‘UNBEARABLE’: Mum says doctors missed spinal fractures
UNABLE to move and in unbearable pain Michelle Wyles lay in bed in her rural home and wet herself.
Her 11-year-old daughter was forced to undress her mum, clean her and help her back into bed.
The shame of this moment haunts Ms Wyles and she is driven to tears as she recounts it.
Just days before, on November 8, she was rushed to Mackay Base Hospital with caution as paramedics suspected she might have seriously injured her spine after she fainted and fell in her bathroom.
Ms Wyles claims doctors at the hospital failed in their duty of care, did not take her severe pain or discomfort seriously and failed to diagnose four fractures in her spine.
A Mackay Base Hospital spokeswoman said an initial X-ray had shown no visible fractures.
Despite this, Ms Wyles, who has a family history of spinal injuries, said she knew something was wrong and requested a CT scan.
"It was very obvious to me … I felt that there was something wrong and I wanted it to be thoroughly investigated," she said.
"The pain that I had, it just felt like I was being tasered in the back … or prodded with a cattle prodder or stabbed in the spine.
"(The hospital) said there was no need for it (a CT scan) and that it was a soft tissue injury.
Ms Wyles said she was discharged from the hospital for the second time with Panadol for the unbearable pain.
She claims that, before she left, a doctor told her she should not have been sent home without proper pain management.
Ms Wyles also claims she was again denied a CT scan.
After five days in and out of the Base hospital asking for a CT scan, Ms Wyles said she felt patronised.
"I asked (a doctor) how would you feel if I go away from here and there is something wrong," she said.
She claims the doctor replied, "we can't get it right 100 per cent of the time".
"I just thought you can if you get another test."
During her time in the hospital's short-stay ward, Ms Wyles said she was not offered lunch or dinner and was not provided with water.
On Tuesday, November 12, five days after her initial fall, she was in so much pain and felt so ignored by doctors she asked to see a patient's rights adviser.
However, it is understood the Independent Patient Rights Adviser at Mackay Base Hospital only gives information about patient rights under the Mental Health Act.
"I knew in myself there was something really wrong with me; I could feel it," Ms Wyles said.
"I was just so scared that I was going to end up in a wheelchair like my father (who was a quadriplegic) because something was overlooked … and I felt like nobody was listening to me.
"I couldn't make anyone listen to me. I didn't want to go back home and be in that predicament with my kids again … it was humiliating."
A CT scan taken after Ms Wyles' discharge from Mackay Base Hospital showed her spine was fractured in four places, known as transverse fractures of the lumbar vertebrae.
Ms Wyles was admitted to the Mackay Rehabilitation Hospital following this discovery.
She believes staff at Mackay Base Hospital failed in their duty of care to her.
A Mackay Hospital and Health Service spokesperson said it was always disappointing when someone was unhappy with the care provided in one of its facilities.
"The Health Service has supported Ms Wyles to provide some more formal feedback to allow us to review the care provided and to address issues she has raised, such as provision of food in our Short Stay Unit," the MHHS spokesperson said.
"CT scans are not routinely offered due to exposure to radiation, and in this case a spine X-ray did not reveal any areas that warranted further investigation.
"Ms Wyles was provided with pain relief while an inpatient and was discharged with pain medication to take at home.
"We always advise patients to follow up with their GP for further investigation if their issue is not resolved, and that is what happened in this situation."