Local woman’s push for change after ‘dreadful’ hospital experience

Local woman’s push for change after ‘dreadful’ hospital experience

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Armadale resident Chante Harfield believes feedback forms should be routinely given to every patient leaving the Armadale Hospital.

Her stance is motivated by a “dreadful experience” she alleges she had two years ago during which she claims she was confronted by “inconsistency, cruelty, and a lack of adequate cleanliness”.

“I am disabled and felt that my human rights were transgressed a couple of times,” she said.

Chante suffered a stroke several years ago which affected her speech and movement.

She described her experience at the Armadale Hospital immediately after her stroke and for her subsequent rehabilitation as “fantastic”.

But two years ago, after a fall which caused ligament damage to both of her ankles, Chante was taken to the Emergency Department in Armadale.

She stayed in the hospital for two weeks until she could manage to walk again.

During that time she said she was given an injection of an anticoagulant medication without her consent.

“I was just lying there in pain and the nurse just stabbed me in the stomach, without even telling me what she was doing,” she said.

“I felt attacked.

“She explained after it was a routine medication given to patients to stop clots forming while they’re immobile for long periods of time.”

Chante said had she been given an option, she would have chosen to forego the injection.

“I should have the power of veto, but I wasn’t given that,” she said.

“Consent is paramount – especially when you’re in a vulnerable state.”

She also said one night during her stay a nurse refused to help her to the toilet, despite Chante being unable to walk unassisted.

“It was frightening,” she said.

“She flat out refused to help me get to the bathroom. I was in a lot of pain. I couldn’t walk, and didn’t have much recourse at the time.”

After being discharged, Chante said she tried to relay her concerns about her stay.

“I tried to find a feedback form and there was nothing readily available,” she said.

“Prior to the incident that left me disabled and defenceless, I was a sole trader and found that feedback was essential to any growth of my businesses.

“So, I found a hotline number printed on their brochure and phoned them. They sent me a feedback form, which I filled out. However, in two years, there’s been no acknowledgment or reply.

“I don’t think that’s good enough. An organisation this big needs to do better.”

Chante explained the reason she was only now speaking out about her experience was because she was recently triggered upon hearing a similar story.

“After two years I thought that perhaps my experience was a rarity, however, one of my younger acquaintances reported having the same treatment there two months ago, so I feel it’s ongoing,” she said.

Chante said her experience has left her fearful of ever visiting the Armadale Hospital again.

“Armadale was a really nice place to go to once. I would go to Fiona Stanley now,” she said.

We asked the Armadale Health Service whether hospital staff follow practices that seek informed consent from patients before administering medication, injections or other medical procedures. We also asked how this was overseen to ensure it is happening.

“Patient and consumer safety is always our highest priority, and we pride ourselves on our amazing care,” a spokesperson for the Armadale Hospital said.

“As details of the patient have not been provided, we cannot verify the complaint, but medication is administered with appropriate patient consent and using the least invasive method following evidence-based best-practice.”

The Examiner also asked how patients can provide feedback about their experiences and whether staff are informed about how to supply patients with feedback forms.

“There are a raft of feedback options for consumers and patients including hard copies of forms – in the entry of the hospital – posters with QR codes, online forms, and a Consumer Liaison Office that has a landline number publicly available,” The spokesperson said.

“We urge any patients or consumers with any concerns to contact Armadale Health Service so we can investigate the matter.”