Emergency room headache: Mum feels let down by busy hospital
A CONCERNED mother wants answers after she says her young daughter was left crying, moaning and vomiting in the Bundaberg Hospital emergency waiting room for multiple hours.
Raechel Bowler has spent the past two years trying to find what triggers 9-year-old London's acute confusional migraines (ACM), a rare headache disorder which has been affecting her almost weekly since 2016.
"(Unlike) a typical migraine, (London's) leaves her with limb paralysis, confusion, poor eyesight, sometimes she can't even see at all... it's very scary as a parent," Mrs Bowler said.
She said she could alleviate symptoms of her daughter's episodes on her own most of the time, but more serious cases resulted in a trip to the hospital to administer quicker relief.
Contrary to previous hospital visits, Mrs Bowler said London was made to wait hours in the emergency department on Monday due to a lack of beds at the hospital.
After arriving about 1.40pm, the frustrated mother said her daughter had to sleep on chairs, crying and vomiting, until they were finally seen between 6pm and 7pm.
"I went up there to prevent an episode... I was told that there was no beds available, so what they were doing was taking them in and assessing them on one bed only to see who was the sickest," she said.
"Once I got in there and it was over and done with, I was ok, but I was still disappointed, knowing my daughter has an ailment, I couldn't just walk in there and go 'hey, can you help me? She's really bad'."
She said that the hospital should have enough beds to accommodate for an influx of patients, or have a separate emergency department for children.
A Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services spokesperson said according to the hospital's records, London was presented to the department at 2.20pm and was assessed as a Category 3 patient, meaning she should be treated within 30 minutes.
"Regrettably, we were unable to place London in an emergency bed immediately because patients with higher-priority conditions were occupying them, but she was assessed by a nurse at 2.40pm and given appropriate medication at 2.45pm," the spokesperson said.
"At this stage London was clinically assessed as being in a stable condition and returned to the waiting area until a bed became available."
They said a doctor had assessed her at 4.07pm and she was placed in a bed about 10 minutes later.
"London was attended to throughout her stay, including receiving further medication via a nasal pump at 5pm, and was discharged at 8.24pm," the spokesperson said.
"We acknowledge London's migraine would have been distressing for her and her family, and that it was regrettable that she could not have immediate access to a bed.
"But we would like to make it clear that London was cared for at regular intervals, and that our emergency department team needed to prioritise other patients with more serious conditions."
They said it had been a busy day for the emergency department, with 152 patients presented throughout the day, and patients were seen in order of their clinical priority.
The spokesperson said someone would be making contact with Mrs Bowler to discuss her concerns with the care provided to London.