Should I take this further?

AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 346
edited October 2017 in Day to day
Hi there everybody, I would like your opinions please. A bit of a back story first, then the event in question. I have finished chemo and had a bilateral mastectomy. I also have other preexisting medical conditions, the total result of all, is that I now use a wheelie walker for stability and (ha ha) safety. I was getting physio and also hydrotherapy for a very stiff left shoulder where the pectoral muscle had shortened and tightened. In the process of having this therapy, my right shoulder went apeshit. Turns out to be the painful stage of adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder. So now, therapy for both stuffed up shoulders...yayyy!!!. Off I go for my physio last Tuesday. Finish physio, now headed to the car. my husband ended up parking elsewhere than prearranged, so he had come to the physio department looking for me, but I had already finished so he was walking some distance behind me and saw it all. There was me...tootling along....down a slight slope..and at the bottom was a tank trap!!! The wheel of my walker got trapped in the drain (set into the concrete). Walker stopped, I kept going...right over the top. My hubby said it was like the Grand National...all he saw was my bum and my legs in mid air. Then he heard the crunch and the howls from me. Rushed to emergency...yippee... Because I.m on Clexane (blood thinners), twice daily for the past year, and will be for the rest of my life, they had to do a head ct to make sure I didn't have a brain bleed. (Wrong place to check, would have needed a proctoscope for that, but I digress as usual). Brain (ostensibly) all good. Five stitches in my head, landed of the worst of the two bad shoulders and did a rib on the right side too (thanks to osteoporosis). Kept the other broken ribs company which I already had. Was kept in hospital from the Tuesday and discharged on the Sunday. Missed my Herceptin and oncologist appointment which I was supposed to have on that Wednesday. So, Herceptin late by five days, which had me more hopping mad, (well twitching mad was the best I could do). Am I being unreasonable in my expectations that I should be able to use my walker on hospital property, on an approved walkway, in a responsible manner? I was not taking a shortcut across the car park. or doing a cross country walk over uneven ground. Evidently to make any sort of claim, I would have to prove negligence on the part of the hospital. I do not believe for one minute, that in the forty so (or thereabout) years that this drain has been there, that someone else pushing a sweety trolley for the Pink Ladies, or a trolley with some medical equipment, linen trolley, theatre trolley, wheelchair or walker has not been caught in this drain before. I did actually see the drain, I just did not see the slots in in until it was too late. The pictures show the grate the evening of the event, and the ones sprayed yellow were afterwards, when the hospital sprayed them. The other photo shows the slope and position of the drain. I had no option but to go over it.


  • socodasocoda LeumeahMember Posts: 1,695
    Interesting @AllyJay that the drains have been sprayed afterwards, reckon they've had an "Oh Shit!!!!" moment. I would think that you have a case even just from the spraying of the drain, to me that simply confirms that there was an issue and they are in damage control to ensure no  one else gets hurt - shame they didn't think of that in the first place!!  As for taking it further, have they offered to cover any costs associated? It's purely your decision about damages for personal injury. One question though, should we now start calling you National Velvet? Hope you heal quickly lovely. Xx Cath
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 346
    @socoda, Oh Shit indeed.... no offers of any sort so far, apart from a "So sorry this happened...blah blah". Well sorry just doesn't cut the mustard for me. Not even a bunch of flowers, card or a box of chockies for this Flying Old Fart!! I just feel so vulnerable now. I had just gotten confident with trundling down to the train station and enlisting the aid of the station personnel to ensure that I was seated before the train took off, and then being able to run riot (well wheel along sedately). around Hornsby for an afternoon until my Bearded One finished work, but not now. I got all wobbly kneed yesterday when I went to my GP for a catchup and to get some of the sutures removed. This feeling frail thing is giving me the you-know-what's!!! Just noticed my total lack of sartorial elegance above. That's what you get when hubby packs the suitcase!
  • onemargieonemargie queenslandMember Posts: 1,189
    Hi there @AllyJay what a nasty fall you had. And I think the spray paint sort of admits negligence don’t you think .??? Why don’t you go to one of those no win no fee lawyers and get an opinion.  Id at least email the hospital with your concerns. You’re lucky that’s all you broke. Just what you needed hey more pain and discomfort (not). Take care and rest up lovey xxx
  • socodasocoda LeumeahMember Posts: 1,695
    @AllyJay, I'm sure that you will be running riot again shortly!! That's the brilliant thing about the walkers - I reckon get some streamers (that they put onto pushbike handles) superglue them so they are streaming backwards and even if your trundling around sedately you'll look like your setting a speed record!  I would be absolutely certain that nothing would be offered because they will not openly admit liability until forced to. Your confidence will return slowly - its early days yet and are you sure they weren't speed wobbles??. And as for the sartorial elegance - at least you're ready for the weekend!!! Xx
  • Brenda5Brenda5 Burrum Heads, QldMember Posts: 2,021
    edited October 2017
    Hubby reckons thats what he calls a death trap. He said jokingly instead of painting it with yellow paint they would be better off painting a bulls eye on it. I hope you mend
     quickly. <3

  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,053
    edited October 2017

    OK. I don't know what you have already done, but :

    When ever you talk to anyone at the hospital about this, make sure you get their name and position, and make it very clear to them that you are recording that information. I find it helpful to ask people to spell their names, even if it is Smith, --it's a good, and respectful, signal that you are calling them to account. Also ask for a receipt number if you speak to anyone on the phone and ask that a transcription of the conversation is emailed to you. Another respectful 'wind up skirt' exercise

    The patient liaison person/ people, will have to formally report the incident if you tell them about it. It then needs to be investigated. (Ask for a copy of their investigation process policy--they will shit themselves. All policy documents are governance issues and have to be available to the public)

     From there you need to talk to the person who is responsible for their investigative process  and  ask for a copy of the report into the incident. DO NOT GET FOBBED OFF. Sorry for yelling, but they will not want to give it to you, however as a participant in the incident you have an interest and eventually they will have to hand it over. Ask on your own behalf to start with, then begin to gently and vaguely introduce the idea of an insurance company. They hate insurance companies.

     To be honest, you need to think what precisely you want from them. Do you want a payment, an apology, a change in policy? The thing you have to realize that if they agree to your requests, what ever they are,  they are admitting culpability which opens them up to further action down the track. The first sign of a confidentiality/ no disclosure agreement will signal that you are entitled to compensation (which is obvious ) and they are offering you about 20% of what they may have to pay.

    I know it is tempting to go to a no-win-no-fee lawyer, but you will get shit all out of it and the lawyer will do very nicely. Try to go it alone to start with and if you do get a legal rep, be very careful about what is, or isn't, in their contract. Marg xxx

  • primekprimek Broken HillMember Posts: 4,425
    I guess they have painted it yellow as it is a problem. ..but without a written complaint. ..and the repercussions. ..well it will never be fixed so it won't happen to another .

    So yes...formal letter of complaint is definetly worthwhile. 
  • Summerhill38Summerhill38 Member Posts: 754
    Hello @AllyJay
    What a bad time you are having.
    It is definitely worth sending a letter with the photos attached but they may say you could have gone around the drains and that there is an element of negligence on your part.
    As @Zoffiel says, you need to be clear what your expectations are - and remember that you will be fighting a giant so is it worth the stress and time to you ?
    Perhaps you need to let them know of your issue so you feel you've done something about it for others.
    Good luck if you go ahead and please keep us informed.
    Summer   :)
  • iserbrowniserbrown Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 2,519
    At the very least ask them to do a Risk Assessment on all their pathways to avoid this happening again
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 346
    @Summerhill38, thanks for your input. There is not room to go around the drain, I would have to actually lift the walker over it...a bit hard with two buggered up shoulders. I wonder where that would leave a visually impaired person who also uses a walker? No amount of spray paint or even notices before this drain would be of much help to them. The cover needs to be of a grid design so there are cross bars preventing wheels getting jammed. This is, after all a hospital, where, conceivably, this situation might arise, that is, a person both physically as well as visually challenged. This is a designated walkway, not some uneven ground between here and there.
  • brightspacebrightspace Member Posts: 283
    Hi sorry to hear of your accident
    All goverment department have accident forms that should be accessible they are available..there is a duty of care due diligence has not occcurred....make an appointment to see relevant person asap
    Best of luck B
  • onemargieonemargie queenslandMember Posts: 1,189
    Hi there @AllyJay.  I work as a nurse and have just remembered to ask you something. Did you fill out an incident form when you had your fall...... these are compulsory and will be the evidence you need to take to the solicitor for advice. You can also get your gp to request all your notes and investigations from your fall too so you can see exactly what was documented. That’s called a release of re rods form and you just simply sign it and it gets faxed to the hospital and they then send all the ward notes bloods scans etc that were done to the gp. As marg said there would be an OHS person at the hospital responsible for investigating your accident so keep persisting it’s not good enough for sure. Margie. Xx
  • onemargieonemargie queenslandMember Posts: 1,189
    Sorry release of records form I meant 
  • AllyJayAllyJay Member Posts: 346
    Hi there @onemargie , so far the story is this. The morning after the fall, I asked to see the Patient Representative Officer. She came to my bed a couple of hours later, when I told her what had happened. She expressed her concern and said that she would go and look at the drain herself, and would return later. (She did jot down things in a note book as we spoke). Later that afternoon, she returned looking very frazzled. She said that she had seen the drain and had the called other staff to go with her to do the same. Some sort of Maintenance person as well as I believe someone to do with Health and Safety. Apparently, one of these other persons made a comment along the lines of "Oh my word, this is an accident waiting to's a miracle this hasn't happened before". Instant enquiries were then made about replacing this drain cover, but they were told it would take three weeks to arrive. The decision was then made to spray the cover yellow in the meantime, to make it more visible.I then asked if I had to write down my complaint, and she said that given my pain (excruciating), it was not necessary, as she had all the details written down herself. After getting home, five days later, the initial shock had worn off and I attempted to get something more out of Management regarding this event. Nobody from further up the food chain ever visited me, sent a card, or even a miserable carnation stuffed into an empty Coke bottle, by way of an apology for the hospital's neglect of my safety. As it happens, very bad and rude treatment by one (only one mind you), of their nurses pushed me over the edge. She had treated me like some sort of nuisance who was taking up a valuable bed which was need by other patients far more ill than myself. I pointed out to her that I wouldn't have been in her precious bed had it not been for the dangerous drain in her hospital. I took that matter further to the Unit Manager and I believe she was "counselled". I have subsequently tried to get the names or positions of these other persons who went with her to see the drain, specifically the one who made the comment, but have been told that that was not possible. I have been told that they have 35 days to respond to the complaint, and that basically, I should just sit in the corner like a good girl, and shut up until that time. Thirty five days for the steam to build up...good luck to them when it eventually escapes!!

  • onemargieonemargie queenslandMember Posts: 1,189
    Go back to her and complete the incident form that is compulsory she is bullshitting you there. She should of have some documentation in your notes regarding her visit with you and the maintenance dept and OHS would of also needed to document what they’d seen and done. And you have the right to your information. I’d be getting some legal advice too (no win no fee lawyer perhaps). Like I said get the release of records form done from your gp requesting all of your notes and results etc from your stay and then you can see what was documented.  Wait and get the letter back about the complaint you made and then you will have a response to go on. I’d also go speak with your local paper and make it public if you aren’t happy with the response you get  and member of parliament. I’d be writing down every call you make and the response you get and keeping copies of any correspondence you have from them. They will just want you to go away. So stay strong and pursue it if you can. Margie x
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