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"Care from the Emergency Department"

About: Karratha Health Campus / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

Recently I was fitted with a PICO 7 Smith and Nephews negative pressure wound vac to cover a 5cm/3.4deep would. Two days later it was flashing 'dressing full' and needed to be changed.

Early in the morning, I contact my local Emergency Department (Karratha) and asked if this was urgent and how to best proceed. I was advised to visit in 3 hours time for a dressing change. 

I arrived at the time they said. One and a half hours later I was in to see the nurse. Got told not their area and to go to outpatient ambulatory care and they may not be able to change it. Awaiting further information from Dr.

An hour after that, the nurses had a look again and I believe they were not sure about it. Going to see if they can find a dressing. 

Almost 20 minutes later, they brought the wrong dressing through, so still waiting. 

Another 45 minutes waiting I was advised by a nurse that there was nothing they can do and was sent home with no change of dressing.

I understand not all nurses are trained in this area/machine but no effort to reassure me that it will be okay for the next 24 hours and to ring ambulatory first thing the next morning.

They left me waiting for five hours sitting on a chair ~ uncomfortable with my wound. I am in Karratha by myself and went to my car and broke down in tears, this has been ongoing for three/four weeks and I’m exhausted and they just made me break down if I cannot get support or help from them. 

Rang through to the wonderful staff in ambulatory care and had the dressing changed by lunch as this can cause bacteria to grow and infect the wound.

Highly disappointed in how it was treated.


Response from Margi Faulkner, Regional Director, WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Pilbara 2 weeks ago
We are preparing to make a change
Margi Faulkner
Regional Director,
WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Pilbara

Director of WACHS Pilbara and the lead of the Pilbara Executive Team.

Submitted on 11/02/2021 at 13:11
Published on Care Opinion at 13:11

picture of Margi Faulkner

Dear Pilbara93,

Thank you for taking the time to share your story on Care Opinion.

I am very sorry to hear of how your treatment unfolded at Karratha Health Campus and would like to assure you that this is not reflective of the standard that we expect when providing care to our patients.

I am very pleased to hear that you were able to meet with Dr Cherelle Fitzclarence, our Senior Medical Officer, to revise your dressing management plan and I hope that your wound is healing.

I would like to let you know that subsequent to this meeting, the staff involved have been counselled and safety measures have been put in place to improve the service and ensure that neither you or anyone else will have this experience going forward. I would also like to let you know that we will be delivering training and education in the use, management and storage of these vacuum dressings and will be issuing some refresher communications to all staff about the escalation pathways when they are unsure about treatment. If the established correct pathways had been followed, I think that your experience would have been improved.

Thank you again for sharing your experience with us. Your feedback has given us the opportunity to review and improve the health services we provide to all of our patients and their families.

If you would like to discuss your experience further or have any other concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Dr Fitzclarence on 08 9144 7565.

Yours sincerely

Margi Faulkner

Regional Director


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