Hospital Care? Dehydration and Surgery!

Posted on July 11, 2008. Filed under: health, wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Today I have decided that although this is a natural health and wellbeing blog I am going to have a rant about hospital care in Australia! As a mother I am just a little upset, make that pretty #@*%# mad!!!!

My son injured his hand in a work accident on Wednesday just after lunch, a bad accident in an altercation with a power saw, the kind that are used in furniture factories. So first of all it took the ambulance 45 minutes to get there (not life threatening enough), although he was bleeding from a cut artery.

Then he gets to the hospital and waits…. and waits…. and waits…. they clean up the wound (the new little nurse nearly faints and has to leave the room), while my daughter-in-law helps the doctors to clean and dress the wound! He will need major surgery to save the use of his hand (his working hand, his right hand the one he uses most) and then we wait…. and wait…. and wait…. my daughter-in-law and I are asked to go home, my son is still in emergency waiting to be given a bed, or surgery or something and we try to sleep.

The next morning a at 8.30am, I get a call from my daughter-in-law to say that my son now needs to go to the major city Private hospital and Private surgeon, a 100km drive… would I be able to drive him as there are no ambulances available and she is newly pregnant and not feeling well enough to cope with city traffic. It takes until 11.45 for Workcover to agree and for all the red tape to be ok’d and off we set for the city. 1.30 we arrive and they take off with my son saying that they will let us know when it is all over. So off we go to wait in the cafe…. and we wait and wait and wait… until we (my daughter-in-law) and I decide that this is just silly. It is 4.30 and no word what-so-ever… we are getting worried.

We feel like Indiana Jones trying to find a piece of lost treasure as we ask at least 15 people where to find my son and we trapse all over the hospital until… finally we find him still waiting for his surgery. We go in, even though we are not supposed to be in that area, we are now at the stage where we do not care about hospital rules my son needs an advocate. At 6.30 we are told he will still have to wait and I get to my, I’m his mother and I’m not putting up with this anymore stage… and this is a fancy private hospital and fancy private surgeon.

“Do any of you realise that my son is fading away, he is in shock and has had no food or fluids since last night at 6pm and that it has been over 24 hours!?? He is totally dehydrated and weak and has on top of his considerable pain a migraine from dehydration!?? Why hasn’t anyone given him fluids you must have know several times today that he would be waiting for long enough to give him some fluids even if it was via his canula??!!” The nurse was quite taken aback and acted surprised,

“He hasn’t had anything since last night?”

Me. “No and now he is no shape to go into his very needed surgery.”

“Well, they will give him saline in surgery.”

Me. “That’s not going to help him now.”

“Oh, well I’ll see what I can do.”

She came back with half a glass of apple juice. He waited another 2 and 1/2 hours and finally over 32 hours after his hand went through the saw my son, who will need his hand to work for the rest of his life, went into surgery.

My son tells me that when the surgeon takes of the original bandages from the night before which no-one had touched in the meantime, he swore (the doctor and my son), one from pain – to be expected and the other from the state of my sons hand – not very reassuring, as the botched handling of his wound at the public hospital the night before was obviously not to his liking. He told my son that the hospital emergency room would be hearing from him later.

So we are finally home again, my son with over 50 stitches in his hand not including the inner microsurgery, and all of us tired and still in shock from the accident and the waiting and the handling of the entire episode. We have to wait for at least 10 days to find out how much use my son has of his hand, and so we are waiting…

That is the state of the healthcare in this country – NOT OK, not by a longshot. Spend some of that precious surplus and sort it out, our sons, daughters and parents are the people of this country so healthcare needs to be a priority!

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