How would you feel if this was your daughter?
The next time someone assures you that hospitals don’t need to improve their services, ask them to read this story.
A women we will call ‘Maree’ in her mid thirties had lived with Multiple Sclerosis for eight years.
She knew that her condition was slowly progressing.
However, she tried to lived a normal life, with minimal disruption.
She also knew that when the disease suddenly flared up she would need to go to a hospital and received correct medical treatment.
So when Maree suddenly developed severe leg pains, stiffness and lack of coordination, she knew what to do. She called a taxi and went straight to an emergency department.
She arrived there before ten in the morning. It wasn’t busy. There there she waited.
No planning, no coordination, no care
Shifting deckchairs on the Titanic.
The Emergency doctors rang her regular neurologist. He could not find her history.
By this time Maree had passed the ‘four hour waiting period’. So the Emergency Department Management ordered she be moved to different parts of the department.
This would prevent her from showing up on the hospital ‘over the four hour waiting time’ computer list.
She was moved from one cubical to another, all around the large, winding emergency area.
Avoiding large government fines for keeping patients in Emergency for over four hours, is a full time job. The results can be that patients get shunted around without actually receiving a diagnosis and treatment.
The Emergency doctors did not refer her to one of the hospital own neurologists.
They also didn’t consider assessing and treating her themselves.
The standard treatment for a sudden worsening of Multiple Sclerosis, a large daily dose of intravenous steroids, and some pain relief.
Nursing staff did not even offer Maree assistance with toileting. This was despite the fact that she came in with crutches and had difficulty walking.
The food trolly came and went, and in the rush of transferring her around the Department, Maree was not offered any food or drink.
By ten o’clock that night a ward bed was finally found.
Pushed up to the ward with no plan
Emergency Management was delighted to ‘move her out’.
Maree was taken up to a neurology ward, hungry, thirsty, needing to go to the toilet and in severe pain. No plan had been organised for her. No steroids had been given.
She had just been left waiting for over twelve hours, with no plan, no treatment and no care.