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"Child has healthy their appendix removed without ultrasound check"

About: Bunbury Hospital / Emergency Department Bunbury Hospital / Surgical Ward

(as a parent/guardian),

What Happened:

* My child (who is less than 10 years old) had acute pain in their stomach at night and to double-check it was not too serious, they were taken to Bunbury ED.
* About 4 hours later, my child went through to be seen by a doctor.  
* Initially they were informed that an ultrasound would be used to check if it was appendicitis or if it were swollen lymph nodes.  
* Hours later a new doctor arrived with 4 others behind them and stated that my child will have the operation, and there was no need for an ultrasound. The doctor requested that the operation be open surgery. My partner noted at the time some seemingly surprised looks from the other 4 onlooking staff, but none said anything.  
* The next morning, my child was admitted to the children's ward.
* Going into surgery, my child, although extremely hungry and tired,  was showing their happy side, laughing with the staff and playing jokes.  It was noted by many that my child did not appear to be unwell.  
* Just before surgery, one of the surgeons saw the report and stated that we do not do open surgery for this procedure we do keyhole - so thankful (in a sense) that my child was not carved open.
* After the keyhole surgery, they were moved back to the children's ward in the afternoon.
* About 2 hours later, the doctor came to inform us that it appears the appendix was not damaged, but they were extremely pleased to tell us repeatedly that the good news is that my child cannot now have appendicitis. The doctor stated that the issue was most likely Lymph nodes and not to worry because these heal by themselves without any medication required (so of course a person wonders why did my child go through the operation?)!
* My child is of course now extremely tender and unable to participate in many upcoming events in the next fortnight and battling to understand why this has taken place without evidence of it needing to be done. 

My Feelings: 
* Thankful - Firstly all the nursing staff and the surgeons we saw at Bunbury Hospital are extremely polite, helpful and make, in my opinion, any child's stay at the hospital the best it can be under any circumstances.  So on that view, I feel extremely pleased and fortunate to have a hospital such as this so close to our residence.
* Confusion - Not being a person of medicine myself, but hearing from many staff both before and after the operation from within the hospital that the normal procedure is to first have an ultrasound and it not taking place makes me of course ponder the question: "Would an ultra-sound have given the doctors a clearer indication as to whether or not surgery was required?"
* Anger - That I feel deep inside that although many who know more than I about the procedure and were present at the time did not speak up and help us (unknowing patients) to avoid a child going through such a long and painful, unnecessary process. 
* Sadness - at seeing my child go through this ordeal where it could possibly have been prevented. To see them now in such pain. 

I would dearly like to have some answers to ease my feelings on the matter. 

Kind regards


Response from Dr Sergey Bibikov, Director of Medical Services, Bunbury Hospital, WACHS - South West last month
Dr Sergey Bibikov
Director of Medical Services, Bunbury Hospital,
WACHS - South West
Submitted on 01/09/2021 at 11:57
Published on Care Opinion at 11:59

Dear browserrb39,

Thank you for sharing your story with us on Care Opinion. I’m so sorry to hear about your child’s recent experience at Bunbury Hospital. It is always a very worrying time for parents when they have to bring a child to an Emergency Department and I sincerely apologise to you and your family if we caused additional stress at an already difficult time.

Even if there was a good reason for changes to advice about the need for an ultrasound or surgical approach, I know that when you think there is a plan and then it changes, this can really undermine your confidence. The different perspectives provided to you by members of the medical team must have been unsettling for you and I am very sorry that this caused you and your family further unease. I am also very sorry if the doctor made inappropriate and offhand comments concerning your child’s operation, which has left you feeling angry and sad.

We’d like the opportunity to talk to you more about the thinking behind these changes. I understand that you have been in touch with a member of our Customer Liaison Service and I am pleased that you are considering taking part in a meeting with us so that we can listen and respond to your concerns. I would greatly appreciate being able to speak or meet with you so that I can understand more about what happened and commence a thorough investigation of what took place. If you are happy to, please call Amelia from our Customer Liaison Officer with your contact details and I will be in touch very soon. Amelia’s phone number is 9722 1521.

If you ever feel you are not being listened to or helped when you or a loved one is receiving medical treatment in hospital, we have an avenue for you to raise your concerns. This process is known as CARE Call and empowers patients and their loved ones to escalate any concerns they may have regarding their care to a senior member of the health service who will take action to address the concerns. The person who receives your call will keep you updated as to what action has been taken. For example, they may contact the treating doctor or other members of the healthcare team to ensure you or the person you are concerned about is assessed and any necessary changes to the treatment plan are carried out. Please feel free to call the CARE call number - 1800 744 059 – which is operational across all Southwest hospitals.

I would like to assure you that we value your feedback and will be sharing your story with our medical teams to ensure they are reminded about the importance of good communication and consistency of care with all of our patients and their families.

Thank you for acknowledging the polite and helpful nursing staff and the surgeons. I will make sure to pass your kind words on to them.

Again, I sincerely apologise for the distress we have caused you and your child and hope that they are making a speedy recovery.

I do hope we hear from you soon.

Yours sincerely

Dr Sergey Bibikov

Director Medical Service

Bunbury Hospital

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