SORE THUMB: A cut thumb has led to claims of bullying by a patient of Bundaberg Hospital.
SORE THUMB: A cut thumb has led to claims of bullying by a patient of Bundaberg Hospital.

Patient levels bullying complaint at Bundy Hospital doctor

JODIE Hillier left Bundaberg Hospital in tears, claiming she was a victim of bullying by her doctor.

Ms Hillier had an appointment at the hospital after treatment of a thumb injury at the emergency department from January hadn't been resolved.

After slicing her thumb open on a fan, parts of the blade become trapped in the wound, causing her severe pain.

The appointment with the doctor was to talk about removing small bits of plastic debris, found on an MRI scan, to relieve the discomfort.

"From the moment I walked into the room he treated me with disdain," Ms Hillier said.

"He asked me what I expected the hospital to do about my thumb.

"He told me that the foreign bodies were the size of a grain of sand and couldn't be removed and had nothing to do with the pain I was in.

"He got up me for being sent to the fracture clinic and told me that the hospital couldn't and wouldn't be helping me."

That's when Ms Hillier, who was with mum Doris, started to get teary.

" I was crying and he told me if I didn't calm down he would ask me to leave," Ms Hillier said.

"The entire time I was crying he didn't once offer me a tissue.

"My mother had to hand me a paper hand towel."

As Ms Hillier was gathering her emotions one of the doctors from the emergency room who referred Ms Hillier to the fracture clinic walked past the room.

Ms Hillier took the opportunity to tell the doctor that she didn't ask to be sent to see him and that she was referred by the doctor who just walked past.

"He then called the doctor in and proceeded to tell him to never refer people like me to the fracture clinic again," Ms Hillier said.

"After about half an hour of abuse from this doctor I ended up walking out.

" I found out later that he has had over 40 complaints against him."

After frustration with Bundaberg Hospital, Ms Hillier went to a GP for treatment.

After three ultrasounds, an X-ray and an MRI, the GP arranged for another doctor to remove the foreign bodies.

"Surprise, surprise, they were removed successfully," Ms Hillier said.

"A GP was able to do what the hospital said couldn't and wouldn't be done.

"If the base hospital had of done its job properly on the night I sliced my thumb open then I wouldn't have been put through this hell."

Ms Hillier has come forward after reading the NewsMail's report on bullying at the hospital.

The Australian Medical Association Resident Hospital Health Check 2017 survey of junior doctors at the hospital shows more than half (51%) experienced and/or witnessed bullying, discrimination or harassment on the job and the perpetrators were senior medicos, including consultants.

But Ms Hillier says the bullying isn't just against other doctors - patients are in the firing line too.

She has since made a complaint to the Health Ombudsman about her treatment.

She said she had never been spoken to by a doctor like that in her life.

"There was no empathy for the patient whatsoever.

"They are supposed to be there to help us, not treat us like we are causing them a problem."

A Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service spokesperson said the hospital placed the highest importance on the quality of care and the respect with which employees treated patients and families.

"We take all complaints seriously," the spokesperson said.

"The patient has recently contacted our Clinical Governance Unit with her complaint, which is currently being investigated as per our normal processes. As such, we are unable to comment in detail until the investigation is complete.

"We have, however, contacted the patient to reassure her that her concerns are being listened to.

"WBHHS is always looking at ways to improve, and we encourage patients who have feedback about the care they have received to contact our Clinical Governance Unit to enable us to learn and enhance our services.'

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