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"My operation was cancelled"

About: Geraldton Hospital / Day Surgery

(as the patient),

I broke my Clavicle just over 6 months ago. It was displaced, the surgeon said that it needed surgery but they wouldn't operate due to me being a Cardiac Patient I believe. Hopefully, it would heal on its own.

3.5 months after the accident there was no healing & I was told they would operate. I could go on the Perth or Geraldton (Gtn) waiting list. When the choice of a bone graft or using a synthetic was discussed, I told the surgeon of my MCAS diagnosis. Obviously, because of my complicated medical history, Perth would've been an easier choice. On paper, my health looks terrible, but even though I am in my 50s, I am very fit and eat healthily. I actually broke my Clavicle riding my mountain bike. I work out 6 times a week and garden most days. My heart issues have been very stable for some time now. I saw my Cardiologist, had an Echo which was good, and was given the all-clear. I also contacted my Immunologist who wanted it done asap so we could then focus on the new treatment I was using.

I booked my pre-op appt immediately, so I could see the anaesthetist early, and find out if they would allow me to be operated on in Gtn. At the appt, I provided all the information about my existing conditions and the medication I was on. I saw the Head Anaesthetist (HA) who I believe was happy with the documentation, and that I was fit, don't smoke or drink. I queried the possibility of the anaesthetist doing my operation refusing, would the HA decision override that, or could the HA take over if that happened? I was assured that wouldn't happen.

I rang the hospital a couple of weeks before, as I had not been notified of who my anaesthetist was. I was told, as I recalled, they were short-staffed and therefore the roster had not been done. However, I would have one of the consultants at the hospital, not a GP. I then asked if I could have an appt prior to the op but was told the hospital didn't do that, I had already been given the go-ahead, it was not necessary.

Since breaking my clavicle I've been seeing a Physio at the hospital weekly to keep the pain under control. I can only sleep in two positions now, it was only one position for a very long time (I even bought a very expensive bed that the head raises up so I could sleep upright for the first few months) therefore I've been experiencing extreme pain at times caused by my lack of shoulder mobility. The Physio treats the symptoms, not the cause, as they said they are just trying to keep me going until the operation. The physio has given me a lot of exercises, that I do religiously, but they have stated that some of the pain I experience will not be resolved until the shoulder is fixed and I can begin other specific exercises. (I would like to use this opportunity to say how wonderful the Physio dept has been, I cannot commend them enough, but I do feel I am using up valuable resources by having to attend there for such a lengthy time.) 

Right from the start of the injury, I have been very frugal with painkillers as unfortunately, they cause me to be constipated. Because of how long I have had to cope with the injury I ended up becoming very constipated a couple of months ago. With the advice of the Dr I have taken excessive medications and used enemas & colonics to try and get on top of the problem before the operation. This has been very challenging to cope with and expensive. I believe this has also been a source of back pain.

The day before my scheduled operation my back flared up and by the time I got to the hospital, I could hardly walk or move. My pain level was at a 10. The nurses were wonderful and tried their best to make me as comfortable as possible. I refused pain killers not wanting to exasperate the constipation problem & knowing I'd be given enough medication after the operation.

I was taken through to the holding area next to theatre where the anaesthetist came and spoke to me. I believe they hadn't known what MCAS was & upon looking it up was concerned I may react to certain drugs. I felt they insinuated that I had not told the HA about it at my previous appt. (I was later assured that everything was well documented on my file). Another anaesthetist also came and said they were trying to contact Immunology to ask about the drugs. Apparently the HA I saw previously was away and the one taking over tried to get it to go ahead if the surgeon could do the operation in under an hour. My immunologist did ring back, (I spoke to them shortly after) but apparently, they had already decided that they were not going to operate in Gtn, I had to go to Perth. To add insult to injury, I believe the person next to me broke their Clavicle 2 days earlier and I also believe they went in ahead of me!

Back at the ward, the nurses called the person from Surgical Services who spoke to the team hoping they could get the relevant information and reschedule. The answer was no. We both were told the surgeon's referral would explain my dilemma, but the referral didn't even say how long ago I'd broken it or that I'd already been on the waiting list 2.5 months.

If I'd been told no by the HA I would now have been on the waiting list in Perth for nearly 3 months. I don't think I should have to start my wait all over again. I have been told over & over that I did everything I could to ensure it went ahead & this shouldn't have happened. My life, work & leisure, are greatly impacted by the pain & inconvenience.


Response from Derek Fraser, Operations Manager Geraldton Hospital, WA Country Health Service 2 months ago
Derek Fraser
Operations Manager Geraldton Hospital,
WA Country Health Service
Submitted on 23/08/2021 at 08:57
Published on Care Opinion at 08:58

picture of Derek Fraser

Dear bonanzaey57,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us to share your experience of planning surgery at Geraldton Hospital. I am sincerely sorry that your surgery was cancelled as you had been very pro-active to ensure your procedure could go ahead in Geraldton. I understand you are now waiting for surgery in Perth.

I am aware Nathalie Pass Coordinator of Nursing for Surgical Services has been in contact with you and Nathalie has directly raised your concerns and care requirements with myself and Dr Katy Templeman, the Director of Medical Services at the Geraldton Hospital. Together we will continue to work to facilitate your access to surgery in Perth.

I am also available to meet with you but appreciate you have already been in communication with Nathalie to address your concerns and may prefer to continue this contact. My contact details are phone 9956 2369 or email me at:

Once again, I am sorry that your surgery did not progress in Geraldton and apologise for the distress and frustration you have experienced. I really appreciate that you have reached out to share your feedback and your commitment to assist us to improve our service.

Kind regards

Derek Fraser

Operations Manager Geraldton Hospital

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