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"My spouse's admission experience"

About: Lyell McEwin Hospital

(as a relative),

During my spouse’s last admission, I recall a trainee nurse disconnected the HPN when I wasn’t watching. It seemed to me they actually disconnected it by removing the one-link but not shutting off the line. A few minutes later I saw blood everywhere, hit the panic button and shut off the PN valve. OK so the nurses tried to correct the error by installing a new one-link line but had blood in the screw. When I saw the blood in the screw joint, I felt it was not acceptable. I recall they didn’t like it but put on a new one-link which also had blood in the screw joint. I felt I had to get them to put some saline into the line so that when they attempted it for what I recall was the 3rd time, the line would be clean of blood.

I mentioned this to a staff member who I believe said they were one of the seniors in charge, I recall they said to me that they had considered possible problems and that the nurses may need some more education on the general subject, so they had organized someone to come down and give a talk on it. My word- I believe the speaker would have been speaking to nurses who were available at the time, always assuming that no patients would have had the need for a nurse- unlike needing a bed pan or anything, which I believe would come first. I believe it also assumes that there is only one shift for the 24 hours or that they would explain in full detail to all the other nurses on handover. I could believe that if I like. Based on my experience, I call that systemic ignorance.

In my opinion, the problem with ignorance is that the ignorant do not realise that they are ignorant. In one case, a nurse came in to do something which involved the PN line. I recall they walked in holding several items in their gloved hands and proceeded to work on the PN line. I asked if they would re-clean their hands and I felt they were insulted. I recall the nurse said that they had just washed their hands not 5 minutes ago and that they were thoroughly clean. I wonder how I am supposed to protect my spouse against nurses who seem to me to not understand aseptic and feel insulted if I ask them to do something different. Well, my spouse survived.

During the second admission, my spouse was unable to get O2 breathing normal air. I got the ambulance to take them to a different hospital. They were unable to control my spouse’s blood pressure or O2 levels and got the helicopter to take my spouse to ICU in Lyell Mc. I found they were great until they could not find a vein for a cvc in the right arm so they stuck it in an artery. In transferring my spouse to the ward, the line came out unnoticed, and the right arm started to swell and pain. I wonder why the heart kept pumping out the blood. I suppose that being on Clopidogrel, maybe didn’t help. So, my spouse gets into the ward.

After the last episode I was happy for my spouse to miss out on HPN for the few days rather than risk having their PN line infected by the nursing staff. Especially as I was not permitted to pass the main entrance under any circumstance.

In the ward, someone comes in to do an ECG and I recall proceeds to stick a terminal on the dressing– literally on the dressing. When they had finished, they ripped off the terminal with the dressing still stuck on and the Hickman catheter was left dangling. It just happened that a nurse who was walking past I believe thought to check what’s happening and came in to investigate. The nurse was about to stick the dressing back down having seen something like that in the past. My spouse asked the nurse to use Chlorhex but I recall the nurse said that they did not have Chlorhexidine on the ward but they cleaned it with what they had and put two layers of Tagerderm on the exposed Hickman entry point.

I question if I should I be concerned. I am very pleased that my spouse got the O2 they needed but for the rest, I would call it a disgrace to the public health system. If my spouse is not infected now, I feel we will be lucky, but I question what will happen next time. I could do with some advice as to how to proceed with what I believe is this level of incompetence. Not allowing me in to supervise (covid) and then I believe doing the job wrong and threatens my spouse’s life. Based on my experience, when they don’t like to have errors pointed out they can become aggressive.

Other things – I recall one nurse said that the doctor had disallowed my spouse to be given Carafate. The doctor happened along very soon after and I challenged them. I asked the doctor by what authority did they decide that my spouse should not be given Carafate, medication that had been approved by another doctor. I felt the doctor in turn became quite upset and brought in the medical charts where they had approved Carafate. So, I question if I am asking too much of the system.

The hospital let my spouse go with a saturation of 88% on one single occasion. Within 4 hours, they were ambulanced back to the other hospital where it was discussed about managing the lung infection.

In my opinion, someone needs to do something. I believe the system is stressed and it is so widespread and on so many levels with paperwork which I believe confuses nurses, nurses who are too stressed out, I believe to do the job properly etc. The system is so inflexible it does not allow me to attend to my spouse when I believe the nurses are not qualified to deal with aseptic situations. I believe they go into it to with a sincere desire to be of help and service, into a system which seems to destroy their confidence and at the time the patient could be in real danger. I cannot let my spouse become sick or die because someone doesn’t know what to do and doesn’t know that they don’t know.

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Response from Care Opinion Australia 4 months ago
Submitted on 10/01/2022 at 5:36 PM
Published on Care Opinion at 5:36 PM

This response was submitted by Care Opinion Australia on behalf of Northern Adelaide Local Health Network.

Dear triangulumzb56,

The Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN) thanks you for providing feedback about your experience when your spouse was in the Lyell McEwin Hospital and apologies for the distress this has caused for both of you.

NALHN would welcome the opportunity to investigate the issues you have raised, and encourage you to contact the Consumer Engagement Service, either by email or by telephone on 1300 013 988 to discuss your concerns directly with one of their staff.

Kind regards,

Northern Adelaide Local Health Network

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