My Mum's Kidney Operation

(as a relative),


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About: Box Hill Hospital / Community Nursing Box Hill Hospital / Urology

My mum had gone into surgery to get an abnormally large and complicated kidney out. The doctor had said it would take about 3 hours and they said they will definitely contact us when it was done. We waited for a while and heard nothing. Obviously we were getting nervous, as from what we understood, it shouldn't be taking this long. But I told myself, they said they will call we will just wait. So 10-12 hours passed and we give up, so I call instead, eventually the nurses let me know - oh she's been out for a bit you can come down if you like - so we did. I was with her when they moved her from ICU to a couple of levels up. While transferring her from one bed to another they grabbed at where her surgery was and was moving her side to side while she was screaming, it was horrific. I have seen and learnt how to move someone properly and believe that is not how it is done. Mum was crying and she never does . Anyway the next day arrives and I come to see her. I have a chat with her and she tells me that they made her have a shower without any help. It was literally the morning after her surgery which was late evening the night before. They didn't help her get out of bed when she could barely hold herself up, they weren't there in case she fell, (they had signs for her as a falls hazard) and when she finally gets herself to the bathroom she realises she has no towels. So she had to venture out to try and find someone to get towels and when she did they still didn't help her! omg! 

That day I stayed with her and every time she needed pain relief it seemed like it was a huge ordeal to get a nurse to attend to her. It would be an average of asking 4 times until someone told someone else to do it. Mum was allowed pain relief every 4 hours from memory and she would go on 6 hours without anything. She was truly in agony and I couldn't do anything about it. Seeing mum in that amount pain has truly scared me. That's my mum ! I had waited that whole day and night to try and get hold of the doctor or anyone who knew what had happened to mum to tell us how it went and if everything was okay, but no one showed up. I had given up at about 11pm and went home.

The next day I arrived early and saw mum to have extremely dry lips and was struggling to talk. She seemed very drowsy and just not well. I had asked her when was the last time you had water and she had said the day of the operation (2 days ago). I understand they put in drips to hydrate her that way, but it did not seem like she was hydrated at all! So I got a hold of one of the nurses and asked her if Mum was allowed to eat or drink yet? She said I will go find out and be back. We waited an hour, still nothing. I got another nurse, asked her, she said the same thing. Waited half an hour and no one was to be seen. So I called the nurse button and asked the nurse can she get my mum some water as I didn't know where to go for it. She said sure I'll be right back. She wasn't.

Another change over of nurses happen, I ask another nurse can you please get mum water she's extremely thirsty and we have asked before already? The nurse said I'll check if she can have anything. So we wait....again. We give up and I go out looking for another nurse. I get to the closest desks where I see a number of nurses, I try to grab the attention of any of them and they all ignore me. I'm standing there for 10 minutes and nothing. So I go to another desk where there is one lady, I ask her for water and she asks what number my mum's room is. I tell her and she says she can't help me, I need to see someone down there and points towards the desk I was already at. I walk down there and get hold of a nurse walking and tell her can I please have water for my mum, she is really suffering. The nurse finally goes to the kitchen area and gives me a cup and a jug - Finally! - and its okay. When mum comes more around to it she's asked about her tablets and whether she has had them or not as it's important. I get the nurse button again and call it. The nurse arrives, looks in mum's cupboards, can't find it and says she will look for it . Another nurse changeover happens, we ask that nurse for the tablets, she tries to look for them and couldn't find them, but assured mum that it's okay, mum will be given the medication from the hospital anyway. I think, this is just beyond now.

That day (day 2) they are already trying to get mum walking. My mum isn't a young lady and seeing this seemed just so rushed and pushed and wrong. Mum was in hospital for this second stay for four days before they said she could go home. After getting a kidney taken out and not being able to walk she didn't think she was ready and none of us thought so either.

We didn't get told how to look after mum, we never met the surgeon, the doctor or anyone who could tell us what had gone on. They had lost mum's tablets until the last day where they found them in one of the trolleys one of the nurses roll around in the corridor. They didn't check mum's cut or change the dressing the whole time mum was in there. Nor did they tell us when or how to take care of it. Mum was given next to nothing for pain relief. I felt she was treated so rushed and so nastily the whole time. Mum was also given surgery food and drink when she is diabetic. The list could go on, it was utterly appalling and I feel for anyone older than my mum or someone who doesn't have someone there to ask for things that they need. Thinking about it makes me feel sick. They kept her in longer for a stent (8 days). But discharged her earlier after an abnormally large kidney removal surgery. I am so mortified and mum already struggled getting the nerve to go to hospital, hence the need for the surgery. My dad is due to have an operation soon and to be honest I am terrified of it now. 

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Responses to this story

Response from David Plunkett, Chief Executive, Eastern Health

picture of David Plunkett

Dear This isnt right

Thank you so much for sharing feedback regarding yours and your mother's experience having surgery at Box Hill Hospital. I would like to offer you my sincerest apologies for your experience as it was considerably below what I would expect to occur for any patient.

As you mention there are so many aspects we need to learn from and do better with, that I would like to invite you to make contact with our Patient Relations Advisors within the Eastern Health Centre for Patient Experience by contacting them via either emailing or by calling 1800 EASTERN. Should you wish to contact me, I would be very pleased to hear from you via email at

Through making contact we will be able to both maintain your privacy, but also undertake a full review of your mother's care and experience. I would sincerely hope that your father's experience can be a more positive one.

Again This isnt right, I would like to apologise for your experience and hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards


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