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"Poor experience waiting in emergency"

About: Rockingham General Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

At the start of this year, I was unfortunately taken by ambulance to the Emergency Department at Rockingham Hospital. On arrival I was put in a wheelchair in the waiting room - I had already told the paramedic that despite taking paracetamol my pain was 9/10, I was not seen at that time by any nursing staff. I sat in the waiting room for a further 2 hours, my pain was becoming intolerable so I approached the clerk and told them my pain was getting worse, the clerk sent me to the triage nurse who asked me to sit and wait as they were already with a patient. The triage nurse in the other window came across and asked if I was OK - I told them I wasn't and that my pain was getting worse. I was asked for a urine sample, after I gave them that they took me into a room behind triage and a Dr came. After being examined by the Dr I was taken straight through.

After a few tests it showed that my bowel was obstructed and was starting to die - I was then rushed by ambulance to another hospital for emergency surgery.

I think it was very poor care by the triage nurses - I was never offered any pain relief beside my pain being so bad. I had also had no check of my pulse or blood pressure. I have since learnt that my condition could have been life-threatening (I am a senior person).

We had previously had a similar bad experience with this ED with my late husband. I felt that the staff didn't take me seriously and felt that I was putting it on.

I understand that waiting in Emergency is necessary but I feel that at least some pain medicine would be helpful and I also feel the nurses should be checking on their patients whilst they're waiting, particularly if it's for a few hours.

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Response from Kath Smith, Executive Director, Rockingham Peel Group, South Metropolitan Health Service 7 months ago
Kath Smith
Executive Director, Rockingham Peel Group,
South Metropolitan Health Service
Submitted on 16/06/2021 at 3:44 PM
Published on Care Opinion at 4:01 PM

picture of Kath Smith

Dear pagerqk47,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. I am very sorry to hear that you waited a long time whilst in pain.

The emergency department is committed to providing compassionate and quality care and follows the Australian Government Australasian Triage Scale (ATS), which is a clinical tool used to establish the acceptable waiting time for medical assessment and treatment of patients. We aim to see and treat all patients as soon as practicably possible, unfortunately at times there may be a surge in presentations which leads to longer wait times for patients. Recently our department has allocated a senior doctor to assess and commence treatment of patients in the waiting room, and nursing staff to review patients and offer pain relief where required. This may not have been in operation at the time of your presentation and I hope it provides some reassurance for any future presentations.

I apologise for the wait time you experienced on this presentation and for any further discomfort this caused you. If you would like us to investigate the details of your presentation and reasons for the delay further I would encourage you to contact our Consumer Liaison Officers on 9599 4323 and provide your details along with the date and time of your presentation. This will allow us to investigate your specific concerns.

Once again I am very sorry for your experience.

Kind regards,

Kath Smith

Executive Director

Rockingham Peel Group

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