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"Necrotic bone removal and stage one of knee reconstruction"

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital / Operating Theatres, Post Anaesthetic Care Unit

(as the patient),

I broke my leg a few years ago, a plate was put in, I contracted Golden staph and had multiple cleanouts at another hospital. That experience has led me to chronic bone infection. My story is not about that event, but gives background to an appointment with the wonderful head surgeon at Fremantle hospital and the news that my knee bones were necrotic and had to be removed. I was told that I could lose my leg.

I was booked into Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) because the operating theatres at Fremantle are being refurbished. The Fremantle surgeons were great, kind and gentle. But I woke up to what I felt was the horror of chaotic, sub standard care by FSH.

On waking I was in gut-wrenching pain, there was a major language barrier with the nurses in attendance, a number of them gathered around, but I felt nobody appeared to know what to do. Only Panadol was offered as pain relief. In my opinion, they were openly annoyed with me. I became extremely distressed. Help came from a student nurse from Murdoch who, quickly got an ice pack, and talked to co-ordinator about getting better pain relief. They returned and comforted me through the situation until meds arrived.

- I needed pain medication, it was late evening and I believe the Dr on ward had an argument with the nurse right outside my door, saying as I recalled, that I was not their concern as I was a Fremantle patient. The nurse insisted and the Dr reluctantly attended to me.

- During this time I was incontinent, the sheets were not changed for 5 days, my roommate then found the linen room, we changed our own beds.

- I was not offered assistance to shower or a bed bath, I was incontinent a number of times due to slow response to requests for assistance to get to the loo. It was humiliating. In the end, I gathered a number of bluey's and cardboard bedpans and organised myself.

- There were no towels in the bathroom, and loo paper was running out. Requests to replace these - were I felt, ignored or not understood.

- The area around my bed was, in my opinion, an OHS falls risk, with chairs beds equipment not placed in safe manner. On night 3 a contract staff was on shift. She was fabulous and immediately tidied my area, rearranged the furniture and equipment around me making it navigable for all, got some towels, cleaned up the med cups (about 9) that had gathered on my table and gave it a clean. She made me a milo, helped me to the loo and arranged pain meds.


The big concerns based on my observations:

- I witnessed medication charts not being signed, then signed next shift.

- Medications were left amongst the gathering lily cups when I was asleep.

- Medications on the floor, I brought to a nurses' attention and it was thrown in the bin.

- Many nurses did not use hand cleanser - even during COVID lockdown.

- The bottle of cleanser on my bed was empty, it was not filled up for the duration of my stay.

- I believe some nurses did not know how to use basic equipment, ice machine for the leg. I felt some were unable to read the English instructions. I watched the Physio first time it was not hard. I offered to show and I felt no interest was shown by some. I had to ask for it to be put on, even after Physio indicated to nurses that it should go on 20 mins every two hours. One nurse couldn't work the blood pressure monitor and its workings came loose, nearly fell on me. I believe they were very flustered.

- I could hear English lessons I believe, for staff, as my room was opposite staff and medication room. It was very basic and noisy.

- One nurse had the sniffles and was constantly wiping nose with hand, whilst attending to observations, this was during COVID lockdown. Remember no hand cleaning first.

- A nurse would attend to the patient bell in a run, I believe just to turn it off and leave without asking what was needed.

- I was not shown how to order food. The device was out of my reach. When I  asked, I was always put on hold due to other demands on staff I believe.

- In my opinion, food was inedible. I had a bowl of cornflakes and a yoghurt for breakfast, then nothing, each day for the 7 days I was there. I lie, the cheese and crackers were great.

- The noise levels were intolerable, between patient bells going off, (in other hospitals they have a system that makes a small ding and then a light goes on outside the room and the bell stops) rather than constantly booming till patient attended to. This could be some time, the med door slamming every few mins, noise from staff room plus the constant screaming and swearing and racist comments of one patient. It really was torture and resulted in spasmodic sleep. At one point there were 6 visitors and 2 children visiting them. Based on my observations, all foul-mouthed and arguing with each other. I was frightened.

- The person who collects blood, came into the room speaking on the phone -I believe to their butcher ...ordering lamb shanks... they were on the ph whilst taking blood.

Some good things.✔

A Fremantle Dr visited during the time the room was packed. I asked her to stay as I was scared, I felt these folk were really rough and sounded volatile all the time. She did and took on co-ordination of discharge for me. She kept me informed and was respectful and supportive. She arranged COVID passes for lockdown borders. I felt she made a difference.

Thank goodness for the students.

Some nurses tried their best but were obviously run off their feet in my opinion.

In closing..In short ...Based on my experience, I would not return to FSH if my life depended on it. The stay was in the main traumatic. I even have bad dreams about the experience.

Please pass this on to the CEO. I do not want platitudes in a reply. 

Tell me what action is being taken.

I am sending a copy of this to the Health Minister.


Response from Neil Doverty, Executive Director, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group, South Metropolitan Health Service 2 months ago
Neil Doverty
Executive Director, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group,
South Metropolitan Health Service
Submitted on 21/07/2021 at 15:11
Published on Care Opinion at 15:12

picture of Neil Doverty

Dear cepheussf58,

Your post, although containing some compliments towards a couple of our doctors, for the most part contains serious allegations which must be properly investigated.

I am not providing platitudes; but as Care Opinion is anonymous, if you do want the circumstances surrounding your stay properly investigated we need to know who you are and details of your stay. If you forwarded your complaint to the Minister for Health, as you indicate you have, the Ministerial process will require this anyway.

To get the investigation commenced please contact Patient and Family Liaison on 6152 4013 (Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm).

We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Neil Doverty

Group Executive Director

Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group

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