. 

The Doctor then asked where my child's other parents.  I told them my partner was back at the accommodation with my other children to which the Doctor said that all the single mothers have their kids on medication so I wondered.

They also made multiple comments about how well behaved my child was being in what felt like an attempt to justify their, what I believe are, ignorant and problematic views.

My child was distressed after this interaction and was asking a lot of questions in the evening about the comments the Doctor made. I believe my child will be up against stereotypes their entire life, and now they are going to view health professionals in the category that causes pain.

As an adult with ADHD and a parent of two children with ADHD I am deeply offended and hurt by this interaction.

I feel like some serious training is in need.

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Responses

Response from Allan Pelkowitz, Regional Medical Director, Medical Services, WA Country Health Services Midwest about a year and a half ago
Allan Pelkowitz
Regional Medical Director, Medical Services,
WA Country Health Services Midwest
Submitted on 21/01/2021 at 10:08 AM
Published on Care Opinion at 10:08 AM


picture of Allan Pelkowitz

Dear pelicanzx95,

I have read your story and would like to convey how very sorry I am for the comments made by a member of the medical team that has left you feeling understandably distressed and offended. Everyone should expect to feel safe in a health care environment and it is vital that all of our patients and their families and carers feel safe and comfortable when they are in our care.

I am concerned about your experience and have discussed this with the team to ensure that other patients and their families and carers do not go through a similar experience as you and your family. I would like to assure you that the clinician involved in your care is extremely sorry for having left you feeling upset and hurt.

I would really appreciate the opportunity to discuss the concerns you have raised and would like to stress that you can maintain your anonymity if you wish. My name is Dr Allan Pelkowitz and I am the Regional Medical Director; I would genuinely welcome your call on 9956 8742 or via email at Allan.Pelkowitz@health.wa.gov.au.

Thank you for your kind comments about the nursing staff, which I will make sure is shared with them.

Thank you, also, for taking the time to share your story. This gives us the opportunity to reflect upon our organisational values and enables us to make improvements in the care we provide.

I do hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards,

Dr Allan Pelkowitz

Regional Medical Director

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