A teenage girl has spent nine hours on the floor of an emergency department, suffering from excruciatingly painful appendicitis.
17-year-old Demi Allul was left untreated and in agonising pain as she slept on the floor of Campbelltown Hospital, in Sydney’s south-west.
The incident occurred on Monday when Demi and her mum, Julie, arrived at the emergency department with a doctor’s note explaining that she was suffering from suspected appendicitis, and would need urgent medical attention.
She was attended to by a triage nurse in the waiting room, but no bed was assigned, leaving Demi to sleep on the floor of the emergency department with only a hospital blanket to keep her warm.
After nine hours, Julie decided that she’d had enough and took her daughter home so that she could sleep in a proper bed.
The pair returned to the hospital the next day where, after presenting a photograph of Demi sleeping on the floor the previous night, Demi was admitted within ten minutes. She was immediately given morphine for her extreme pain.
Demi will now have to wait over two weeks for treatment, because of the delay in her initial diagnosis. She will remain in hospital during this time, taking antibiotics to assist with the inflammation. Campbelltown Hospital has since apologised to Demi and her family.
NSW is Australia’s worst state for hospital waiting times, with seven of the country’s ten worst offending hospitals located within the state, according to the National Health Performance Authority’s 2012 report.
Campbelltown Hospital has the second-longest wait times in the state, taking an average of 22 hours and 29 minutes to move or discharge its patients from emergency.
The national target time for patients to be moved or discharged in emergency rooms is under four hours, with patients with time-sensitive conditions expected to be seen as soon as possible.
According to the Medical Journal of Australia, since establishing the national target time there has been a 13 per cent fall in patient deaths in emergency.
But with so many hospitals failing to meet the target, the question remains as to whether these benefits are being extended to many of the country’s hospital patients.
What is the longest time that you have had to wait for treatment at hospital? Have you got a good or bad hospital waiting room experience that you can share?