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Getting the treatment

By Peter Williams - posted Friday, 12 October 2007

I thought readers might be interested in my recent experiences at Belmont District Hospital (emergency outpatients department).

I was stricken with a sudden and unprecedented attack of renal colic - blockage of urine flow by kidney stones to the uninitiated - that completely laid me out and necessitated two visits to the Belmont hospital emergency department. It has been said (except by the ladies) that this affliction is the most painful affliction known, and I have no reason to doubt this view. Forget crucifixion - a ballsy martyr out to save the world would have opted for renal colic.

I would like to express my dissatisfaction with the treatment dished out by the staff (and policy makers) of the Belmont District Public Hospital, and to petition the readers to present a united front in outright condemnation of the methods adopted and imposed on hapless recipients such as myself. Allow me to tell my story, although readers should be warned that the story is not a pretty one.


Upon staggering into the emergency reception centre, bent double and screaming in agony, I was immediately admitted to the emergency ward, thereby jumping the queue.

This is my first complaint. I should have been told to wait my turn. One sees so many complaints directed at waiting times in emergency departments that I felt left out, as it were. I had been admitted on the basis of need rather than procedure, thereby denying me the right to have my name in the newspapers and the opportunity to be interviewed by some feather-brained bimbo on commercial television. Why was I denied the opportunity to become a media tart?

After vomiting on the triage nurse I was immediately placed on a roller chair and transported at a run to a bed with spotlessly clean sheets, pillow case and so on, all fitted while I waited. This is my second complaint. Why was I denied the right to complain about the attention I was given and the hygiene? For that matter, why were my constant screams and demands to be euthanised ignored? Why was I subjected to immediate placement, rather than being left on a trolley somewhere? Again my rights to media attention were trampled on in the name of efficiency and procedure.

Upon being lifted onto the bed by a nurse about half my size I attempted, between spasms of agony, to remove my shoes. I was told “bugger the sheets - they will wash - it is you we are concerned about”.

Now I put it to you, is this fair? Why should my shoes, filthy dirty after staggering from the hospital car park through the rose garden at the front of the building, be allowed to add to the woes of the laundry contractor staff? Again, willful concern for the patient had been allowed to over-ride logistic considerations, and this on-going problem must be addressed. Urgently.

By this time I had a registered nurse, a trainee nurse, and a doctor at my bedside, thereby denying me the right to complain about being left for hours without attention.


In no time at all I had a drip going, several injections, and an infusion of morphine - all carried out with new, sterile non re-useable equipment - a scandalous waste of money in itself. None of this was explained to me at the time, and this is another point that should be addressed. The fact that I was incoherent and virtually unconscious provides little excuse for such a clear disavowal of the “doctor/patient” relationship.

What happened to doctor/patient communication? Why was I denied the right to fully discuss the broad and on-going ramifications of my treatment and to consider other modality options? Why were my well known and publicly acknowledged rights to full consultation and direct involvement in my treatment denied me?

Why wasn’t I encouraged to visualise myself as being well and whole and thereby hasten my recovery? Why didn’t the two nurses join hands with the doctor and thereby amplify the healing force? Why didn’t the staff don white coats and stethoscopes as proof of their competence? Why wasn’t the laying on of hands modality invoked? Why was no healing crystal pyramid placed on my chest?

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About the Author

Peter Williams worked in the power industry initially as an electrician and then as a training officer. He later operated his own business and while doing so studied to obtain a B.A in Philosophy.

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