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"Disappointment of recent ED visit with my child"

About: Sale Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

I recently presented to ED with my young child twice, first visit my child was vomiting, had a temperature of 40 degrees, not keeping fluids or pain relief down. On the first visit to ED the staff that were on were great and very caring. I had previously been there the week before with my other toddler child who had croup and we had the same nurse/doctor. He was wonderful and checked everything and said I had done the right thing by bringing them over. He said my child had a middle ear infection which explained the symptoms that they had described to me early that morning. He said if they continued to vomit and not keep fluids down, to re-present.

I re-presented 2 days later around the same time after my child vomited twice at home and their temperature had gone up again. The triage nurse was great once again, it wasn’t until we were called through and met with a particular nurse, I ran through with them what had been happening. I felt, several times, they cut me off when I was explaining what had been happening, I expressed multiple times l was concerned my child was dehydrated as they had only been to the toilet twice all day to wee. The nurse didn’t ask what pain relief and at what time I had given it to my child, they said they wanted to do a blood test (but then that never happened). They did a dip stick of my child's urine and never told me the results of that, they told me they would give my child a hydro-light icy pole and see how they go, and then called the senior doctor in and they looked in my child's ears and said their ears were fine.

My child had a croup like cough, yet this nurse said my child's lungs sounded fine, even though the previous day the doctor said my child sounded chesty. The nurse then came in and said we were fine to go home, before we left this nurse said to me that when children are sick you wait until they are limp and sleepy to present to ED, which I was shocked and disgusted as I believe that is very dangerous, I would never wait that long.

This nurse made us feel like that we were a burden and that my child was fine. This is the first time my child has been that ill and I felt they needed help, we were also told to re-present if they continued to vomit. I have never brought my children to ED unless I felt it necessary and being a weekend my local GP was closed. I had my child's siblings who were still recovering themselves and needed their parent, l would not bring my any of my children to ED unless I felt needed.

I feel this kind of advice I received from this nurse was dangerous and could deter other parents from receiving help for their children. I think this needs to be addressed to protect small children and ensure that parents aren’t made to feel guilty or a burden to the hospital for seeking help.

I’m really disappointed with this sort of treatment and if this is the only help in our local area that is available, in my opinion, that is concerning.


Response from Mandy Pusmucans, Director of Nursing, Sale, Central Gippsland Health 3 weeks ago
Mandy Pusmucans
Director of Nursing, Sale,
Central Gippsland Health
Submitted on 26/03/2021 at 10:29
Published on Care Opinion at 10:29

picture of Mandy Pusmucans

Dear fornaxpm79,

My name is Mandy Pusmucans and I am the Director of Nursing at Sale Hospital. Thank you for telling us your story and for the positive comments you have made.

However, I am sorry that you also felt let down by the experience. It is a worrying time when a child is unwell and you should never feel that you are a burden.

You should expect that we listen well, and that we keep you up to date on any required tests and their results. We will certainly discuss your story with the team, for our reflection and improvement.

If you need anything further from me, please contact me by phone on 5143 8512 or by email at

Again, please accept my apology and I hope that your child is feeling much better now.

Yours sincerely

Mandy Pusmucans

Executive Director of Nursing

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Response from Tom Breakspear, Nurse Unit Manager, Emergency Department, Central Gippsland Health 3 weeks ago
Tom Breakspear
Nurse Unit Manager, Emergency Department,
Central Gippsland Health
Submitted on 26/03/2021 at 10:30
Published on Care Opinion at 10:31

picture of Tom Breakspear

Dear fornaxpm79,

My name is Tom and I am the Nurse Unit Manager of the Emergency Department at Sale. I am sorry to hear of your most recent experience in our Department.

It is always worrying to have an unwell child, and your observations as a carer are certainly an important part of our assessment.

Our team values good communication and hearing what our patients and families have to say is a big part of this. You should definitely not feel that you are a burden – we are here to help.

We have discussed your story as a team and will look to improve in the future. If you would like to get in touch, please feel free to contact me on 51438160 or by email at

Thank you for all of your feedback and I hope all of your children are feeling better.

Kind Regards,

Tom Breakspear

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