Six-hour wait for lost records
TWEED Hospital patient Kylie Conaghan was left waiting for surgery on Thursday after staff misplaced her medical records.
Mrs Conaghan said she was left in limbo for six hours before eventually being asked to go home.
“I arrived around 12.30pm, booked in and made it to the anaesthetic room outside the surgery, when they realised they only had my temporary file,” she said.
“They held up the doctor and the theatre for over an hour while they went searching.”
Mrs Conaghan was eventually taken back to the day surgery ward where she waited while staff continued to look for her medical records.
“At 6.30pm I was told that the doctor had to go home and that my surgery had been cancelled,” she said.
This was to be her third surgery for the treatment of a painful cervical cyst that she said was impacting on her bladder and kidney tube.
A staff member phoned Mrs Conaghan at home about 7.30pm to inform her that her records had been located.
“The woman on the phone told me that my file had been handled by someone who no longer worked at the hospital but didn’t give me an explanation as to where they had been,” she said.
“I want to know how do someone’s medical records just disappear? They are holding people’s lives in their hands.”
In a prepared statement, a Northern NSW Local Health Network spokesperson said the hospital had apologised to Mrs Conaghan for the inconvenience.
“The patient has been rescheduled to have her operation next week. Every effort was made to locate the patient’s medical record,” the spokesperson said.
“As a result of this incident, staff have been reminded of the care and diligence required when filing records and the importance of record availability prior to admission.”
Mrs Conaghan said she had mixed emotions about the outcome.
“The anaesthesiologist was very apologetic and I’m pleased that it has been rescheduled,” she said.
“I still feel very dubious about it; if they have done this to me, what is happening with other people?”
“How do someone’s medical records just disappear? They are holding people’s lives in their hands.”