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"Emergency Department services in Perth"

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital / Emergency Department King Edward Memorial Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

My wife was over 10 weeks pregnant and this is her first-time pregnancy after we went through many ups and downs and lots of medical complications. We are so much excited about this pregnancy and started dreaming about so many things. Suddenly, a few days ago, late in the night, my wife discovered she was bleeding and I urgently drove her to Fiona Stanley Hospital Emergency Department to check our baby’s condition. We were in tremendous stress and was in hurry to protect our only hope. My wife was crying all the way to the emergency department, thinking lots of bad possibilities.

When we reached the emergency, we found there were, in my opinion, plenty of people in the waiting room and I believe only one nurse in the reception and another one working on the floor giving care to other patients. We were told to sit in the waiting area and someone will attend to us when being free, even though I informed them about my wife’s situation. We were waiting around 10mins and no one came. I was shocked to see this sort of, what I believe to be slow service in the emergency department of a renowned hospital. Finally, after like ages, we were called and told there were 6 hrs of the waiting period, however, there was no one who can scan so they could probably organise a scan after 3 days! We were in an emergency and they told me that they could organise a scan after 3 days for the long queue. I felt, is it a joke? I was shocked and kept quiet for a moment and asked them that my wife is in an emergency condition and we need to save the child, what are our options? They checked their computer and suggested we go to King Edward as there were no one waiting.

My wife was still crying and so much upset and started losing hope to save the baby. I didn’t talk much, just grabbed my wife and with this physical condition of hers, I drove again 25mins to King Edward. I was anxious and started regretting why I am here. I felt this definitely should not be a situation of a standard healthcare system in a first world country like Australia; especially in Western Australia where we are proud to have Mark as our Premier.

Anyway, after we reached King Edward, they registered my wife in their patients' list and a junior doctor came to see us. After asking so many questions, I felt they left without giving us any hope or saying any positive words. Still, I was anxious and my wife was crying. A few minutes later they came again and informed us that all of the senior doctors are now in the labour wards and not possible to scan immediately to check the baby’s condition, as their schedules are fully booked for the next 2days! I was told to take my wife’s GP appointment immediately and assured me they will write a letter to my wife's GP! Seriously! I felt, is this you called “Emergency" in a hospital? We came back home in the early hours of the morning with a letter, without any assurance or anything regarding our baby’s condition. We passed a whole night without sleeping with lots of stress and anxiety. Finally, we went to the GP in the morning and informed them in details. They scanned with their small ultrasound machine and informed us that our baby is in good condition. I felt this scan was 5mins longer only but after that, it set us free from anxiety and stress.

My concern is if a GP has a small ultrasound machine by which they can scan and check, why an emergency department of Perth's renowned hospitals don't have this? Why an emergency department has, I believe, a shortage of healthcare workers where it is named emergency? In my opinion, COVID 19 excuses won't go with our state where I believe Mark managed it so professionally and fantastically. I am raising my voice on behalf of every patient who I believe suffered a lot so far by going to the emergency department for treatment and got treated like a normal patient in the emergency.

I went to another hospital a few months earlier with my broken toe and lots of pain and I ended up waiting for 3hrs and two panadol. That is another story but I feel these sort of situations are happening every day and night which I believe are not monitored and improved by anyone. I feel it is requested to involve someone like mystery shoppers and check what is going on in our emergency department. This state is very special and I want to raise my kids here but this sort of situation, especially with healthcare is, I feel, not at all accepted. Please let me know if I could be helpful but please fix these standard issues in the healthcare sector. Thanks.

Responses

Response from Paul Mark, Director Clinical Services, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group 2 weeks ago
Paul Mark
Director Clinical Services, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group,
Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group
Submitted on 01/04/2021 at 17:55
Published on Care Opinion at 17:55


picture of Paul Mark

Dear marchtm85,

Thank you for providing us with such detailed, personal feedback. I was very sorry to read of the stress and anxiety you and your wife felt at this early stage in your wife’s pregnancy.

Unfortunately, and as you experienced first-hand, our Emergency Department (ED) is currently experiencing unprecedented demand. I can assure you that our Emergency Department staff work extremely efficiently in a fast-paced, high pressure environment, usually out of sight of the main waiting area where most patients waiting to be treated and their accompanying visitors cannot see.

Having said that, we acknowledge that a 6 hour wait is unacceptable. Improving the timely access to emergency medical assessment and treatment is a high priority of Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) and we are constantly looking at new initiatives to address this. For example, we recently launched the Ambulatory Emergency Care Clinic (AECC) which can stream ED presentations directly from triage to the AECC for treatment. In turn, this increases capacity in the ED.

FSH also recently commenced a Virtual Emergency Medicine (VEM) program in partnership with St John Ambulance which has seen the establishment of tele-triage of ambulance patients bound for FSH so that they can be directly admitted to the most appropriate department; for example admitting patients directly to Medical Imaging when a fracture is suspected as likely. Again this increases capacity in the ED.

We would also like to remind readers that General Practitioners, as you experienced, are often equipped to deal with non-life threatening urgencies, and when possible (I.e. during opening hours) should be utilised. There are also several Urgent Care Clinics around the Perth Metropolitan area, which we strongly encourage patients to utilise, again, when a medical condition is urgent but not life-threatening. The Urgent Care Clinic closest to Fiona Stanley Hospital is the St John Urgent Care Cockburn, open 8am to 10pm 7 days per week. They are located 8 kilometres / a 10-minute drive from Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Regarding the ultrasound, to the best of our knowledge we have never had a first trimester patient with PV bleeding wait 3 days for an ultrasound booking. When patients present out of hours, there are 2 options:

Patient is booked onto the next day’s ED Ultrasound list Patient is booked onto the next available Acute Gynaecological Clinic List (usually the next day), where an in-clinic ultrasound service is provided.

We again apologise that these options were not explained to you, and have reminded staff of these options.

Again – thank you for providing us with your feedback. I would like to assure you that we are doing our best with the resources available to us, but messages such as yours do remind us of the personal stories behind all of our patients.

Kind regards,

Dr Paul Mark

Director Clinical Services

Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group.

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Response from Jodi Graham, Executive Director, Women and Newborn Health Service 6 days ago
Jodi Graham
Executive Director,
Women and Newborn Health Service
Submitted on 12/04/2021 at 17:02
Published on Care Opinion on 13/04/2021 at 09:02


picture of Jodi Graham

Dear marchtm85,

Thank you for reaching out to us via Care Opinion. I am so sorry to hear about the stressful situation that you and your wife found yourself in recently when you attended the King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH) Emergency Centre (EC).

I can reassure you that our staff work as hard as they can to be able to provide ultrasound examination at all times. While we are always prepared to attend to any emergency with all our resources at different times, skills like the use of an ultrasound can be in high demand.

Our teams are always striving to provide an exceptional level of care to patients and this may involve different diagnostic techniques and examination to diagnose the problem. General Practitioner’s (GP) are well equipped to deal with non-life threatening emergencies and where possible should be utilised. I’m very glad on this occasion the GP was able to reassure you and your wife.

I would like to thank you again for providing us with your feedback. I wish you and your family all the best for the future.

Regards,

Jodi Graham

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