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"Waiting time for category 2 injury"

About: Box Hill Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a service user),

My partner had chlorine in their eye which I understand is a category 2 injury. We attended box Hill ED and were informed by the security guard that there is a lengthy wait and are we sure a GP couldn't assist. This caused us to question our decision to seek emergency medical treatment but we decided to stay. We were given a number to wait to be seen by triage and advised that as we were 7th in line the wait would be hours.

We waited for 30min unseen by triage and no questions from any medical staff. My partner's eye became more irritated and painful as the chemical burns worsened in absence of treatment. I called your complaints line and was informed by an electronic message to leave a message so someone could call back. I left a message outlining the severity of the situation and flagging that legal action would be taken if permanent damage occurred. We waited some more.

My partner's eye continued to burn so they asked me to request a cup so we could continue first aid in their (what I felt were dirty) toilets. It was only when I requested a cup so we could flush more water through their eye as first aid that I believe the clerk realised that there was a category 2 injury in the waiting room and decided to ask a triage nurse to examine the injury. Fortunately, the nurse correctly identified the injury and sent my partner straight through for treatment which from this point on was exemplary.

My partner is reliant on their eyes professionally. I believe that if I hadn't asked for first aid supplies, they'd still be there in ED waiting for triage with permanent damage to their eye. In my opinion, you shouldn't have untrained people deciding the priorities for triage. Emergency department? I feel, what a joke.

I get that you are, it seems, underfunded, understaffed and obviously in very high demand, but in my opinion, having a medical person (for example a student nurse) handing out the numbers for further assessment by triage (instead of a security guard with, I believe, no formal medical training who attempted to send us away from the emergency medical care we needed because they have no understanding of what a category 2 eye injury is), would go a long way in avoiding preventable permanent damage (and litigation) caused by an apparent total lack of understanding about the severity of presenting problems. 


Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health 3 months ago
David Plunkett
Chief Executive,
Eastern Health
Submitted on 08/04/2021 at 13:16
Published on Care Opinion at 13:18

picture of David Plunkett

Dear BHAnonymous,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience when you attended the Emergency Department at Eastern Health’s Box Hill Hospital.

I'm sorry the first part of your experience was not a positive one but pleased to read once you received care and treatment, your experience was positive.

Thank you also for making contact with the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience. I understand that one of our Patient Relations Advisors has left a voice message and also emailed you regarding the issues you’ve raised and that we will be reviewing your particular circumstances.

Should you wish to speak with our Patient Relations Advisors in the meantime, please feel free to do so on the number you have previously used (noting they may be on another call, so please leave a message and they will call you back).

I trust your partner’s eye is improving and you both have what you need for this to continue.

Thank you again and kind regards


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