THE Hobart Private Hospital has refunded a woman after her neck pain was dismissed as tonsillitis - despite her having no tonsils.

She was later diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis caused by a procedure at the hospital days earlier.

Tricia Goodwin is no stranger to pain, having lived with complex regional pain syndrome for more than three years.

Days after an infusion at Hobart Private Hospitalon February 15, she felt a persisting ache in her neck and knew something was out of the ordinary.

Ms Goodwin went to the Hobart Private Hospital's emergency department on March 4 with discharge forms from her infusion allowing her a free follow-up visit.

"It was a real fullness in the neck, it was swollen 5cm wide," Ms Goodwin said.

Tricia Goodwin is angry about her treatment at the Hobart Private emergency department. Picture: Eddie Safarik
Tricia Goodwin is angry about her treatment at the Hobart Private emergency department. Picture: Eddie Safarik

A triage nurse saw Ms Goodwin within 10 minutes and heard her concerns about neck pain occurring on the same side of her body as a catheter line that had been administered at the hospital days earlier.

"(The nurse) came out and said the treating doctor told her it was an ear, nose and throat problem and because they didn't have an ENT doctor, I needed to go to the Royal Hobart Hospital," Ms Goodwin said.

"I said to this lady 'I don't think it's an ear, nose and throat problem'."

The nurse then told Ms Goodwin she likely had tonsillitis.

"I said 'I don't have tonsils'."

The Hobart Private Hospital. Picture: MATT THOMPSON
The Hobart Private Hospital. Picture: MATT THOMPSON

Ms Goodwin was "annoyed" she could not see a Hobart Private doctor and was dismayed to find a packed emergency department at RHH.

"Anyone with chronic pain can't sit in a waiting room for hours on end, I suppose that's why people get private health cover. So I went to Calvary Hospital," she said.

Calvary's accident and emergency staff immediately suspected Ms Goodwin had deep vein thrombosis.

After blood tests and an ultrasound, the diagnosis was confirmed and Ms Goodwin was put on anticoagulants.

Calvary charged $185 for its service.

"I felt a bit angry, it wasn't really about the money and how much it cost me, it was more that I wasn't taken seriously by Hobart Private," she said.

 

Ms Goodwin did not want to wait in the crowded Royal Hobart Hospital emergency department, so went to Calvary Hospital instead. Picture: MATT THOMPSON
Ms Goodwin did not want to wait in the crowded Royal Hobart Hospital emergency department, so went to Calvary Hospital instead. Picture: MATT THOMPSON

Ms Goodwin contacted Hobart Private to share her experience and asked to have her fee waived.

She said the hospital has since repaid her, with one staff member telling Ms Goodwin correct procedures were followed, but her feedback would be taken on board.

A Hobart Private spokesman said confidentiality requirements prevented them from discussing a patient's condition or treatment, but said all patients presenting at the ED were "carefully assessed by experienced clinicians".

"In some cases, patients may be referred to the Royal Hobart emergency department if the clinician believes this is the most appropriate course of action given the patient's symptoms."

annie.mccann@news.com.au

Originally published as 'I wasn't taken seriously': Woman's condition missed



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