Anger over hospital wait prompts complaint

Arran Morton, SOUND TELEGRAPHSound Telegraph

A Rockingham mother has lodged a formal complaint after she was kept waiting at Rockingham General Hospital emergency department for more than three hours earlier this month.

Shannon Vernae said she visited a GP earlier this month after her four-month-old son Latham displayed severe swelling around his genital area.

Ms Vernae said she was urged to seek emergency medical attention and received a referral to attend the hospital's emergency department.

She said she was forced to wait up to three hours on September 7 with Latham and daughters Adalyn, 5, and Brylee, 2, before taking her son to Princess Margaret Hospital, where was able to see a doctor within five minutes of her arrival.

"Latham's penis was severely swollen - the GP originally thought it was balanitis, but they told me at PMH it was actually paraphimosis, which stops the flow of blood and could be very serious if not treated right away," Ms Vernae said.

"There was absolutely no sense of urgency at RGH - I left there going off in front of everyone because I was so upset.

"I'm so glad I made the decision to go to PMH because they knew how urgent it was and quickly pulled everything back into place." A Rockingham General Hospital spokeswoman said a formal investigation was under way and feedback would be provided directly to Ms Vernae, which would include any recommendations resulting from the investigation.

All patients, including infants visiting the Emergency Department, are assessed by a triage nurse and assigned a triage category from 1 to 5 on the Australasian Triage Scale, according to how urgent the patient's condition is.

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