Lakelands daughter says father ‘died without dignity’ at Peel Health Campus

A Lakelands mother says the memories of her father's final days in Peel Health Campus have left her with “sleepless nights” for six months.

Melissa Floss says she was “treated like an inconvenience” and her father “died without dignity”. 

The Mandurah Mail started a campaign last year calling for funding and resources at the hospital, echoing local politician and resident concerns, resulting in the government promising $5 million for an emergency department (ED) upgrade.

In October, a South Metropolitan Health Service spokeswoman said construction would begin in early 2020.

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said the results from the Sustainable Health Review, to be released in March, would determine the government’s future plans for Peel and the state funding it would receive in the future.

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Melissa Floss said her father John Floss was taken by ambulance to the Peel Health Campus ED on Thursday April 26, after experiencing sudden pains in his stomach, and died from bowel disease three days later.

Ms Floss said her father’s stomach had initially swelled “like a football” but at least five separate hospital staff would not conduct an X-ray, believing it was likely constipation or gastro. She said he was given morphine for the pain. 

“It (his stomach) was just getting bigger and bigger,” he said. 

My father died without dignity. He wasn’t washed and they didn’t care about him.

Melissa Floss

“Don’t worry, it’s probably just gastro’, one said, and another said, ‘There are a lot of viruses going around’.”

Ms Floss said the staff could have overlooked her father because of the “ridiculously busy” night at the ED. 

“I’ll give them that – there was ambulances everywhere it was crazy,” she said. 

After expressing concern for her father, Ms Floss claims one staff member told her: "You, sit down I have had a gutful of you". 

Several areas for improvement were identified following these meetings, particularly in relation to communication with relatives and appropriate actions had been taken with the staff members involved.

Ramsay Health Care spokeswoman

The following day, Ms Floss said an X-ray was performed and her father was diagnosed with bowel disease.

Ms Floss said a staff member apologised for not performing the scan earlier and said she could only listen to her superior.  

The mother-of-three said her father was not washed, until she asked for him to be, on Saturday morning. 

She said at one point, the wrong name was on her father's hospital bed and his jacket was stolen.  

Ms Floss said she met with the Ramsay Health Care chief executive officer on three occasions, who apologised.

“They offered to pay for a memorial plaque for $1000,” she said.

“My father died without dignity. He wasn’t washed and they didn’t care about him.

“I was treated like an inconvenience. I’ve have had sleepless nights following the ordeal and just hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

A Ramsay Health Care spokeswoman apologised for any distress caused to the family after “thoroughly investigating the complaint” and meeting with Ms Floss on several occasions. 

“Several areas for improvement were identified following these meetings, particularly in relation to communication with relatives and appropriate actions had been taken with the staff members involved,” she said.

“The hospital had sought to handle this matter with care and compassion and apologise for any distress caused to the family.”