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"Lack of staff understanding of my condition"

About: Royal Perth Hospital / Neurology & Epilepsy Service & Neuro-surgery & Ward 5H Royal Perth Hospital / Short Stay Surgical Unit Ward 4A & Day Surgery Unit Ward 4B/4G

(as the patient),

I have been travelling to RPH for a procedure every few weeks for the past several yrs.

Never in all that time have I been made to feel so, the only word I can think of is suicidal.

I had a nurse on duty recently one night in Ward 4a.

Maybe a little background here might help...

Due to cervical cancer, radiation, CKD, chronic pancreatitis, osteoporosis and a couple of other things, I have been left with a colostomy, urostomy, nephrostomy and a pelvic drain for a recurring abscess.

I have had the colostomy and urostomy for many yrs, so I know what's what with them. The pelvic drain, I have now had for over 2 years. In that time, my Urology team has tried everything they can think of to find out where this fluid is draining from. It reeks, I know it does. There is also absolutely nothing I can do to stop it smelling, other than being on ABs full-time.

I didn't need a nurse telling me, my colostomy must be leaking because they can smell it. No, it's the pelvic drain. Not just once was I told it was my colostomy but several times over the course of the night. 

So now, I feel if it's that bad, I am not going out in public again. My social life is done. I will never sit down to a meal with family or friends indoors again. 

Ward 4a is my second home and it was an agency nurse I believe. I have always been allowed to retain my dignity until that night.

Previously I have been in a single room for a micro alert for VRE. However last time I was on Ward 5h, the nursing coordinator placed me in a shared room and said I was no longer carded. I heard on this trip up that I haven't had a positive swab in 4 years. Well I can tell everyone, I have not been swabbed in that 4 yrs so I hope for the sake of other patients that they have guessed right. If not, anyone that comes in contact with me and contracts VRE can sue the backside off the hospital. I will support them 100%. I don't mind sharing a room, but I do mind other people being put at risk because I believe someone couldn't be bothered doing their job properly.

5h is also the Ward that the coordinator discharged me from a mere day after being in ICU. Not even eating solid food and my temp when I got home was over 38, but hey, their figures looked good.


Response from Lesley Bennett, Executive Director, Royal Perth Bentley Group 6 days ago
Lesley Bennett
Executive Director,
Royal Perth Bentley Group
Submitted on 08/04/2021 at 16:32
Published on Care Opinion at 16:32

picture of Lesley Bennett


Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. To hear you describe Ward 4A as your second home is heart-warming and only enhances my feelings of deep sadness when reading of your most recent admission.

I am deeply concerned that the events on this particular night resulted in a loss of your dignity and feelings of suicide. I acknowledge that insensitive comments made by a particular staff member may have amplified your feelings of distress, during an already stressful time.

To hear of the impact these comments had on your mental health is extremely upsetting. Please accept my sincere apologies for this, as this is certainly not the standard of care and support our staff strive to provide for patients.

Without further details, I am unable to confirm if your discharge from Ward 5H was appropriate and whether a micro alert was removed from your patient file. I would like to invite you to discuss your concerns with one of our Surgical Division Co-Director’s to ensure you have a single point of contact to provide you advice and explanations. You are welcome to contact Neil Cowan by calling the Executive Office on 9224 2334.

I respect that you may wish to remain anonymous. Please be assured that senior Surgical Division management have been made aware of your story and will be reviewing it with the team, so we can learn from your experience. I acknowledge your strength in sharing your story and sincerely wish you all the best with your ongoing health care needs.

Kind Regards

Dr Lesley Bennett

Executive Director

Royal Perth Bentley Group

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