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"Absurd emergency department experience"

About: Fiona Stanley Hospital / Emergency Department

(as the patient),

At about mid-afternoon recently, while out shopping with my children, I began experiencing horrible constant pelvic pain that had me hunched over and crying in the middle of the shop I was in. I had recently had treatment for a UTI and was concerned it hasn’t gotten rid of the infection.

I attended Fiona Stanley Emergency Department almost immediately.

I’m currently 3 months pregnant so I brought that to the attention of the triage nurse after explaining what brought me in. I was advised there would be a 2-3 hour wait. I sat in pain with my young children in tow for 5 hours before a nurse came to take my vitals and asked me to supply a urine sample. I sat for another hour before being called in.

I was then taken to an exam room, meaning there was only an exam table and a chair. No bed. Still in pain, I was finally given Panadol. A doctor came in and advised that my urine had shown signs of an infection and that they would like to palpate my abdomen and listen to my chest. It was incredibly painful. The doctor said they would arrange for some stronger medication and liaise with their supervisor.

The supervisor came in and without doing any exams to check or to back up what they were saying, began telling me that I was likely having a miscarriage and that there is nothing they can do for it and that I’ll have to follow up with my gp for an ultrasound, but they wanted to consult with gynaecology first. They advised the doctor to do a speculum exam to check if my cervix was closed and if so to send me home and they obgyn clinic would contact me in a few days instead.

I was then given a medication called oxycodone I believe, a medication I have never had before and was not advised of the side effects. The doctor came back and did the speculum exam and determined my cervix is closed and that they’ll be sending me home. I never presented with any pelvic bleeding or described my symptoms to insinuate I thought I was having a miscarriage. I then left. Extremely frustrated.

About 10 minutes into my 30-minute drive home, I began to feel lightheaded, dizzy and disoriented, I was almost home and almost falling asleep at the wheel. Once arriving home I began vomiting and felt very very unwell. I believe this was all a result of the oxycodone. I woke in the morning in just as much pain but now with difficulty urinating. I went and seen my gp who determined that I had a severe bladder infection. 

Started antibiotics immediately. And the baby is perfectly fine. 

I feel completely let down. I was made to feel unimportant and made to sit and wait in pain for such a long period of time. I was then unnecessarily scared into the thought of miscarriage by the supervisor. 

I was unnecessarily given an extremely strong and addictive opioid I had never had before. Was not told any side effects and allowed to leave and drive home. Now fear if will have caused any harm to my baby.

I went through what I felt was this unnecessary experience just to have a very treatable bladder infection which, if I had have listened to their story of how it was a miscarriage, I believe it could have progressed into a further infection to the rest of my urinary system.

Based on this experience, I will never attend Fiona Stanley again. 

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Response from Neil Doverty, Executive Director Emergency and Elective Access, South Metropolitan Health Service 11 months ago
Neil Doverty
Executive Director Emergency and Elective Access,
South Metropolitan Health Service
Submitted on 3/09/2021 at 8:54 AM
Published on Care Opinion at 8:55 AM

picture of Neil Doverty

Dear plustr55,

Thank you for reaching out to us via Care Opinion. The whole experience must have been very distressing for you and your family and I apologise unreservedly.

I was very concerned to read of the poor diagnostic process, the effect of the oxycodone and for the long wait you experienced at our Emergency Department (ED). This is not the level of care I expect our patients to receive. I acknowledge that your experience left you feeling let down and unimportant. All of our patients are very important to us.

It is important that your concerns with the pain management medication are properly investigated and I ask that you contact our Patient and Family Liaison Service on 6152 4013 (Monday to Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm) to facilitate this.

We are currently working on several initiatives to manage demand and improve flow through the ED, which will hopefully lead to shorter wait times in the ED.

I wish you all the best for the remainder of your pregnancy, and welcoming the newest member of your family into the world early next year.

Kind regards,

Neil Doverty

Group Executive Director

Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group

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