Well behaved women rarely make history

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Well behaved women rarely make history

This bracelet from BE Bangled  is special because it defines the time recently when my husband was ill. A dispute arose about procedures of admission to a private hospital. Both the GP and ambos were adamant we had to go via the public emergency system as it was an emergency scenario.

I remembered reading that there was a capacity to transfer directly to a specific private hospital if certain specifications were met.  My partner’s specialist is linked to the cardio- vascular unit at the private hospital where he had previously been an inpatient. I argued that the delay in going via the public system was detrimental but I was so stressed I could not remember the details.

I was argued down by both the GP and the ambos. I was frightened, stressed and my agitation levels were rising. I knew I was getting to the point where my behaviour would be deemed inappropriate. I acquiesced because I knew if I didn’t I would be requested to leave the clinic.

It turns out I was correct and in this particular circumstances there was an opportunity for direct emergency admission to the private hospital that also has a Cardiac Cath lab.

The five-hour delay in admission via the public hospital system resulted in additional medical issues that should have been avoided.

There is also the issue that I was in no fit state to be driving a vehicle and ambulance chasing from one hospital to another and given the parking situation at and distance travelled to the public hospital. I hate to think what my blood pressure was like as I am hypertensive at the best of times. In fairness, I was asked if I would like to travel in the ambulance. I declined due to dubious public transport availability and  I did not know how long my car could be left at the car park. The distances involved between home – clinic – hospital A – hospital B -clinic – home, involved a round trip of approx 150kms.

When the situation had calmed down and I had time I checked the private hospital’s web-site. The web-site confirmed my information additionally, the information was verified with the hospital.

The Clinic and Ambos were unaware of this emergency admission plan for cardiac patients. I explained my concerns about the lack of knowledge to the Cardiac Care Unit and it was evident their education program had not been as effective as it could have been.

The result being the hospital contacted the clinic and spoke directly to the Nurse Manager and provided full details and have also contacted the ambulance service.  They are now revisiting their educational strategy.

I am eternally grateful to the clinic, doctors, nurses and ambulance officers involved in my partner’s care. They focussed on him, they were compassionate and caring and did their very best to optimise treatment on the day.  They undoubtedly saved my partner’s life.

However, the five-hour delay in admittance to the private hospital was questionable. It would have taken one phone call to confirm the information I was providing.

This delay should not have occurred. It resulted in an unnecessary admittance to an already overstretched public hospital system and the result the unavailability for five hours of an emergency hospital bed and an unnecessary patient transfer.

I do understand public hospitals do a great job and are under the pump financially and working against physically overwhelming odds. This is why we choose to pay private health insurance, something we cannot really afford. But, because of situations such as these, we believe it to be necessary. Specific inaction by medical staff resulted in a situation occurring that should not have occurred and a medical event that should not have happened. A problem overlooked due to lack of resources or experience.  A situation that was detrimental to my partner’s well-being and impacted on recovery times.

I now carry a print-out with me of this information for my own peace of mind. If as result of this experience the next person who meets the criteria is not shunted around the system and is effectively transferred to the appropriate hospital, it was worth not being as well behaved as I should have been and perhaps I will have rewritten history.

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About lindandsam

Linda is a poet and writer. As a mature aged student, she completed a Bachelor of Creative Writing and is now a postgraduate student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). Published in the USC Storyboard, 2015. Self-published ‘Where is Gedhum Choekyi Nyima?’ For the Tibetan Children’s Village, Dharamsala, 1997. She lives in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and shares her life with her partner and their four-legged fur babies Hugo and Tashi-la..

2 responses »

  1. It was and I was close to being asked to leave the clinic. I have since made sure that the Clinic is re-educating ALL its staff and the Hospital is following up with an updated and more focused education plan. The Public Hospital Cardiac Emergency unit was also unaware and I have raised this issue with them via a formal complaint. There is also the side issue of how this impacted on my physical and psychological well-being. The Hospital is also following up with the Ambulance officers. I should not have driven but I did not know what time I would be leaving the hospital or which hospital. Taxi fares from either of the hospitals would have run to $100’s of dollars for the one trip especially at night or early morning and I don’t have that sort of money. So I drove and possibly put myself and others at risk. I have to repeat that those who treated him did everything within their power to ensure his well being and he would have died without their help. However, the delay was unnecessary and he had stabilised by the time he was admitted to the public hospital all they did was monitor his condition and could not start treatment as he was being transferred and we had to wait for patient transfer as he was no longer an emergency. As a result, he became dehydrated and was imminent danger of renal failure. They did not set up an IV for fluids even though they had a line in and noted they had difficulty drawing bloods and establishing the IV. It was as if the attitude was “he’s being transferred” no further treatment required. First thing they did on admittance at the private hospital was to set up IV fluids

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