Not enough care for those who are vulnerable

(as a relative),

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About: Bunbury Hospital / Emergency Department

My elderly parent had terrible back pain and was unable to stand up.

It took the ambulance over 3 hours to attend. We were unable to take to my parent hospital as the pain was so bad they couldn't move.

When in the Emergency Department (ED) my parent was asked a lot of questions which they often didn't hear properly or was in too much pain to comprehend.

My parent was given pain killers and I was told I could take my parent home after a CT scan. This was late in the evening and my parent was still unable to walk or move hardly at all.

I told the doctor I was going home, and was leaving my parent there. My parent was in no fit state to go home and I certainly couldn't have got my parent to walk let alone get in a car. The doctor said hospital was not a good place for my parent as there was a lot of infectious people.

I rang the hospital the next morning and was told I could pick my parent up late afternoon.

When I went to pick my parent up they were a lot better, but very drugged up. My parent couldn't walk much so I had to put them in a wheel chair to get them to the car.

I took my parent home and with an hour of being home my parent was crying in agony and unable to move again and wetting themself.

I presume nothing showed up on the CT scan? And if nothing showed up why was my parent not given an MRI? There must have been a reason for so much pain.

After over a week at home in agony and constant wetting themself we took my parent to her GP.

Please note my parent has a long history of back and bladder problems.

The GP was instantly very concerned that my parent may have Cauda Equina syndrome. We were given a letter of referral to take to the ED for an MRI.

We thought my parent would have been taken straight in and at least made comfortable. But my parent had to sit for over 5 hours before they were attended to.

Once in my parent was taken for an MRI which was sent through to another hospital. 

The results were devastating.

My parent has Cauda Equina syndrome and because of my parent's age, damage to spine and most importantly the length of time my parent was left before the MRI, nothing can be done.

Apparently, there is only a window of a few hours before the nerves die. If the doctor suspected this why so long before for an MRI?

We were told my parent will spend the rest of their life in a wheelchair. And with a permanent catheter. Most of the time my parent can't feel their legs or feet. So the last few years of my parent's life will be miserable. 


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Responses to this story

Response from Adam Coulson, Director of Emergency Medicine, Bunbury Hospital, WACHS South West

Dear sambarq97,

Thank you for taking the time to feedback on the care your parent received during their recent attendance to the Bunbury Hospital Emergency Department.

We take your feedback very seriously and would like to thoroughly investigate your concerns and the issues you raise. Please, could you or your parent make contact with our Consumer Liaison Officer on 9722 1521 so that we can take your parent’s full details and thoroughly investigate their care.

Yours Sincerely

Dr. Adam Coulson

Director of Emergency Medicine

  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful