Eaton woman Tresna Shorter says she was “in no state to go home” when she was told to leave Bunbury Hospital about 3.30am after being admitted with severe back pain and high blood pressure.
Ms Shorter, 73, says she arrived at the hospital’s emergency department by ambulance on February 8.
She claims she was woken about 3.15am, told her bed was needed and escorted to the emergency department waiting room.
“They had given me three different pain medications and I had great difficulty rising, standing and walking, ” she said.
“When the doctor woke me up and said I couldn’t stay, I only had $10 and no way of getting home.”
She said a nurse reluctantly gave her a taxi voucher after about 15 minutes. Extremely distressed, she then waited outside for a taxi.
On the Monday morning, after spending the weekend in pain, Ms Shorter went to a GP who referred her back to the ED.
This time she was admitted to the hospital and stayed for five days.
Bunbury Hospital operations manager Andrea Hickert said confidentiality measures prevented the hospital from commenting on specific details of patient management, but she confirmed Ms Shorter’s complaints would be investigated.
“Bunbury Hospital takes patient complaints very seriously and investigates and responds to all that are received, ” Ms Hickert said.
“The hospital’s customer liaison officer has met with the patient in relation to the issues she has raised and is continuing to follow up.”
Ms Hickert said patients were discharged once the treating doctor was satisfied they were well enough and safe to go home.
This includes a documented process checking whether the patient had transport home, she said.
“Discharge may be at any time of the day from the ED, however, patients are generally not discharged outside of daylight hours unless arrangements to do so have been made with the patient, ” she said.
Ms Shorter has written to WA Country Health, Health Minister Kim Hames and Seniors Minister Robyn McSweeney about her experience.
“I used to work at a sobering up shelter and we never treated alcoholics like I was treated, ” Ms Shorter said. “I’m a respectable, elderly woman and if this is how I am treated I dread to think how those less fortunate are treated.”
The Bunbury Hospital last year resorted to admitting adults in the children’s ward when the adult ward was full.Pressure on the hospital will increase when the Australian Nurses Federation steps up industrial action by closing one in five beds in public hospitals.
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.