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"Lack of care for an infant"

About: Sale Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a service user),

I recently attended Sale ED, my baby had been suffering from gastro and had been vomiting for more than 8 hours with no wet nappy for the previous 6 hours.

I was unable to get fluids into my baby at home. After exhausting all options I contacted a nurse on call. By this time my baby was vomiting bile and was very unwell. I was told I needed to go immediately to ED.

Upon arrival, I was told they can’t have us there because my baby was contagious. No one seemed to have any concern for my baby's immediate health and at no point were we triaged. I was told we needed to (at midnight) wait in the car and to take a hydrolite icy pole because I was told that’s all they would do for my baby there anyway.

After a further 3 hours I was called to come into the isolation room in 5 minutes, as it was being cleaned. When I came back in the nurse acted as if they didn’t know us or why we were there (despite speaking to me moments earlier by phone) they came across like we were a frustration to them and I was shown into a room with no sheet on the bed, no liner in the bin and no examination of my baby took place for a further 45 minutes. The nurse just left. I couldn’t even find a buzzer to call anyone. When a nurse came past they said they were going to be a while and again, disappeared. 

All throughout this time, my baby was vomiting and no one seemed to care whatsoever. There was nothing in the room I could use to catch vomit, clean it up with or anything. Apart from the hydro lite icy pole given several hours earlier, my baby wasn’t offered a water jug, another icy pole or anything. 

When a doctor appeared, they spent less than 5 minutes with my baby, listened to their chest and took a temp. The doctor said they would give ondansetron and left. We didn’t see them again. My baby's ears, nor mouth were checked. After not seeing anyone again for quite some time I asked the nurse for some water and they replied, don’t you have some?

In my experience, and experiences that I have heard from others many times recently, there seemed little care, only a sense that they wanted to get us to leave as quickly as possible. There seemed absolutely no care for the patient or their needs. 

Sadly, I believe it’s now a common understanding by many in this community that once you’re in the isolation room in ED at Sale, it seems you get treated like a burden they wish to be rid of ten minutes ago. I personally have grave concerns for our community if this is the new normal we have to accept in this new COVID world.

I understand the need for infection control, but I feel this hospital needs to do better. No one chooses to be sick. If I didn’t think I needed to be there I certainly wouldn’t have been! This was a baby, who now two days later is severely dehydrated and has a chest infection that was not picked up.

If we cannot trust our local hospital and the doctors within, well then who can we trust? The gap in care and service to community country vs city just grew a mile in my view. 

I am so terribly disappointed in this experience and I can only hope that this feedback is read and acted upon.


Response from Mandy Pusmucans, Director of Nursing, Sale, Central Gippsland Health last month
Mandy Pusmucans
Director of Nursing, Sale,
Central Gippsland Health
Submitted on 16/03/2021 at 15:07
Published on Care Opinion at 15:08

picture of Mandy Pusmucans

Dear whisperkc53,

My name is Mandy Pusmucans and I am the Director of Nursing at Sale Hospital. I am so sorry that this has been your experience in our Emergency Department, and I hope that your little one has now recovered.

On presenting to the Emergency Department, you should expect that the Triage Nurse listens to your story and assesses the level of urgency in which your baby should be seen. You should expect that the staff are always compassionate and caring, and accommodate your needs. This includes continuing to check in with you and your baby, despite the very important infection control requirements. I apologise that this has not been the case for you.

I would really appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to more fully understand what happened. This will help us to make improvements. The Nurse Manager of the Emergency Department, Tom, would be involved in this.

If you feel able, please contact me by phone on 5143 8512 or by email at

If you prefer not to do that, please be assured that I will discuss your story with the team, for our reflection and improvement.

Again, please accept my sincere apologies for your experience and I look forward to any contact that you can make.

Yours sincerely


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