Mixed Experiences

A former nurse in her 60s, JCM had varied experiences in her 15 days at SHDH, but mostly she was really pleased with all that happened – especially
the operation which cut the cancer from her body.

When we rang, to see how she was feeling, JCM told us she couldn’t fault the whole theatre experience. “I had ample information about what was happening with my body, and I was able to ask lots of questions,” she explained. The process for registering and admission was all “straight sailing” and JCM thinks the hospital’s COVID precautions are essential. “I felt reassured all the way through,” she said. And the best aspect of this trip to surgery… “They got it all”, JCM announces, obviously thrilled with the results. We are thrilled for you too, JCM.

But things changed when she was discharged – within hours of being home, JCM was in distress, suffering paralysis of her bowel, and her daughter took her to the emergency ward. Her daughter – also a nurse – was most concerned when she brought her Mum to SHDH, in pain, with a paralysed bowel. They both agree she was seen quickly, without delay – JCM thinks it was because she was doubled over, very obviously in pain.

Despite many years of experience as a nurse, JCM was in too much pain to know what was happening the night she landed in E.D. “It was a really busy time, but I don’t remember much else, aside from lying in ED, in severe pain for hours.”

COVID restrictions meant JCM’s partner and daughter were not allowed in the building, but they both felt
they were kept up to date by the staff.

JCM was given pain relief and when possible, she was transferred to the Acute Ward, where a tube was inserted, and her pain began to subside immediately. “It was done quite quickly in Acute, and took such a short amount of time to relieve my pain – I don’t understand why they didn’t do it in Emergency.”

“The doctors and nurses in E.D were busy, they didn’t have time to explain much, but I don’t have any idea why it couldn’t have been done there,” she said.

JCM is overall happy with her experiences, from which she is still recovering. She does not wish to complain, and only really mentioned the delay and lack of explanation, in case it helps staff at the hospital understand what it was like for her.

Thanks for sharing your story, JCM, it’s very important for us to hear the
patients’ voices first-hand.

We approached the Emergency Department’s clinical lead, Dr Emily Harrison,
for some more details of this story. She told us – “There was a delay of transfer
to the ward due to a critically unwell patient arriving in ED. The Naso-gastric tube was not inserted until after the imaging the patient had first thing in the morning – as this was when the obstruction was diagnosed (imaging was not available over night).”

This story has been collected as part of the Swan Hill District Health Consumer Stories Project.
If you have a story to tell, or would like to share your experience, please contact the
Quality, Experience and Safety team on 03 5033 9894 or feedback@shdh.org.au