Man’s nightmare appendix ordeal a ‘comedy of errors’
A "COMEDY of errors" has turned a routine 24-hour operation into a two-week hospital nightmare for a Sunshine Coast man.
Maroochydore's Dan Clark, a former Fortitude Valley policeman, was first rushed to Nambour General Hospital on Tuesday, October 29 with "6/10" pain in his stomach.
There, scans confirmed his appendix had "lit up like a Christmas tree" and had likely ruptured.
He was then taken to Sunshine Coast University Hospital but had to wait for another day to have his "dead" appendix removed.
Mr Clark was discharged the following day with a "small associated local abscess", which according to Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service clinical director Dr Owain Evans, "does not require additional treatment".
"This was treated with antibiotics and further investigations undertaken. Following discussion and consultation with his treating team, it was drained radiologically," Dr Evans said.
However, the next day Mr Clark was back in hospital with incredible pain, far worse than the initial appendicitis.
Mr Clark said he was hooked up to an IV for three days without food or water, and claimed he had to "force" his matters with doctors.
This was disputed by Dr Evans, who said Mr Clark was regularly attended to by the surgical team who answered his questions.
"My concern is that the surgeons stated it was a bad appendicitis, it had ruptured, so why kick me out straight away with no meds other than mild pain relief?" Mr Clark questioned.
"We got no explanation about what was going on until my wife Amanda started demanding some answers.
"I am a fit and healthy 43-year-old and I ended up having to demand doctors explain things to me that should be automatic"
The said the whole process was "the worst experience in his memory".
The ordeal took a toll on Mr Clark, who weeks later has only just returned to work, albeit on light duties.
"I lost 8kg. I've had no energy for weeks and only starting to now feel normal," he said.
"Not having food or water for the better part of three days is not healthy by any standards.
"The hospital weren't negligent but it was just a comedy of errors from departments not communicating, it should have been a 24-hour procedure, instead it was more than two weeks."
Dr Evans said he was sorry to hear Mr Clark was unhappy with the care he received.
"Unfortunately, there is nothing in Mr Clark's medical record to suggest he requested further information or made complaints about not being appropriately reviewed his treating team," he said.
"We hope he is recovering well from this known complication of acute appendicitis following surgery."
Mr Clark said he wanted his experience to educate others to ensure they demand answers from staff and not assume it's all okay.