Litany of failure: horror hospital stories emerge
- Family forced to clean son's 'putrid' room
- Hospital lost brain tumour patient
- Transferred heart attack victim locked out
- Infectious patients abandoned in corridors
Patients at Royal North Shore and their families have hit out over the treatment they have received at the hospital.
Even though he had a name tag on him they sent him off somewhere and he stumbled through the cemetery and went through the building works and several hours later the police found him on the Pacific Highway
In a letter in response to a story in today's Herald, Wolf Schumacher said he developed a severe wound infection.
Horror stories ... Sydney's Royal North Shore hospital. Photo: Bob Pearce
He wrote: On 12 December 2011 around 3PM I tripped, fell and broke my right ankle, while walking from a building onto a footpath in North Sydney. Ambulance came and rushed me to RNSH. I had to wait and was operated on that night at 2AM and fixed with a cast. While the staff on my ward were lovely, they were also overworked, sometimes working in consecutive shifts. Sometimes during the night I overheard staff shouting with one another and maybe management, what apparently patients were not supposed to hear.
Right before Christmas I was released and had my GP looking after me. It turned out that I had attracted a severe wound infection in hospital, which had to be treated with large doses of antibiotics.
On 6 January I had to go back to RNSH for a scheduled review, where I was told to stay for another few days. I stayed overnight and decided to leave the hospital after noticing dirt and other patients' blood stained dressings on the ward's toilet floor. My wife and I decided that I should leave and go back to the care of our GP. Interestingly, my GP to this day didn't receive the hospital's documentation from my first and second stay. The hospital also didn't advise to remove an operational screw in my ankle, which gave me a lot of pain and which was recently done at the Prince of Wales hospital, which provided a much better service to me than RNSH ever did.
'HE WAS TERRIFIED'
"I'm a nurse and I've been a nurse for 30 years and I was just absolutely appalled by the filthy conditions at the hospital," she said.
"He couldn't wait to get out of there, he was terrified he was going to pick up some infection. The toilet had faeces and urine and obviously it was never cleaned … or certainly need to be cleaned a lot more."
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CONFUSED, DYING HUSBAND LOST
Another caller, Helen, told how the hospital had failed to look after her husband - who just hours earlier was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour that was confusing and disorienting him - when he had wandered off from the private North Shore Hospital and turned up at the public hospital.
"To say this was one of the worst days in my life is an understatement. He has since died. At no point did we get an apology.
"I had not slept all night. We had told our children that he was going to die, and I had just come home having had no sleep and was called back to say they couldn't find him," she said.
"He left the private [hospital] went to the public and even though he had a name tag on him, they sent him off somewhere and he stumbled through the cemetery and went through the building works and several hours later the police found him on the Pacific Highway.
"He was now covered in cuts and grazes all over his head where he was meant to be having his neurosurgery operation the next day for the biopsy.
"It was me that found him despite having all the security from both hospitals. I found him in the ambulance bay being brought in by the police and the ambulance."
HEART ATTACK VICTIM LOCKED OUT
Alan was transferred to Royal North Shore after having a heart attack in Gosford, but when his ambulance arrived they found the emergency department locked.
"They locked the doors and we were wandering the wards of the hospital trying to find out where we were meant to go … the nurses there were expressing there weren't enough cleaners, there weren't enough staff," he said.
"I don't know when your last experience was at Royal North Shore if ever but you walk through this hospital and there are enormous black patches where they have switched out the lights. It's almost like a ghost town."
NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner, declined to speak to the media today but told Parliament in question time this afternoon that the government was "determined that patient safety will not be compromised".
"I have a great deal of confidence in the negotiation that is going on behalf of the Ministry for Health involving discussions with the management, nurses and doctors and others at the northern Sydney local health district," she said.
"I have great confidence in the action plan being developed to help resolve this issue.
"This is a contractual dispute ... a legal dispute and all proper care is being taken to address that issue."
- with Anna Patty